Sunday, November 17, 2013

Potty Training- Tips to make it easier on Mama...

My son is well on his way to potty training success. We have had several lately and he is even beginning to tell us when he has to go. We are only at about 10% success when he tells us he has to Pee-Pee but he is thinking about it. He almost always has success before bath time. We have yet to "catch" a Poo-Poo but we were close today...We do not work on potty training away from home yet. I think when we get to 100% success at home we will bridge to when we are away from home.

A mommy friend of mine and I were talking about potty training and I was giving her a few of the tips and tricks I have learned or come across. I thought I would share some of my tips with all of you. I hope you find them helpful.

Remember to always keep potty training low pressure and high reward. It should be fun and successes should be celebrated! 

Tip #1 
Keep your language consistent!!!
When deciding on the language you are going to use- keep it consistent. It doesn't really matter what you decide to use it matters that you always use those words for the action you want them to do. We use the works Pee-Pee and Poo-Poo. My son can say these and both my husband and I feel comfortable with these words. There are many words you can use for bodily functions make sure that you pick words everyone in the house feels comfortable with and will use. Also try to pick words that your child can say. Make sure care givers also know the words you are using.

Be prepared for your child to shout them out in public and in front of company..!

Tip #2
Find a high interest reward you can offer and only give the reward when they are successful!!! 
What do I mean by reward...I mean something tangible your child goes nuts over and they always want. I know there are many theories about giving food or candy as a reward. The only time my son gets M&Ms is when he Pee-Pees in the potty. We keep them in the bathrooms where he can't reach them and we make a big deal with verbal praise as well as a sweet reward when he is successful. He only gets 1 for a success. When he sees them in the store he points to them and says "Pee-Pee". HE NEVER GETS M&Ms ANY OTHER TIME!!! 

We limit candy in general so getting a single M&M is a really big deal. I know moms who use fruity Cheerios or some other reward. Whatever you feel comfortable with but make sure it is something they ALWAYS WANT!!! You also have to make sure that they don't give this reward any other time- it can be hard but you have to stick to your guns or they will know you are not really serious.
When your child starts to have more success you start to ween them off of the reward and only offer praise. This is temporary and a means to get them excited about complying. You can also use a toy chest or grab bag but this isn't as exciting to my son so it is not high reward enough for him yet...

Tip #3
Dealing with Poo-Poo in a Little Potty
Since my research on potty training showed that trying to start by having a little person sit on a big person potty could create fear and intimidation we opted to start with the little training potties. This has been very successful for my son and it really does give him a sense of independence and ease of use. Dumping the Pee-Pee into the toilet and washing it out isn't a big deal but Poo-Poo is a completely different story!!! There are a few group pages that I have liked on Facebook and one of them posted a great solution to the Poo-Poo problem....Drum Roll Please......

Use a paper Coffee Filter! 

You cannot flush the coffee filter but you can put it in the diaper pail and you don't have to scrub the little potty out. You can also put a little water in the pot but that means you have to think ahead and sometime you can't do that. The coffee filter is cheap and easy to put a clean one in right after you clean the pot..!

When my son was ready we moved to the big potty and added a cushioned seat adapter. We already had a step stool for him to rest his feet on but the cushioned seat adapter made sitting on the big potty for #2 happen a lot faster and the step stool gave him the independence he needed.

Image result for cushioned toilet seat adaptor

Tip #4
Keep back-up Diapers/training pants, wipes and Lysol/Air Freshener in the bathroom.
Keep in mind that accidents happen and having a little one who is not in complete control of their functions running around your house naked while you re-group and clean up is not ideal. Keep some back-ups in the bathrooms so that you can handle it with a little less stress. Trust me, my husband and I learned this one the hard way! I like to keep Lysol in the bathroom to for a couple of reasons. I spray down the little potty after I rinse it out and it helps with Poo-Poo smells.

Tip #5
Everyone gets into it and It is Everywhere!
This may be hard for Daddies...I am not sure why but I have heard many daddies are reluctant to get involved. I think a great part of our successful transition has been my husbands participation in the process. My son sees his daddy doing it and of course he wants to do it too! My husband is completely supportive of the process. He uses the language, he lets our son go into the bathroom with him and talks to him about Pee-Peeing in the potty. He watches the Elmo Potty time video with him and sings the songs with him too. It really does make a difference if everyone in the house is a part of the process.

In addition to watching the Elmo's Potty Time video we have read several books on the topic. We talk about the kitty and the dog going potty. We have presented the idea in many ways and in many mediums. I have to admit that Elmo is getting old but he watches that video almost once a day. It is his main TV time but hey it is teaching a topic we want him to learn.

Tip #6
Be Prepared to Visit Public Restrooms!!!

Eventually you are going to have to leave the house and adventure into public restrooms...that's right, everywhere you go you are going to need to visit the potty! This also means that you are going to have to tackle your kiddo SITTING ON A PUBLIC POTTY..! Yikes!!!

