Everything You’ve EVER Wanted to Know About Potty Training (and then some)

Updated 9:15pm, 3/1/11 *this giveaway is now closed* Congratulations to Cindy, comment #20 !

You learn early on in motherhood that a lot of your time, energy and thoughts become dedicated to your child’s elimination habits. It starts as a newborn, tracking wet diapers, watching for meconium, and generally marveling that an 8lb baby can produce a 10lb diaper. As your child gets older, you get into the diaper routine, and then, one day, all of a sudden, you are in the throes of potty training.

And you’re forced to wonder — how long is it supposed to take? do I need to shadow my kid all day long? will I have to send stickers to first grade as a reward when she goes on the potty there without being asked?

Last night I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call that answered all those questions and more. Dr. Gwen O’Keefe was on a conference call with nine bloggers, in conjunction with the Pull Ups Potty Dance Day. We were free to ask our questions and get real answers back. While I’ve talked to our doctor before, and while I’ve talked to fellow moms before, it was great being able to do both at the same time. I got to ask my questions, and listen to the answers of their questions.

Here are six things I took away from our conversation to keep it together while your child is mastering this life skill. At the bottom, see the details on a giveaway to win some tools that will help you in this process!

1) Three year olds are mysterious little people who know the fun of a good power struggle. Or: Keep cool, keep cool, keep cool.

It will take your child about thirty seconds to realize how important potty-training is to you. Interest may wax and wane, and that’s normal. Doing great for a week or two and then regressing is totally normal. Don’t sweat it.

2) Transitions can throw young children off — different environments have different routines, and that’s OK.

I learned that it’s totally normal for children to master going one place first, then a second place. This is why your child may stay dry at home and still wet at daycare or vice versa. Dr. Gwen also spoke about potty-training being a requirement for some preschools. Her advice was if you’re at all concerned, find a school that will work with you. Starting school is stressful enough without mastering potty training at the same time.

3) When your child isn’t responding to you (remember, they are mysterious), call in reinforcements. Sometimes grandma, a beloved babysitter or favorite aunt or uncle can get things rolling.

True story– my friend’s son went to Grandma’s for a long weekend. He left in diapers. He returned in underpants. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

4) Children need a little leverage to poop — that’s why they squat close to the ground. Imagine trying to poop without your feet on the ground. It’d be tricky, no?

So many kids hide when they poop. Dr. Gwen’s point was that if they go off to do it, and tell you they do it, then they are “poop trained”. See #1. Eventually they will use the toilet.

5) Potty training is a process that involves your child’s body, it needs to be child focused and driven.

This was a good reminder for me — it’s not about my timetable, or how I think it should happen. It’s about my child learning to be in control of his body. See #1.

6) Night time training isn’t training, it’s biological.

Up to 10% of 5 year olds are still wet at night. Make it a habit to use the toilet before bedtime, don’t drink too much before bedtime, and be patient. A helpful point is to take your child to the toilet before you’re ready to turn in for the night. Eventually, waking up dry will happen.

Is anyone in the throes of training right now? I have to be honest, I’ve been sort of avoiding it with the boy. To be honest, I’m still kind of exhausted from training MaM. But he’s started, and he’s “getting” it, and so far so good. Being iced-in for that first week in February was definitely good for something.

What is the Pull Up Potty Dance Day Party? It’s a national celebration on March 5 of kids making that transition to being potty trained. In Indianapolis, a concert is being held at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis with Ralph Covert, of the children’s band, Ralph’s World. My family will be there — will you? Here’s a coupon for a discount admission if you’d like to join us: http://www.childrensmuseum.org/promo/dance.pdf

Not in Indy? Check out the fun on Facebook. Also, check out all of the resources and incentives that are available at Big Kid Central.

Now for the giveaway!

Just leave a comment here (be sure to enter your email on the comment form so I can reach you) telling me something about potty training, either past, present or future. You’ll be entered to win a Pull Ups Potty Dance Party Pack, which includes valuable coupons, a dance mat, a DVD with helpful tips and stickers for your Big Kid. Comments will stay open til say, Tuesday March 1st. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was asked to be a part of this conference call by Pull Ups in conjunction with Potty Dance Party Day. I received a Potty Training kit, the opportunity to speak with Dr. Gwen, and admission and a stipend for expenses for attending the Potty Dance Party.

20 Replies to “Everything You’ve EVER Wanted to Know About Potty Training (and then some)”

  1. Oh my we are trying this right now with little man. He has no desire to learn at this point, hopefully soon enough that will change. Really considering everything he has been a great 2 year old but really learning how to potty train with 2 aunts just doesn’t seem to be his thing yet. Any tips would be great. When girl 2 got here we just had to teach her to go #2. She just asked for a diaper and then would go. We got her some sits that sit on the toilet, one being Dora, and that seemed to work for her. Little man is about to change into pull ups and hopefully soon after that the fun 😉 will start.

  2. While attempting to potty train my 2nd child, I did everything I’d done with my 1st, everything by the book, and NOTHING was getting through to her. Finally, in a fit of anger (yes, I know they tell you not to get angry), I screamed, “fine, be a baby. Wear diapers the rest of your life. I don’t care” and I stormed away in a huff. In my defense, I was 8-1/2 months pregnant. The next day she stopped wearing diapers. She was dry through the night very quickly after that. I know I did everything they tell you NOT to do and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this course of action, but once I left it up to her, she did it on her own. By the way, this also worked to get her to stop sucking her thumb. The day before she turned 5, I told her 5-year-olds don’t suck their thumbs, and she stopped the next day.

