Potty Training

**Welcome to the most popular post on my blog! I hope you find the potty-training/ potty-learning tricks you need for your family :)

It’s finally happened!

At age two and a half, I am officially calling Ariana a potty-trained toddler.  We (both Ariana and I) have learned a lot during this process and I want to share how we did it.

1. Go at toddler-pace.

Ariana first showed interest in the potty around her first birthday.  I bought her a potty chair so that when she was ready, she could use it.  She would often sit on it for 10  minutes with her diaper on, 5 minutes without the diaper. Sometimes she used the potty, often not.

Ariana’s interest in the potty waned for a while, but after she turned two, the potty was fascinating again- she sat on the potty when she wanted and if she went, she got a single Smartie as a reward.  When she began to use the potty regularly, we transitioned to full time PTing.  We did it on her schedule, which was comfortable for her and for us.

2. Find the best reward system for the child.


To quote an overused phrase, every child is different.  I tried only the Smartie method.  Ariana doesn’t eat much candy, so the prospect of getting several pieces a day was awesome!

Another thing that I do is change the reward depending on what she does in the potty. If she uses her toddler potty, she gets one Smartie. If she uses the big potty, she gets two.  If she goes #2, she gets an extra treat.

3. Don’t expect instant results & don’t expect every day to be the same!
For the first few days, Ariana did incredibly well.  She was thrilled by the treats, the excitement of something different, etc. On day four or so, she had her first big accident.  She panicked, but calmed down once she was in fresh panties & shorts.

When it came to nighttime, I chose to diaper her at first (though if I re-did it, I wouldn’t have bothered) because I didn’t want to deal with changing sheets and PJs in the middle of the night- it was more for me.  Selfish, I know.

Some nights she peed in her diaper, sometimes she made it to morning without a problem.  I have stopped diapering her at night & she hasn’t had an accident (knock on wood). When she needs to pee, she gets up to go.

*Update* I drafted the first half of this post late Tuesday evening, and on Wednesday night, Ariana and Harper both wet their beds. That’s what I get for typing this post ;)

4. Go with whatever works when it comes to chairs, underwear, etc.

Ariana’s first potty had a removable, cushy seat & it even has a place to hang toilet paper. It was overkill. Had we put TP on the holder, she would have spent all her on-the-potty time playing with it.  I gave the potty to a friend & when Ariana was truly ready, we bought her a plain, generic potty, which she now loves.

My mom, bless her, saved potty seats (the kind that sits on the regular toilet) from when my siblings and I were younger, and she was more than happy to pass them on for Ri to use.

I bought Ariana plain underwear, a pack of Hello Kitty undies (her favorite!) and a few pairs of lightly-padded undies, which aren’t really that useful when it comes to leaks.  She loves to pick out & put on a fresh pair of underwear every morning.

5. Potty training doesn’t take X number of days.

There are books that say you can potty train your little one in a week, three days, even one day.  I don’t think sticking to a timeframe is the best way to help little one learn something as daunting as how to ‘hold it’.  Some children just aren’t able to learn the concept as fast as others and there is nothing wrong with that. If you’ve been diapering your little one up until now, why does it matter if they are in diapers a few more days?

6. Stick to a plan that makes it easy on everyone.

For us, it was child-led potty training until we felt that Ariana was ready to PT full-time.  After that, I reminded her to use the potty every 30-60 minutes.  She in turn tells me which potty she wants to use, when it’s time to wipe and most importantly, when she needs a treat :)

Some other methods:

*Diaper-less for several days and reminding her to use the potty every 30 minutes.  Can be messy, but effective because little one feels it each time they have an accident.  It’s simple, effective, cheap and can be the quickest way to PT.  Downside would be having to shampoo or clean carpets/ floors. Doing this method outside would solve the clean up problem!

*Potty party– pick a day and declare that as of that day, diapers are no more.  You can invite friends, decorate, pack away or give away the diapers forever, etc.  The downside is that it can be a lot of pressure on your little one.

*Infant PTing/ Elimination Communication– the idea behind this is awesome because it promotes bonding between parents and their little one plus it saves on diapers.  It doesn’t allow the child the opportunity to learn what wetting and soiling a diaper are, therefore it doesn’t become a habit.  The problems: you have to stick with it until little one can independently use the potty; it’s difficult (read: nearly impossible) with working parents; constant clean up can be a hassle.  Great resource: http://www.diaperfreebaby.org/

7. Honestly, potty training is more for parents than for kids.

The whole process is more work for a parent- keeping track of how long it’s been since little one used the potty, making sure wiping is done, etc.  Whatever method you chose, be open to changing if your little one isn’t responding to it.

Hopefully something in here will help you :)

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4 thoughts on “Potty Training

  1. Congrats to you both! LOL. I remember potty training Kenna at around 2.5 too, although she wore a night time diaper until 3-ish or so. I honestly don’t remember exactly how we did it but I know it involved lots of dancing around the potty! LOL

    I’m not looking forward to PT’ing Jay in a year or so, I’m already worried about sitting or standing? HA!

    Congrats again!

    • I am envisioning the two of you dancing around this giant toilet :P I’m so glad we have two girls! If we have a boy, PTing is the thing I’m most nervous about!

      Thanks, hon :D

  2. I love your blog and the entries you publish! Ariana and Harper are both so cute! I like the pics! You have a beautiful family!

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