In general, I hate public restrooms. I will hold it rather than use one, but when you have a little one you have to buck up and enter into these spaces. Here are some tools I use to help deal with this eventuality:

A) The Fold- Up Travel Seat: My little guy is little, he was terrified of the big toilet seat. We used a little potty at home but in public we needed to deal with this... So we got a fold up seat that fits neatly in the diaper bag. My son even took it to preschool with him "just in case he had to poo" there. I keep the fold up seat in a big zip-lock bag with the items below...

Image result for fold up potty seat

B) Travel Size Seat Covers and Lysol spray or wipes: Seat covers are great but in the travel size products sections of Target I found travel size Lysol!!!  Having these two items in the diaper bag has proved invaluable!

C) Hand Sanitizer: This shouldn't really need info and I bet you already have it in the diaper bag!

Tip # 7
Let's talk poop on the big potty for a minute...

A friend at church gave us a little pointer one day when she over heard my discussion with my son about pooping on the potty. We had somehow left the travel seat at home and he really needed to go. I was holding him on the seat and of course he was fretting about "falling in"... She told me something that rocked both our worlds...

Have the little one straddle the toilet seat backward facing the tank. They can hold in the the tank (or plumbing) so they are not reaching for the walls of the stall, teetering on the seat, or needing to be held. We have had to use this in a pinch a couple of times since and it makes a big difference!

Below you will find some pictures of books and DVDs we have read and watched.

Book Suggestion: Also comes in a girl version and there is a sounds version as well
Disney's Potty DVD

Book Suggestion also comes in a girl version has a DVD option
Image result for Where's the Poop
This is and was a favorite in your house...yep...make poop fun!

Image result for elmo's potty time
We watched this DVD over and Elmo's dad and learn some catchy songs too!


  1. That coffee filter is a good idea. I never thought of this thing every time my son used his potty to poo. I used the 3-day potty training method to train my son and by the fourth day, he's already diaper-free. I also used motivational tools and stickers on the chart to encourage him to use the potty trainer and lately, toilet with potty seat in it.

    1. Thank you Capri! I will be posting an additional blog on motivation and the use of charts in potty training. Thanks stopping by and commenting!

  2. Thank you so much for this!!! My LO is 22 months.. Which is the right age to start? He lets us know that he has poo'd.. Pee pee is still involuntary

    1. So I can't tell you when the "right" age is but I can say that there is right time for every child. If your child is NOT ready to potty train you are both going to feel frustrated. Also identifying the substance in the diaper is not the same as identifying the feeling of needing to go...

      If you don't have a time line (like needing to go to preschool by a certain date) then let your kiddo set the pace. Know your child and know what motivates them. Start with small steps/goals and once those are mastered add the next step/goal. It is okay to go back a step but once you start don't stop completely because consistency is key. Also, make sure there are no big changes happening (a new baby joining the family, a big move. etc.) at the same time you are focusing on the potty training. Many kids will regress when siblings enter the picture or major changes happen.

      Have patience, make it fun, respond with grace and love, and remember you are both learning from and about each other.

      Good luck Mama!

  3. I love these ideas. My daughter knows what the "potty" is for and peed the other say and then said I peed and ran toward the bathroom. So I'd say its about time. She's 22 months as well.

    1. You are best judge of your child's readiness!
      Keep it fun and enjoy this milestone but don't lose heart if it doesn't go exactly like you think it will.

      Good luck Mama!

  4. I love these ideas. My daughter knows what the "potty" is for and peed the other say and then said I peed and ran toward the bathroom. So I'd say its about time. She's 22 months as well.

  5. I used the Once upon a Potty book with my daughter. It has one page where the child has an "oops" and poops on the floor. My daughter took this as a suggestion and followed through. It was the ONLY "accident" she had re: #2. You never can tell how a small child will interpret something.

    With my youngest son, I used "Potty training in Less than a Day". It's actually a week or 2 of laying groundwork (how to say the words, how to pull pants down and up), and one day of intensive focus, and the usual extended period of mastery. Worked GREAT.

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  7. I love the coffee filter idea--But I would want to just flush it. So why not use a paper towel square--It should be fine for people on sewer systems. I think that people with septic fields have to be more careful. Maybe a quick spray of non-stick would help the poo just rinse away with a quick swirl of water

    1. I would not flush a paper towel. I have heard they can clog the toilet and pipes in your house. You could use a little doggie poop bag to trash it. The "loaded" filter would go in my diaper pail just like a diaper. Thank you and thank you for the comment.

  8. Really nice post, thanks for all the tips and ideas! I don't know if it's just my computer, but your grey text is showing up across both the coral and light rose background, and it's almost unreadable on the coral, it's headache-inducing to read that section. I highlighted the text with my cursor and that made it better, but I'd recommend taking a look at your layout.

    1. Yes, it was just my computer! Disregard the second half of my comment! Layout looks great after I posted and the page refreshed lol