  3. My almost three year old has just begun asking to go potty… I thought he would be super late so did not think I would be doing this again for a while. At least not while single parenting. Oh well. At least he wants to, right?

  4. I am now potty training my 3rd child a boy. My daughter was trained within 2 weeks, my other son a few months and now my third. He’s not even 2 yet and doing very well. I guess he’s following what his older siblings are doing.

  5. We’ve recently started potty training w/ our 25 mo old. It’s going alot smoother than I expected. We watch the Pull Ups training dvd over and over! She Loves the Potty Dance video. We set the timer and she sits on the potty every 20 mins, then after she goes we have a Huge celebration of dancing & singing! She Loves it!!!

  6. Thanks for the tips!!! I am in the process of training my 3 year old daughter and it was turning into a nightmare…to the point im dreaming about the potty dance!!!!! I have backed off for a while and then try again with a New game plan. I have tried pretty much all of the advice and tips from my Dr,friends and online sites but she is refusing everything. She doesnt really have accidents but she holds her pee. Is driving me crazy because im worried she will get an infection. Ugh!!!

  7. I have to say that I have learned how potty training is so important. My oldest son had encopresis which I believe caused him to be diagnosed with adhd. I was going through a divorce during the time of his potty training and that is common among children with this problem. I am remarried and my toddler now is doing great but I have learned some tough lessons by seeing the hardships of my older son. I should say that he is doing great and I have spent over 15k helping him succeed in life and make up for that building block mistake that I made for him.

  8. I started training my little man at 1 1/2 years and he loved it, it took him 2 day but he was totally dry for 2 weeks even at night i was so happy, then its like a light when off and he stopped, just stopped he didn’t care if he was wet he just went on playing. He is now 3 years and back in pullups. Every time I show or even talk about the potty he gets so mad and he has a fit he want nothing to do with it, he even gets mad when i go to change his diper. I don’t know what to do as i have tried everything. HELP

  9. My son turned 2 in November. He loves using his potty for #1…still hasnt gotten #2 concept. We have TONS of pull ups and he loves watching and attempting the “potty dance”…i cannot wait for this saturday to host my potty dance party!!!

  10. My almost 3yr old son is in the process of training he sings the potty song as he calls it. His little brother seems 1/2 yr old intrested but again he just yells potty while his brother attempts to use it. This is frustrating time but I have come to remember what a wise women once told me they won’t pee their pants forever…. and if they do then it will become the wifes problem. Haha. Good luck to all!

  11. I have 3 boys and a girls. My first 2 boys were very easy to potty train. Now I have been working with my 3 1/2 yr old son for 1 yr now and he is still not liking the potty. My 19 month old daughter on the other hand loves the potty. How do I get my son to like the potty? He will only sit on it 2 maybe 3 times a day. Not always doing anything on it either.

  12. I just started potty training my 2 year old son and he is picking up very quickly minus the fact that every time he poops in his pullup he feels the need to take it off right away and it gets all over everything. My daughter who is the oldest never did this, any ideas how i can solve this problem?

  13. I am currently in the potty training mode with my oldest son ( he will be 3 in May) We were doing so well until I had my second and brought him home. I am after him all the time but he refuses… the only time he goes is if he is in the bath ( he will not pee in the tub) >> I am so confused.. I have a chart with stickers and a reward system ( candies) I know he understands but he is too stubborn..I am at a loss!

  14. Thank you so very much for the tips! I am training my 2 1/2 year old right now, (she is my only child.) She goes #1 & #2, on the potty but only when i put her on it. She hasn’t grasped the going when you gotta go part yet. (carrienmarc(at)aol.com)

  15. Ok so this is my first child. I have no clue where to start! He just turned 2 Feb. 4th. I thought he may have been ready to try when he was 18 months. Little did I know it is rare for them to be ready that early… So we tried and failed. He was so interested in what daddy “was doing”! LOL Kinda like “monkey see, monkey do”. Like I said we tried and failed cause he just didn’t have the attention span to “sit there” or “stand there” for ANY amount of time! So we are back to square one! Hopefully I can win something to help me in this HUGE milestone for my son Owen… and OUR FAMILY!

  16. My 3 1/2 year-old son doesn’t even want to try to potty train. I try to buy Pull-Ups and he’d rather have diapers. UGH! I told him if he could tell me that he could be potty trained. Maybe one day….

  17. We are in the midst of potty training our son. He is 34 months. We take him on a regular basis, sometimes he goes sometimes not. Sometimes he says he needs to go potty, usually at bedtime or nap time. He still hides to poop. We tried to put him in underpants, it didn’t help, he just peed everywhere. We use stickers and M&Ms as incentives, doesn’t really help. Sometimes if he wants to watch a program or go to the park that works but we can’t do that all the time. It’s definantly in his timing!!

  18. I have a two and a half year old daughter who loves to watch the potty DVD’s, we have a chart and stickers from your website but when it comes down to going potty either pee or poo she will only do it in her pamper. I have even tried putting a little box for her to have some books and activities while she sits there but no go. HELP!!! Am I rushing her? Is it too soon? I want to put her in daycare in September and hope she masters it by then. What more can I do?

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