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February 11, 2012

So to continue with these sobering topics . . .

Filed under: Family, Motherhood, Personal — Tags: , , — llcall @ 3:00 pm

Potty training!

I mentioned before that my Mom and I have some different approaches to parenting on some issues, and one of them has turned out to be potty training.  See, Addison was showing some signs of readiness at a pretty early age.  We often laugh about one particular instance when she was about 14 months old, playing on the back patio in her birthday suit (your kids do that too, right?).  She came up to Neal and said, “Pee.”  And Neal responded, “No, you’re not.  I can tell you’re not peeing.”  About 30 seconds later, she started peeing.  By 17 months, when I (shockingly) managed to record it, she was consistently telling us when she needed to poop or pee. Around the time that we moved to California, she started asking to use the potty.  But to my Mom’s surprise (and chagrin), I would just tell her to run along and go in her diaper.

In theory, cloth-diapered kids are ready to potty train sooner.  The thinking is that because the cloth doesn’t pull the moisture away from their bodies like disposable diapers do, they are more aware of their bodily functions.  I used that as a pro-argument when trying to convince Neal.  But lo and behold when she was showing all these readiness signs, I was most decidedly NOT ready.  It wasn’t an emotional thing like weaning had been; it was definitely more logistical.  I had a pretty tantrumy kid on my hands, and I had just moved into a house with practically wall-to-wall carpet, even in bathrooms (so inconvenient!), and I was tired as all get-out.  Eventually Addison stopped asking to use the potty so much because I kept telling her no.  But she has recently started asking again.  I still tell her to go in her diaper, but we’re at least starting to consider the potty training thing again.

So here’s where you come in: hit me up with your best potty training advice!  Did you get a separate small potty or use a sort-of seat adapter on your regular toilet (no idea what those are actually called) — pros and cons?  What would you do differently if you had to do it again?  Oh, and if you have any magical spells, that would be perfect (remember we’re at the mercy of wall-to-wall carpet)!



  1. I think what finally helped Kasia is seeing Alisa Phelps go potty on her little potty. We had both the kid potty that stood alone and the seat that goes on top. The potty on the ground was PERFECT for her to get the ball rolling. She loved using it, but eventually, I got tired of dumping out the contents and cleaning it. YUCK. So we switched her to the seat on top. She was a little bummed about it, but was fine.

    I also think Elmo’s Potty Time DVD was great for her to watch as well. She loved it. I loved it. I mean, who doesn’t love Elmo? Well, I guess some people don’t.

    Comment by kjell — February 11, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

  2. I didn’t like the Elmo Potty Time DVD because of the song “Accidents Happen (and That’s OK).” It’s very catchy, and my son decided to start having accidents, since they were ok. 🙂 I did like the free promotional Pull-Ups video even though it was horribly cheesy, because it convinced me to go cold turkey on diapers. We went from diapers to a thick cloth training pant (made by Gerber) or “disposable training pants” which were to be kept dry. We also used some night time cloth training pants. We set a date (Christmas, in our case) and built up to it for a long time. “At Christmas, Santa will come, and you’ll have no more diapers!!!”

    One bit of advice I have is about accidents: they ARE going to happen. You are going to be scrubbing poop off of the carpet. Just accept it and treat it as poop-scrubbing meditation time. 😀 Hopefully it won’t be a daily occurance, like it was for me for a while there, while I was 7 months pregnant. Man that was rough. *ahem* Anyway, my carpet (or anywhere else) cleanup method was this: Remove and flush feces if applicable. Spray liberally with diluted ammonia (about 10 parts water to 1 part ammonia). Scrub with dishtowel. Pat dry with second dishtowel. Toss dishtowels and any soiled clothes in wetbag. Wash hands. Empty wetbag into washer, wash like regular but without soap. Then add soap and wash like regular again. Dry.

    Anyway, according to my reading, when accidents happen it’s important not to shame your child. My standard answer followed this formula: “Uh-oh! (expressing mild displeasure) Let’s clean it up. (sometimes we would do it together) Next time you’ll remember to do your pee in the potty. (very specific encouragement and statement of expectation).”

    We did both the little potty and the padded seat, one upstairs one downstairs. It was fine, but I agree it got to be a pain with the little potty after a while. I kept the padded seat and got rid of the potty, so we’ll probably just do the seat for our second son. It’s easier.

    Good luck. (You won’t need it. It’s not about luck it’s about patience.) And lots of love. And you know, it’s not a big deal if a mess needs to wait a while before you can clean it up, as long as it’s not getting spread around…

    You’re going to *love* having her potty trained. Oh! buy a step stool so she can get up to the sink to wash hands.

    Comment by Alysa — February 11, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

  3. Yeah, after a couple of “assessment” trials (one last spring, one last fall) I decided that neither K or I were ready for potty training. She only now (at 2.5) is starting to get some awareness of her bodily functions. She is getting good at “pushing” when she practices sitting on the potty (at her initiative, a few times a week), but with baby coming, I’m not pushing anything until at least the summer. A friend pointed out that having a potty trained child is not convenient, particularly when on outings and when public restrooms are involved. We did get Katie a stand alone potty seat, plus we have the inserts for the big potties. She seems to prefer the inserts we put on the big potties, which is fine with me. They also sell ones that collapse that are easier to take places. She also has a few little books about going potty. Her favorite is “Potty Time with Abby” (from Sesame St), which I got at Target. I hate it because it’s one of those books with buttons that make noise (plus it’s Abby Cadabby, ugh), but she loves it and has the whole thing memorized, which has helped reinforce the sequence of potty time (washing hands, etc.). We also keep a stamp in each bathroom. When she sits on the potty and pushes (she never actually goes; that only ever happened when I would have her sit for long periods of time during our assessment trials), after she washes and dries her hands, she gets one stamp, which she absolutely loves. Maybe when we’re actually training we’ll do two stamps or even fruit snacks, but we’ll see. I ordered two books that I recommend, not that I’ve tested the actual methods but they were helpful for the following reasons: 1) they helped me assess/address the emotional issues I have associated with potty training (in the fall I was putting too much pressure on myself/Katie for her to be potty trained before the baby came); 2) they recognize the different temperaments of children and 3) don’t claim/push just one “fail-safe” method of potty training. I have come to appreciate the concept of “potty learning.” So the books are “Stress Free Potty training” by Sara Au and Peter Stavinoha PhD and “The everything potty training book” by Linda Sonna PhD. Good luck!

    Comment by v. blanchard — February 11, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

  4. Max was a tough one, but I hear boys often are. It took us several months, but we never went cold turkey, and I am so grateful that I can say that I never had to scoop poop off of the carpet even once. It is weird cause we tried everything and nothing worked. He wasn’t enticed by rewards and in the end we honestly had to get firm, even a bit mean. It came down to us forcing him to stay on the potty until he went. It wasn’t until we got forceful that he decided to go on the toilet.

    Comment by Emily Larkin — February 12, 2012 @ 12:05 am

  5. it sounds like addison already knows what she’s doing. we’ve done the little potty and the padded seat, and i much prefer the padded seat. dumping out the little potty is gross. just plan on not leaving the house for a few days. i like going cold turkey with the diapers, and we only use pull ups (special night time underwear, we call them) until they are able to stay dry all night long. in the beginning, i sit my kids on the potty every 20 minutes or so, to get them used to it and to make sure the potty is right there when they actually have to go. i bribe them with m&ms. it’s such an individual thing. some of my kids picked it up right away, others took a bit longer. so yes, lots of patience is required. but i am sure addison will pick it up in no time. good luck with all of that carpet!

    Comment by stephanie — February 12, 2012 @ 1:37 am

  6. Both my kids were close to 3, so they really weren’t hard to train. With N we had a seat for the big toilet and a step stool. He got very good at doing it all himself(yes, he was trained to sit and pee – push it down and pee, once he was tall enough, I let him pee standing) T asked to stop wearing diapers, and 3 days later she was diaper free during the day. Addison sounds like she knows what she’s doing, she’s a smart girl. She might just train herself.

    Comment by enelo — February 15, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

  7. My sister suggested something that I thought was good advice. (Beth is not really potty trained; just has used a little potty maybe four or five times but loves sitting on it. The other day I thought for sure she was ready because she asked 6 times in one afternoon for “to-at” toilet, but we’re just not there yet. Mostly me? maybe?) Anyway, the advice was to get some big tablecloths that are water resistant on the top, just cheap ones, and lay them out where she’ll be playing and in the hallway to the bathroom. I got a few at Walmart on their Christmas sale for $1. That’ll be easier to clean up than carpet, right? I hope so. We’ll see how it goes…

    Comment by Sabrina — February 21, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

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