Posted by: Meagan | February 2, 2011

Potty Training Tips

Well my friend Liz asked me for this post and I thought it would be good to do it not only for her but also as a follow up to my previous post. That post was in May of ’10 and my son was potty trained September ’10. We made an attempt in May, it was then not going well and we had two reunions to go to that summer and decided to wait until we got home to potty train him.

I kind of have to say, forget about the cutesy books and movies. I think that the kids enjoy them, and that is good, but I don’t think they actually encouraged my son to use the potty, your child may be different. He enjoyed reading/watching potty training stuff but they never “motivated” him. So if you have books and shows then don’t throw them out, just don’t expect them to drastically change your child’s mind about potty training. I found that my son never really “showed readiness”. Interest, yes, but ultimately he would rather play than use the potty so here are a few things I did, take them with a grain of salt because this is what worked for my son, and all kids are different.

-Don’t “Build Up” To It

We did this for our first attempt and he wasn’t excited and it may have made him dig his heels in more. The second and final attempt I just decided one day that we were going to potty train, surprise! This seemed to go over just fine with our son, there was no, “Well Mommy you could have warned me or at least made a sticker chart!” (haha)

-Took daytime diapers away completely

By doing this my son knew that using underwear was his only option. For about 2 weeks he wore pull-ups for naps but he never wet them so I opted to stop putting him in them. He still wore them at night but after the bag of pull ups were gone we didn’t buy anymore. We did this mostly because my son rarely woke up with a wet pull-up. Usually he would wake up dry, then need to go potty but since he was in a pull-up he’d just pee in it. So when the package was empty, no more.

-Take Your Child to the Potty Every Hour for About 10 Minutes

You may say, “WHAT THE HECK?? I AM NOT DOING THAT!” Because it takes a LOT of time, and energy but believe me it’s worth it. Two things I did because my son didn’t like stopping playing or watching a movie to go sit on the potty that often was:

1. Set a Timer for sitting on the potty and time until they have to go sit on the potty.

2. Let Them Bring One Toy to the Bathroom. This make sitting on the potty less torturous.

Depending on how well your child does at not having accidents during this time you can lengthen the time between potty visits and/or shorten time on the potty.

-When Your Child Cries or Whines About Sitting On the Potty Talk to Them

I think it was key for my son to learn that he had a lot of control over how much time he sat on the potty. When he would cry about sitting on the potty I would tell him, “As soon as you pee in the potty you can get up and play again, it’s up to you how much time you sit on the potty.” Eventually he understood what peeing felt like and how to stop/start it. Once he started telling me “Momma I need to go pee” then I would rarely have him sit on the potty, I just went with my instincts on when he would have potty time.

-Be Patient

This is SOOOO SOOO very hard! I can’t tell you how many times my son wet his underwear. To start with he often peed only in his underwear, often just after having him sit on the potty. I had to take him every hour for 2 weeks! And then every 2 hours for the next week, and the following week it was a mix of him telling me he needed to go and me telling him to go. It was frustrating and it felt like he’d never get it but I’m so glad we didn’t give up.

I would talk to my son about how pee and poop belong in the potty. And then ask him, “Where does pee go?” and he’d answer “In the potty” then I’d say, “Next time you need to pee what do you need to do? Sit on the potty or pee in your underwear?” “Sit on the potty” “That’s right! You are SO smart!”

-Purposely Refusing to Use the Potty after Being Trained for a While

Eventually your child will start using the potty and after they are trained often they will start having lots of accidents again! This is extremely frustrating and I have heard this happens from every mother I’ve talked to about potty training. One friend told me the only thing that ever worked for her was giving her daughter cold baths when she peed in her pants. Now before you get up in arms let me clarify. She gave her daughter “cold” baths for refusing to stop playing and having an accident, not for being scared and having an accident or any other reason besides her daughter choosing to play/watch movie/etc instead of going to the bathroom when she knew she should.

So I decided to give it a try after a week or two of thinking about it, trying other ideas and my son continuing to have lots of accidents. The bath water was warmer than room temperature, about luke-warm, but still much cooler than what our son is used to. I always put just a few inches of water in the tub, washed him quickly from head to toe, got him out and dry and dressed immediately. My son cried, and I told him that if he chooses to wet his pants he chooses to have a cold bath. Mommy doesn’t like giving him cold baths, but this is what happens when he chooses to pee/poop in his underwear. He had just a couple cold baths and hasn’t had an accident since. And he is not scared of the bathtub either. Occasionally when he’s having a bath and playing he will say, “I like warm baths, I don’t like cold baths.” But he is in no way traumatized by his luke-warm bath experiences and continues to love bathing.

I hope this helps, I know potty training can be frustrating but it’s possible and it’s worth it!



  1. I remember how after I potty trained my first child I felt great, like, “wow! I have accomplished something major! I know how to do this!” And then my second child came along to that age and I started to get panicky and think, “have I really done this before?! I don’t know if I know how to potty train a kid!” But I did end up potty training her, and now #3 is coming along to that age, and that panicky feeling is returning! Each one of them is so different. I used different techniques for each of the girls. I mean, the same thing I did for the first wouldn’t have worked for the second. Although they were both fairly easy, I just knew that what I did with number 1 wouldn’t have worked for number 2. So, I don’t know what I’m trying to say exactly. But these are great tips. It’s good to get all the advice you can get on potty training and then combine all that with how you know your child best, and don’t be afraid to go for it and not feel like you have to follow everyone’s advice and please the whole world.

    • I agree, every kid is different and that’s why I told people to take my advice with a grain of salt because who knows if what worked for my kid will work for another. Just throwing it out there. 🙂

  2. Thank you so much! We’ve been doing to potty every hour thing this week. We’ve done well so far. I heard from a friend and her sister on Sunday about the cold bath/shower thing. They had each used it for their children and had it work so I’ve debated trying it, but I’m nervous because I don’t know if I can hold it together long enough to do it. I’m trying the every hour thing for now.

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: