17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Potty Training Prep

I am still taking that parent ed class I first mentioned months ago. Now the kids are older (ranging from 18 months to 2 years). During our last class we had a potty training discussion.

At 18 months, I feel like Pumpkin is still a little young to start training. After looking through a potty training readiness "checklist" it seems like she is "trending towards independence" but I'm still think waiting to train until she's older is a good idea. With her sister, it seemed to go so smoothly once I waited until she was TRULY ready.

Anyway, our discussion in class quickly turned to potty training prep (the things you do to prepare your child for potty training) as most of the other parents felt the same way--their kids weren't ready for full on training yet. And potty training prep is something I believe in and feel Pumpkin is ready for. Here are some of the things we talked about that I've tried before: WARNING: this post uses the word potty, pee and poop a whole lot. You are welcome to sub in your own words wherever you like.

Books about going potty - Reading books together about going potty can reinforce language skills and contribute to the understanding of what it means to grow up and shed the diaper. We liked this one.

Dolls that go potty> - I think Dr. Phil suggests using a doll in his "potty training in a day" method. Frankly, I tried this method with my first when she was 2 and it we failed miserably. But I do think the doll was another good tool to help her little brain grasp the basic concept of what was happening in her body pre-toliet training. Fluid goes in, fluid comes out.

Watching others go potty - Pumpkin is fascinated by watching her old sister use the toliet. She doesn't show the same fear of the toliet that Princess had at the same age. For Princess, it was watching her best friend, Pukey use the toliet that really moved her in the right direction.

Having a small potty or potty seat in plain sight - For Princess we purchased a small potty chair and set it in the bathroom when she was 18 months old. We didn't try to make her use it, we just wanted to start talking about it and get her comfortable with the idea of having it around (the chair worked well for her, but people also use just a smaller seat or nothing at all).

Here are some ideas brought up in class that were new ideas to me:

Start changing diapers standing up in the bathroom - The teacher had toliet trained many a child while working at numerous day care facilities. She swore that prepping them for toliet training by changing their diapers in the bathroom while they are standing up is one of the best things you can do. This involves helping them learn how to pull their pants up and down and strap and unstrap their diaper (this new found skill, in my head, leads directly to coming into their bedroom only to find a lovely poop masterpiece smeared all over their bedroom wall). But that fear aside, I started doing it with Pumpkin and it is working out fabulously. Kage did mention that moms who have children with larger bums and thighs could find changing a diaper standing up completely unworkable. So this tip (as much as all the other ones) is not for everyone.

When the child is pooping, sit them on the toliet-- but try leaving their diaper on. This gets them used to the act of pooping on the toilet without allowing the poop to splash into the toliet which can scare many children.

Put poop from their diaper into the toliet--which is we should all be doing anyway if we are following the instructions on the diaper package (I had no clue) and care about the state of our landfills...but don't care enough to use cloth diapers. This statement could be a whole different post but back to my point. Let the child see the poop going into the toliet and let them flush it. Once again, this paves the way in their little heads for success in future potty training.

What other things have you done (or heard of) to create "positive toliet experiences" during the pre-potty training time? (We'll save the actual potty training tips for another day).


  • Ah...prepotty training...

    Ok while reading, first I thought how sad it is that Princess and Pumpkin's best friends are Pukey and Poopey...I think my girls are getting the better end of that stick.

    Secondly, it is true about the girls with larger bums. Our whole family is blessed with large derierre's, and the application of the diaper so that BOTH cheeks are fully covered, is tricky to do standing up.

    Thirdly, interesting tip on that poop in the toilet thing.

    Fourth, I HATE those mini-potties...something about them freaks me out. Pukey learned to go on a big toilet, but that has been freaking out Poopey, so I bought her a little seat that goes IN the big toilet seat, and a key feature is that it has handles. It is working...makes her feel very comfortable.

