Running from the Law: Preparing for Potty Training

Monday, September 8, 2014

Preparing for Potty Training

Well friends, it's about that time.  I guess I'm officially adopting the title of "mommy blogger" with this post and there's no going back.  I was sure that I'd never be one of those moms that talks so openly about my kid's private bathroom activities, but here I am...destined to embarrass him for all eternity with this post.  Part of me is horrified, but really, I knew this day was coming.  I've gone to the dark side, folks.  There's no going back now.

So, yeah.  Potty training time 'tis nearly upon us.  We've been talking about potty training Mac for a while now.  When he was about 18 months he started showing some interest in peeing in the potty. We knew he was too young to seriously start potty training, but we figured it couldn't hurt to get one of those little potties to put in the bathroom and let him use it whenever he wanted.  Occasionally he'd go in it - usually right before bath time when he was in there and saw it.  That lasted a few months, the novelty wore off and he really didn't care about using the potty anymore until about a month ago.
As much as I sometimes dread Mac growing up and becoming so independent, this is one area I'm actually excited for him to master.  I'm SO over diapers these days.  However, he just turned two years old, so we know that he's not quite yet ready to seriously begin potty training.  Some kids may be ready to start potty training at this age, but we're not quite there and he tells us he's not ready.  With the new baby, me at home on maternity leave and all the changes we've gone through this summer, I think we'll probably wait another 4-6 months before we "officially" have the time and energy to begin potty training boot camp.  However, that doesn't mean that we're not already working on getting him prepared and thinking about it.  There are definitely things we can do now to help us out in the future. 

Right now, we're working on getting him to realize that he has to go potty and tell us about it.  We talk to him about it throughout the day and try to get him to recognize the signals that he has to go.  As a boy, he has zero qualms talking about pee and poop (which he finds hilarious), so that's going well.  We also got a seat that goes on the big potty and a step stool, so he can get up on the toilet himself and use the real deal, like we do.  Apparently that's a big deal to him.  He definitely does not want to use the "baby potty" any more.  We encourage him to use the "big potty" throughout the day and sometimes he'll take us up on it and sometimes he wants nothing to do with it.  
However, when he does want to go, he insists on doing everything himself...which includes taking all his clothes and diaper off (even if it's not wet).  So, recently we started trying him out in Pull-Ups.  The Pull-Ups are great because he can take them off and on by himself.  Well, he takes them off himself - they don't always make it back on before he does a lap or two around the house stark nakey, which he also thinks is hilarious.  Toddlers are very easily amused. These Pull-Ups have Jake and the Neverland Pirates on them and he loves to look at them and say "Look mama, Jake!"
I'm also preparing myself for what to do when it's officially time to begin potty training.  I know a lot of other bloggers have had a lot of luck with the 3-day training method, which I intend to check out.  I've also signed up for Pull-Ups Big Kid Academy, which has a ton of really great information on potty training.  There's a great article on "How to Tell if Your Child is Ready for Potty Training" and another called "Potty Training for the Working Parent" that immediately piqued my interest.  Other topics include things like: how to talk to day care providers about potty training, the best clothing for potty training, solutions for nighttime and how to potty train on the go.  If you've got a kid anywhere close to potty-training age, definitely check out the Big Kid Academy.
So even though we aren't fully into training yet, I've done quite a bit of reading on the subject and wanted to share my top 5 tips for potty training a boy:

1. Wait until you know he's ready.  This is where we are.  We know our kid well enough to know that he's not quite ready for full-on potty training.  He's interested in the potty, but not enough.  More often than not he'll say no when you ask if he wants to use the potty.  He has no interest in wearing "boy boy undies" and is not overly uncomfortable in a wet diaper.  In this regard, Mim is probably closer to potty training than Mac - she can't go 5 minutes in a wet diaper.

2.  Offer incentives.  In this case, bribery works!  Use whatever your child is interested in as a token of good work on potty training, whether it be a piece of candy, a sticker, pennies, a matchbox car, an army man or just a lot of clapping and praise.  You know what your child responds to.  Reward your child not only for potty training successes, but also for trying.
3. Make it fun.  I think this is particularly appropriate and easy to do for boys.  My mother-in-law raised two boys and suggests putting something in the toilet for your little boy to "aim" at, to avoid accidents and keep them from making messes.  She suggested a Cheerio for them to use as a target.  Also, she said that boys love peeing outside, so feel free to let them skip the potty occasionally and take their business outside in the bushes or on a tree.  Be one with nature!

