Saturday, January 10, 2009

Potty Training Tips

I was recently asked for some tips on potty training. Not sure I have many. All I know is that it's one of the crappy parts of parenthood. Here is my history:

Started her at 18 months. Completely frustrating and Bradley was born when she was 19 months old. Started again at 2 1/2. Bribed her with a Snow White dress. LOTS of accidents throughout process! Accidents completely stopped at about age 5. She did get the Snow White dress after two weeks of successfully training.

He completely resisted training. He HATES when he fails at something. Christmas vacation after he turned 3, we spent a week training him since my husband was off work. I think we bribed him with chocolate. Bradley liked using the small potty at first and then he finally worked up courage to use the big potty. I don't like kid potties because I don't like dealing with dumping the contents into the big potty, but in this instance it proved useful. Bradley had much fewer accidents post-training than Emily and was completely daytime trained in one week. I can't remember exactly, but I don't think Bradley was completely nighttime trained until he was almost 5.

IMPOSSIBLE to train before turning 3. Kind of got the hang of it at age 3. LOTS of accidents! She gradually got better at having less accidents. Still cannot sleep through the night dry. I've tried. Huggies is making a lot of money off of me. It boggles me how a child can wet the bed and sleep in it until morning. The wetness doesn't seem to wake her up like a normal child.

Bladder of STEEL. This kid trained herself at age 2. Did not require any bribing. She was very self motivated. Very few accidents. She usually pees her pants if she holds it too long and someone is using the bathroom when she needs to go. She sleeps through the night dry, but I put on a Pull Up just in case because she shares a bed and I don't want to have to bathe children and wash sheets the next morning.

Showing interest. I need to start working on him.

Can poop and pee in diaper to her heart's content because I'm not starting her until I'm done with Jason.

From my experience, every child is different. Wendy is my proof that I'm not a complete failure. I think some children are just more physiologically capable of training early. I think bladder control is hereditary. I remember wetting my bed often when I was little (like until I was 10) and I peed my pants in first grade. So my poor kids! Wendy got lucky. I never use Pull-Ups in the daytime unless we are on a road trip. I like to keep the child naked (bottom down) during training at home until they fully understand how to use the potty. The naked approach was effective for Bradley. I think accidents are less likely when they are naked because there is nothing to catch it. It also helps with less laundry. However, the naked approach seemed to make Sarah think she could poop and pee anywhere in the house she felt was suitable. I learned with Wendy, that bribing is not necessary. However we started bribing her in order to get her to go all by herself. We gave her 5 mini M&Ms if she mounted and dismounted the toilet on her own.

I've heard of potty training at 4 months old, but I just can't do that. I don't have the manpower to be that attentive to my baby's bowel movements. Honestly, I think I've actually noticed Rachel pooping in her diaper (grunting and red face) like 3 times. Smell is what cues me to know that I need to change a diaper which is why Rachel has diaper rash right now, because I had a cold last week and she probably sat in a soiled diapers for a little too long. I've never read any books on the issue (maybe I should have). As long as they are trained by Kindergarten, I'm happy. The good news is that I no longer pee my pants (unless I'm pregnant) or wet the bed so there is still hope for Sarah.

I hope that helps. Like I said before, every child is different. I could probably use some tips myself.

If you find you are losing patience, don't blame yourself, blame the kid. It probably is their fault or their physiology. Meanwhile, stock up on Bounty - The Quicker Picker Upper and roll up your good rugs until victory prevails.

Oh yes, and my trick for getting pee out of carpet is when the pee is still there and you can see a dark wet spot, I take some masking tape and mark a square or rectangle around the spot. Then I take my roll of Bounty and blot it up until it is practically dry. Then I wipe it with a clean white cloth and spray some vinegar and water on it to avoid a urine smell. The masking tape is really helpful because the dark spot goes away after a few blots and then it's easy to lose track of where the accident happened, especially if you get a phone call or other distraction. Sometimes it takes me a whole TV show and LOTS of paper towels to get it all up, but it's important to me to know that my carpet is mostly clean, especially if it's new.

Is that enough potty talk for now?


  1. Maybe I will have to try the naked thing with Bennett and Madalyn.. it is so cold though. who knows. They dont really show much interest in it. Caylee wasnt fully potty trained til like 3 1/2 anyway. My kids just dont care I guess. HA HA HA

  2. when my kids have an accident, i cover the spot with baking soda. It soaks up the pee and cleans and deoderizes the carpet. Then, when it's dry I just vacuum it up. I like to let it sit for a full 24 hours, though, so I sometimes end up putting a towel or something over it so my kids don't play in it! yuck!! Winni trained herself, so I'm hoping Trae does too!

  3. Becky - maybe the cold will be more incentive for them to learn so they can get their clothes back on.

    Amber - that's a great tip! I'll have to remember that one for our second batch of kids. I'm sure the baking soda would somehow get scattered through my house though by curious kids. Good luck with Trae. I think boys are more difficult to teach but MUCH easier to deal with in public places - just aim and shoot.

  4. With Adam (5th child) I bought a book called potty training in one day. I did it and he was trained. I felt so good about myself. I dusted off the book and used it with Mary (6th child) when she turned 3. No luck. She would pee her panties and just change them. I put her in pullups and she would pee or poop in them and change them herself. So we did that for 6 months and then I put her back in panties and she is doing better- maybe 5 will be her magic number. Oh well- just Kenny in diapers and I don't even start with boys until 3 years of age.

  5. Well I can tell you as an adult who wet the bed till the age of 15 years old, it is very easy to sleep in it. If you wake up your skin stings, but you just roll over and go back to sleep. I would totally suggest to continue to use Pull Ups or diapers. I wore a diaper at night until I was 6 years old and they just did not fit I recall my parents left them unfassaned in my underware until they started leaking all the time. Then I was on my own with wet beds EVERY night.

    I so much wish I had it like little kids have it today...where I could have just worn a pull up to bed till I stopped wetting. But they did not have Pull Ups back then. I was humliuated so much over wetting and the house smelt very washing sheets everyday was just usless in my mind...I would go a few days before putting them in the wash...they would be dry by the time I went back to sleep. I know it sounds nasty.