CFC Livingroom

The Cummington Family Center

Potty Training 101 January 16, 2007

Filed under: links,parenting,potty training — zannestar @ 2:00 pm

I know there are tons of ways to go about potty training. I remember a NY Times article about potty training: starting at 6 months, parents would hold the babies over the toilets and make a “shhhhhhhh”ing sound to associate potty and bodily function. But 6 months? Oh boy. I couldn’t imagine starting it then. I was more worried about eating, crawling, sleeping (hers and mine!). Going to the potty? I wasn’t ready then.

Our version of potty training: She comes into the bathroom with us. Teaching by example. We are going with the thought that when she is ready, it will happen, no more diapers. We started by getting a potty from a friend and put it in the bathroom. It was just there and she could explore and play with it. And she did. For a long time it held snacks (eewwww gross, but true), then it held toys, then crumpled up (but not used) toilet paper. Then she started sitting on it (oh boy! another step closer!). The whole time, we would talk about potty time and when do you know to go potty? Then one day while prancing naked in the bathroom, she went to the potty (just not in the potty). She didn’t notice. I pointed it out to her, and she was, I think, shocked, and not quite sure what it was and what had just happened. I explained that it was ok, no big deal, but that is something that should happen on the potty. If it doesn’t always happen, it’s ok, but next time try to use the potty when you feel like you have to go.

For the whole next week, anytime she would fill her diaper, she would look behind her and walk in circles trying to see what had just happened, and want her diaper changed immediately (no fun in the middle of Trader Joe’s), and everything would be dropped and we’d change her diaper. She started shortly after, to tell us that she had to go to the potty and would sit and sometimes there would be something to see in the potty and other times not.

Then we took a trip, and I thought well, this will change everything – and it did! We stayed with a family that has a child who is 18 months older than ours and she could sit on the big potty and use it! Izzy was amazed and in awe. They had a seat that fit onto the toilet, and Izzy was able to sit there too! While she was wearing diapers the whole visit, she didn’t use them and sat on the potty every time she needed to use it. WOOOHOOOO! Were we there, was she ready, is this it? She’s almost 2 and while I was excited, I thought we still might have a long road ahead.

Well, the plane landed and we were back to only using diapers. That’s ok. For us, it’s really about what she is comfortable with. It’s a month later, and she is just starting to sit on her potty again and occasionally wants to sit on the big potty. Sometimes she tells us she wants to use the potty, other times she asks for a diaper change. We did acquire a toilet seat adapter so she has the option of her little potty or the big potty.

The only thing I struggle with now is, what to do at night. Many nights she wakes and says she needs to use the potty and we go downstairs and most times it’s an excuse to get out of bed and play. What to do?

Here are a bunch of online resources/articles I’ve found while researching the life around the potty: – I frequent this one when researching – has a broad range of topics and I have enjoyed their books

A list from – favorite potty training books for kids.

Google Search for Potty Training – There is so much information out there.

*Tip – Not everything works for everybody. What works for us, might not work for you. There are different schools of thought on every subject. Research what seems like the right direction for you. Learn about different experiences and see what would be a good fit for you and your family. Then give it a try.

Have a potty experience, advice or question? post it here.


One Response to “Potty Training 101”

  1. It’s like everything else; eating, walking, reading (yes reading) and going poop and pee in the potty, it comes when they are ready and they need no formal instruction (as long as they see it happening and are able to be in on the experience when they want.) I’ve learned with much trial and error that as soon as I stop worrying, researching or even caring – that is exactly when my daughter chooses to take matters in her own capable hands and does things on her own. They don’t need us quite as much as we have ourselves convinced.

    As a previous preschool teacher, the developmentally appropriate time for MOST kids to learn to use the toilet is around three to three and a half (of course there are exceptions (younger and older) and you can “make” kids do anything with enough pressure – but lets not go there.) The great thing about letting kids come to the potty issue on their own is that they typically don’t have “accidents” when they are ready vs. when parents are ready. If they truly aren’t ready, they will continue to go in their underwear because their body clues and development have not caught up with their (or their parents) interest.

    Frankly, I was ready way before my daughter was but I didn’t have the heart to pressure her or the desire to clean up poop and pee underwear. Show your child their underwear in their drawer, help them with their pull-ups (it’s too hard to take off diapers because they are probably going to want to be successful at this on their own), a seat for the toilet, a stool and no disappointment (when it doesn’t happen on your timeline) – and they’ll take it from there.

    If you are running into issues such as “I want to go potty” which reads to our parenting midnight minds as “I want to play.” Just say, “We’ll try it when it’s time to get up.” A couple of midnight potty trips are NOT going to make or break when your child is really ready for no more diapers (and you’ll know when it’s real) – they are smart little buggers though aren’t they? My daughter did and still does the same thing. The toilet as an excuse not to eat, sleep or leave the house – they know they’ve got us with the poop and the pee.

    If you’re thinking of using a reward technique, read up on Alfie Kohn’s work – you can find an interview about his book “Punished by Rewards” here:

    And the day the poop hit the pot at our house:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s