Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Painless Potty Training

We are in the very early stages of potty training our youngest. And to be honest, I should say SHE is in the very early stages of potty training herself! Apparently this girl has decided she's ready to go potty just like her older sisters and brother.

This probably would have surprised me a few years ago, but Gracie is actually the second of our children to do this. Olivia potty-trained herself completely, without any help from us. She just woke up one morning and said "No more diapers, I'm wearing underwear today" and that was it. Now, we did have to help her and remind her, but she took the initiative because she was ready, not because we mapped out a potty-training plan for her.

I realize this is a unique situation and we are incredibly blessed. However, there are a few things we learned along the way.

  1. When potty-training an older child, it helps to get the younger ones in on the act, no matter how young they are.
  2. When a child shows an interest of any kind in using the toilet, encourage it. We did this with all three of our youngest and it really helped.
  3. Don't pressure. This has been true with all 4 children. Isabelle was started with potty-training before she was ready, just because I thought it was time. That backfired! I ended up just backing off and leaving using the potty as an option any time she was ready for it. It took a couple months, but once she was ready, she was fully trained within a week.
  4. Expect accidents and be prepared for them. We have never made a big deal about accidents. Just clean them up, set them on the toilet to finish or as a reminder, and get back to life. Carry extra underwear and pants when you go out.
  5. In the beginning, or whenever there is a slip in training, remind your child(ren) every 30 minutes or so to go to the bathroom.
  6. Nighttime training is a whole separate beast. At least this has been our experience. And from what I've read, this is perfectly normal. So instead of worrying about it, we just accept it. The kids will not be wearing pull-ups forever.
  7. Ignore the inconvenience. I am not ready to potty-train Gracie yet, but I would be foolish if I let this opportunity pass me by. When we are out, it is normal for our kids to have to go to the bathroom frequently (VERY, very frequently in the beginning). Sure, it would be easier to put a pull-up on them before going out, but that really is just counter-productive. Better to just add a potty-break buffer into all outings.
These tips have definitely worked for us in the past, and I'm looking forward to them working for us now! What has worked best for you with potty training?

Stop by Rocks In My Dryer for more Works For Me Wednesday.


Blessed Mommy 8:49 AM  

My twins just turned two yrs. Some have asked if I have started potty training. I say no and they just look at me. The twins have shown no "ready" signs. My oldest was 3 yrs before he was potty trained. He just woke up one morning and was "trained". I learned my lesson with him and do not plan on working with the twins til I see the "ready" signs. Thanks for the reminder that our children are individuals and will be "ready" in their own time. Many blessings. Love reading your blog. Reading your blog goes well with my coffee in the am.

Lisa,  10:03 AM  

I think the key, like you said, is readiness. We started encouraging our son to use the potty when he turned 2, with little results. We were told to have him wear underwear so that he would hate the feeling of wetness and begin to use the potty. WRONG!! He just kept wetting his underwear. So we waited about 6 more months and tried again. This time he starting using the potty and never looked back. He's 3 now and uses the potty all day. We're having a hard time with the night time though. He seems to wake up wet often.

Jennifer 12:16 PM  

We had great success with potty training 3 of my 4 kids. My third child totally threw off my average. I agree that waiting until they are ready works. Sometimes though, a little prompting will help things along. For instance when my daughter was 22 months, about 2 months before my ds was to be born I thought maybe I should try. All I did was say one time "I will give you a piece of candy if you pee on the potty" and she trained herself within the day. I really hadn't thought it would work, but figured why not try it? You never know!

Courtney 3:15 PM  

My daughter has started to show signs (one taking her diaper off and sitting on the potty FOREVER, she never went but it was babysteps) She is my first and I have never done it before but with everything else i have waited for her to show me that she wants to do it. so far so good. Thanks for the advice, it really helps out!

Best Life 6:39 PM  

I am a little jealous. ;) Out of my nine children...none of them have done that. Some were easier than others, that's for sure. But number seven (he's a hoot anyway) was FIVE before he finally potty trained. We worked on it for two years. I'm still exhausted! LOL!

Wani 7:47 PM  

We've been trying to get my 3 1/2yr old son to go on the potty for over a year. We've tried all sorts of techniques. He's had some times when he was doing well... but he's gone back to throwing a fit every time we mention going to the potty. He refuses to tell us when he poops and gets awful rashes from sitting in it. We're so tired of it!!

Anonymous,  9:47 PM  

I thought something was wrong with my eldest because he took TWO WHOLE DAYS to potty train, and the book said it'd only take one. LOL! My second took almost two years to train, and he still has accidents when we're out of our routine. My youngest decided she was ready on her own before she turned two (but still didn't really 'train herself'), and I must say that outings with a girl are MUCH more complicated than with boys. I'm a germ-a-phobe of public potties, and putting my extremely tiny girl on them isn't my favorite idea. Solution? We keep a little potty in our minivan and she uses it before we go in to any errand and before getting back in the carseat. It's a little inconvenient, but it really works!

Christi 9:52 PM  

Great tips! We are in the process right now with our 3rd. He is
2 1/2. At first he seemed more interested, now, not so much. Oh well...it will happen eventually I guess. I am going to choose not to pressure too much, and hopefully that will help!

Kelley 5:40 AM  

When my friends start talking about potty training a child under the age of three, I tell them "If you think they're ready - wait three months. Then they'll really be ready!"

Your Frugal Friend, Niki 6:00 PM  

Isn't it a blessing when some parenting goes smoothly?


3 for Me! 11:26 AM  

I've been trying to potty training my middle boy since he was 2.5! He knows what to do but wasn't interested.

So I backed off with actual underwear but still talked about it:)

But after Christmas he adn his little sister (almost 2) decided they wanted to potty train:) LOL... they've been doing soo well!!

But the BEST part is that they are running and pottying on their own! I will remind them if I haven't heard any potty activity:) Of course we have occassional accidents... but I just think of all the $ were saving on diapers !!

Neither will do #2 on the potty. They save it for naps and early mornings.... but that will come for us!!

Thanks for your experienced insight:) I do think that waiting for our kids to be ready and asking is easier:)

Dave 9:21 PM  

We are in the final stages of potty training our youngest. She was just ready. Thanks for your good info.

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