    My main pre-potty training strategy is to catch her when she has THAT LOOK and get her on the toilet as fast as we can, so that she can feel, see, hear and smell that poop go into the toilet...it scared her a tiny bit the first time, and every other time (I succeed at catching her about every other day), it is a great experience, and she is starting to tell me when she has to poop, but lacks consistency on whether it's before or after....so PPT is in full effect with the pooper of all poopers, Poopy.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 3/16/2007 11:32:00 AM  

  • We believe in the bribery system. First we make sure the kid is ready. Then we make sure that there is no upcoming change like a new baby or moving or something that is gonna make them regress. Then we bribe them. We take a whole day off work. We follow them around all day. I mean it, all day. Every time they go potty in the potty chair they get a toy from the dollar store. Once this is down, they get candy thereafter.

    Number 2 is bigger deal. The first time is huge. Kids have considerable stage fright when it comes to their first 2. So, we bribe them with something like a new tricycle or wagon or somthing soooo cool that they forget about being scared. Going number 2 thereafter earns a dollar store gift.

    Once they get it down in the house, then they can venture outside. If they have an accident outside, they have to come inside for a while. Then after they learn to stay clean and dry outside we work on going places.

    Some child phycologists may hate this because it fails to teach children to be internally motivated, to have an internal locus of control. All i can say is that its worked for our kids and they are not permenantly psychologically harmed from it as far as I can tell. They feel like they were easily potty trained without too much difficulty.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3/16/2007 07:19:00 PM  

  • This post petrified me! I'm not sure why but I guess there are certain things I'm really dreading when it comes to having kids....potty training is one of them.
    posted by Blogger Maria Tortilla at 3/17/2007 12:23:00 AM  

  • Thanks for this....I have been trying to figure out how to get started potty training #2...and since we took a very non-traditional approach with #1, I had forgotten everything I had read. I had never heard of putting the poop from the diaper in the toilet either and I'm wondering what difference it really makes.... I like the changing-the-diaper-standing-up and it seems like a good place to start.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 3/17/2007 06:28:00 AM  

  • I think I might be meaner than most moms...

    When I potty-train, I make sure they are older (near 3 years old) and ready (been talking about it, wanting to try it, etc.).

    Then I pick a week and cancel activities and things that will keep me leaving home for long periods of time.

    A few days before that week (I always start on a Monday) the prospective potty trainee and I pick out underwear together and talk about how on "this" day, we're never going back to diapers again.

    Then we start. Day one always has accidents --almost everytime. Day two is flawless --maybe one accident. Day three the child is begging for diapers, and we regress to day one accidents. By day four and day five, they know I'm serious about NEVER going back to diapers --and we don't. Ever. Pull-ups are used at night, and the kid gets high praise for not going in them; but no big deal if they do (unless it's poop! Because by this age, pooping at night doesn't exist anymore; at least with my kids).

    By Sunday, the kid can go to nursery in underwear and uses the toilet.

    It's worked for me twice and I'm praying (and hoping!) that it'll work again in a few months for #3.

    But it's interesting to me how all methods work. Depends on the child, of course, but it also depends on the parent and how they want to approach it.

    P.S. Not that it matters, but I never did use bribes, books, or dolls. That doesn't mean they don't work, just that sometimes they might not...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 3/17/2007 02:59:00 PM  

  • I had to share about putting the poop in the toilet:

    When my daughter was first learning to talk, we were getting ready to flush some poop (which she loves to do) and she decided to give it a good send off this time, with a sweet little:

    "Bye! Miss You!" and wave.
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 3/17/2007 07:58:00 PM  

  • Argh, I have a 3 year old boy who is SO RESISTANT to potty training. I know we're supposed to wait until they are 'ready' but it's also frustrating. We have a new baby soon as well (within the week, probably.) We tried Cheryl's stay at home method for three days but he just refused at every step. Bribery hasn't worked either.

    (As for my motivation, the main reason I feel badly about him not reaching this step is that he can't go to preschool without being trained.)

    Anyone have any boy-specific tricks?
    posted by Blogger Azúcar at 3/18/2007 01:57:00 PM  

  • p.s. we DO do the empty the diaper into the toilet routine.
    posted by Blogger Azúcar at 3/18/2007 01:59:00 PM  

  • Ah Kage, thanks for "getting" the pre-potty training focus of this post. Maybe it's something that only you and I do since everyone else jumped directly to potty training. Or maybe everyone else just skimmed the post.