4. Prepare in advance.  We're doing this now, well before we're ready to move on to actual potty training.  As I mentioned, we have a potty seat and let him use it whenever he wants.  We have a few books related to going potty that we read at bedtime.  We've watched the Daniel Tiger potty episode (and every other episode) at least a dozen times.  And we even have a few apps that talk about potty time.

5. Be patient.  I'm including this one for my own sake - I'm sure I will need a reminder of this continuously once we make the decision to start potty training.  I'm going to write it in lipstick on the bathroom mirror in giant letters when the day comes.  Keep calm and carry a giant spray bottle of carpet cleaner.

What are your favorite potty training tips?
Have you tried the Big Kid Academy?

** Thanks to Pull-Ups for sponsoring today's discussion.  For more potty training advice and activities, check out the Big Kid Academy


  1. Ok so here's my inappropriately long comment.

    Both girls would sit on the potty before bathtime starting a little after a year. Julia mastered going in it pretty quickly, but Lana was hit or miss until she was about 2.

    1. J trained at 31 months. She woke up one day and decided she wanted to wear underwear. Pee training went pretty quickly as she had already mastered the mechanics of going on command. We were fine as long as we sat her on the potty at regular intervals, but we fumbled along trying to get her to tell us BEFORE she had to go. Took maybe 5-7 days for her to get it down. Took an additional week for her to feel comfortable going #2 on the potty. That was a bigger issue - she was very comfortable going in her diaper and couldn't seem to relax on the potty. She had no issues going from underwear during the day to diapers at nap and night. At almost 4, she recently transitioned on her own to underwear for naps, but has told me she wants to wait until she's a little older to do underwear overnight (lol). She wakes up with a full diaper in the morning.

    2. Lana trained at 26 months. We had a 3-day weekend and she was interested enough in the potty that we decided to just go for it. We just told her on Saturday morning that she was wearing underwear now and put it on her. We were very hands-off. We'd put her on the potty before leaving the house and before sleeping, but that's it. She'd wet or dirty her underwear, we'd go, "Oh yucky, no that goes in the potty!" and clean up. Halfway through day two, she was coming to us on her own telling us she had to go. Day 3 was accident free. She had maybe 3 or 4 more accidents the next two weeks, but has been accident free for months now. I was shocked because she wasn't acting super ready or super interested in the process. Our big problem was that she couldn't distinguish between going in the potty during the day but also it being ok to go in her diaper at nap and night. For awhile she was waking up a LOT, calling for the potty. Eventually she just started to stay dry. She's 100% dry over naps and probably 95% dry overnight now. Still in a diaper because I don't want to deal with wet sheets in the dark though.

    So there's that, for what all that's worth. :) Every kid is different! I think you're right to not push things, and honestly, I think a diapered kid is easier than a kid in the first month of potty training.

  2. Oh man. I am SO not ready to do this again!!!! Truman rocked our faces off with potty training when he was 27 months. WAY too easy. Cecelia is going to make me sweat through the whole thing, I just know it. GO MAC!!!!!!

  3. My little boy is turning 2 in a few days and is so not ready. Thanks for all the advice on what we can start discussing with him! Can't wait for more advice on the topic, thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Thanks for sharing!! We're in a similar position - working-mom, two year old boy and about to have baby #2 (girl!) so I appreciate your insight. :) We've had him on the potty since 18 months and he definitely gets it and knows what to do, but I don't think he's quite ready yet either. Plus with bringing home baby, I'd rather not regress majorly, so we're just going to wait til we all get settled and maybe give it a full-blown try then. Keep us updated? :) Thanks again!!

  5. Girl... you and me both. I know Mason is not ready and I haven't even tried. Plus the idea of potty training a boy scares the cr*p out of me. Definitely going to be checking out that working moms post!

  6. My son is 2 months shy of 4 years old and shows no real intent on wanting to potty train my husband and I are worried he will want to train, what should we do?

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  8. Great article.. Thanks for sharing this with us.. Really helpful for me. My son is getting ready to be a year and a half and I was thinking about going to get a potty seat just for him. His older brother is 6 and he always follows him into the bathroom. so I guess it's time to at least give it a try. potty training in 3 days