Posted by: spaghettipie | November 7, 2007

WFMW: Potty Training *updated*


Okay, even though I messed up last week and posted a question, I’m going to pose another question. This weekend, I think I’m going to take a go at potty training my daughter. I’ve heard lots of advice on how to do it, but here’s one more push for any tips or ideas on being successful.

The signs of readiness that she exhibits are

  • An interest in going to the bathroom and sitting on the potty
  • Not being able to stand wearing a wet diaper
  • Telling me when she’s gone #2 or needs “a changin’ “
  • Pretty regular BM and you can tell
  • Has actually gone in the potty a couple times, at her own initiative

The tips I’ve already heard include

  • Using a reward system. Every time someone in the house (including mommy!) has a success on the potty, everyone gets a reward.
  • Scheduling concentrated time to be at home, prepared to spend lots of time in the bathroom
  • Giving her lots to drink during the day to create more opportunities to train
  • Asking her frequently.
  • Walking her through what she’s supposed to do, even if she’s already gone.
  • Talking about getting to wear “big girl” undergarments* and making that an exciting milestone
  • Not using the diaper so she can really tell when she’s gone.

Anyone have more tips or advice?

Thanks! While you’re at it, check out Rocks in My Dryer for more questions you might be able to answer!

*I don’t typically use that word in my vocabulary, but I’m extra sensitive about using certain words on my blog lest it attract strange searches . . .


We took an extremely laid back approach on Saturday morning. She already sort of knew what to do, so we put her in big girl pants and proceeded with our day. Of course, we had about three accidents, but by the third one, she figured out how to stop herself and wait to sit on the potty to finish. We so were busy painting and blowing bubbles that I forgot to ask her if she needed to go (hence a couple accidents). We gave her one M&M for sitting on the potty (sometimes we needed the enticement to get her to stop what she was doing) and one for actually going. By nap time, we put her back into a diaper. She woke up from her nap dry! Then I put her in a diaper to go to a birthday party. We got home, and got her ready for bed (yet another diaper).

I figured it was a good little half-hearted introduction but that we’d start over on Monday since we had church and then nap time. But she asked her teacher at church to go to the potty and she went! So Sunday after nap and all day today she’s been in big girl pants, with no accidents! Woohoo! She finally went number two on the potty this afternoon.

I think our success goes to what many of you said in the comments: if they’re ready, they’re ready. Hopefully we’ll be putting diapers behind us for good very soon!



  1. Sounds like you have a great plan! I started training my 2-year-old last week — he was doing all the same things as your little girl. He only tells me that he needs to go sporatically, but when he does I make a huuuuuge fuss over him. I also set a timer that goes off every 30-45 minutes. If he hasn’t asked to go within that time frame, I take him potty anyways. He also seems to do better at remembering if he’s not wearing pants — it’s not classy, but it helps!

    I’ve also heard that it’s really important to make sure that they can do everything by themselves (including pulling down the underwear), so I’ve made a point of doing that.

  2. My best piece of advice? Trust your gut instinct as a Mom. You know your girl better than anyone — certainly better than any of the so-called experts!

    So gather your courage, form a plan, and don’t be afraid to follow your own way if you need to!

    (Spoken by a Mom with twins who potty trained at the same time…in completely different ways…)

  3. Someone once gave me great advice. “They’ll do it when they’re ready.” I used that advice with my second child. Much relief, compared to the first! I never did try to get the process started. It just happened one day when Big Sister offered, “Hey, you want to wear these?” Little Sister thought this cloth option seemed preferable, and never went back.

  4. Wow! Sounds like your little girl is ready! I never thought about waiting to train my son until he showed interest–we had some interesting issues, so it was “do or die” for us! I posted about potty training recently–check out

  5. Have you read “Diaper Free Before 3”? The author is a ped and gives lots of tips on potty training and suggests an easy and (my fav part) stress-free routine! Check it out!

  6. Call TJ Wilson, no, sorry, Jamie Wilson ; )
    We are ALL about the “potty training in a day”! It really works!

  7. Pray!!!!! And not for her, for yourself. I am not kidding!! I am being dead serious!!

  8. I’m currently potty training my second child and what has worked with her and my oldest is small rewards each time. I know that a lot of people probably disagree, but I would give 2 m&ms for poop and one for pee. Both of my kids get m&ms that way my older one is excited for her too (even though it’s really because he’s getting candy). If it turns into a power struggle to get her to go I recommend setting a timer for every hour- or a time increment that works for you- and when it goes off it’s the timer telling her to go – not you. The biggest thing is just waiting for her to show signs and it sounds like she is. Just don’t get frustrated – just go with the flow if it doesn’t happen as quickly as you want it to.

  9. Thanks to everyone for your comments! It’s going really well.

  10. I actually take a much more laid back approach wherein we view pottying as a normal human event and don’t make a fuss about going. For us, it’s just another part of our daily routine. At 15 months, my son only uses diapers maybe 50% of the time, and wakes up dry from naps and nighttime regularly. He will also wait until we’re back at home to use the potty rather than go in his diaper. Here’s what we do:

    *offer the potty every time I go.
    *use cloth diapers, training undies, or just go bottomless.
    *sit him on the potty first thing in the morning and after naps and read books or play with blocks until he goes or gets too antsy. Comment, “look, you peed. Let’s dump it in the big potty and then you can go play” and move on with life.
    *lots of fiber so his poops are regular and not difficult.
    *really watch for signs he’s about to go. Once you know what to look for, it’s obvious. For example, my son does a whole-body shudder seconds before peeing.
    *get him involved in the clean-up process if there is an accident.

    good luck!

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