    So Anon, and Cheryl do you believe in any prep? Or do you just wait and pop it on them one day? I think CHeryl briefly mentioned picking out underwear at the store. I would put this into the "pre-potty training" category for me. We picked them out for Princess and they sat in a drawer and she longed to wear those Princess panties but knew she couldn't until she was ready to keep them dry. I do believe the anticipation and discussion around them helped during the actual training time.

    Maria tortilla,

    No need to fear potty training, there are far worse things dealing with poop and children to be scared of.

    Jen, apparently the worry with leaving the poop in the diaper is that the fecal matter is a nesting ground for disease which can seep into the groundwater. Most states have laws that say human waste cannot be put into landfills but everyone seems to turn a blind eye to diapers. Putting the poop into the toilet takes it to a treatment plant where it can be properly taken care of. If you Google it, you can read some more info. Props to all the people (azucar) who actually follow the diapering instructions and the law. I am trying to be better now, but it isn't always easy.

    a spectator-
    My daughter is totally doing the same thing right now. While she flushes she happily announces "Bye, bye poo-poo" every time.

    azucar - check out this post by chloe who was going through something very similar to your situation.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/18/2007 03:49:00 PM  

  • I found that my kids were just as happy to pee in underwear as a diaper, so we've always done naked potty training. We pick a time when we can be home for a few days, then take off the diaper and let them run around naked. They tend to think twice about just peeing on the floor. They usually come to ask for a diaper, and we get them on the toilet. Once they've mastered naked toilet training we put on underwear. It usually takes a few days for them to get the hang of it...
    posted by Blogger Sue at 3/18/2007 07:37:00 PM  

  • I guess my "prep" is to just talk about it (and the underwear buying). We're already discussing it with #3, even though we won't be ready to officially launch potty training for at least 4 months. I also send him in to watch his father (peeing, people) so he can get an idea of how to do it. But we don't force it --just plant the idea into his tiny head.

    azucar --by 3 days, we're not done, either! But for some reason, by 6 days (of persistent, but kind, "we're never going back, so get used to the idea") they seemed to get it...Maybe just try it for longer? And don't go back, no matter what. Even if you are changing crappy underwear for weeks --if you go back, then he'll just wait you out again (which is why it might take longer now; it's a power struggle). Good luck! I hope he's trained by pre-school time...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 3/19/2007 09:07:00 AM  

  • Hey, I'm a first-timer here, but this post caught my eye, as do all things potty-related at this point. I had no idea about "potty-prep" until AFTER I had tried potty-training unsuccessfully twice! I feel like it did a lot of harm. While it *finally* sank in, he's almost four and still having accidents almost daily. After a year of this, I feel like I'm losing my mind! DS #2 just turned two and we've already started changing diapers in the bathroom and washing his hands and mine afterwards, AND he also takes his diaper and carries it to the garage and throws it in the trash can- I go help of course, but he actually LOVES this. Little one loves to sit on the potty, but never goes. But at least I'm prepping this time!
    posted by Blogger Tara at 3/27/2008 11:12:00 AM  

  • OMG - I'm having so much trouble.
    My boy was toilet trained at 3yo, took about 3 days. Was trained for day and night. Would wear jocks through the day and pull-ups through the night.
    Then accident, but accident, he regessed. Stopped telling me that he had to go and would have more accidents. I persevered with the jocks and clean-up. Tried treats, goodies, tried a chat, tried being harsh, tried wiping him with a wet cloth as a result of an accident.
    Nothing worked. It got to the stage where he wouldn't even tell me if he'd had an accident, he would ly and play in his puddle or wet patch. I would put him on the toilet or potty regularly, but he would hold it until later when he was playing.
    I got discouraged - 6 months later (a long time to be cleaning up pee from clothes and carpets) our childcare carer suggested a break for a couple of weeks and putting him back in nappies.
    Now, 3 weeks later, we have started again - to no avail - he's still refusing and making it a hard struggle.
    He'll be going to Kindy (I don't know what that equates to in the US - Probably Pre-School) next year and I want him trained - I certainly don't want him laughed at.
    posted by Anonymous Jaclyn at 10/22/2009 06:35:00 PM  

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