Thursday, March 25, 2010

Potty Training

I started introducing my daughter to the potty at 1 and 1/2 years old. She was having some bouts of urinary tract infections, which were a mystery to the doctors, so I wanted to get her out of diapers to see if that was the cause. She went a couple times by herself in the potty back then, but she was so little, she couldn't really speak and didn't understand everything I was telling her, so I kind of gave up on the issue. I wanted it to be something she did on her own.

Then, at around 26 months, I started to get really frustrated with changing diapers everyday still, so I read four books on potty-training and watched a video from my local library. In the video, which we watched together several times, it taught some super basic but helpful tips. Here are a few I remember.

1)Give the potty to your child to play with at first, not even mentioning anything about what it is for.

2)Then, when they are comfortable with the new apparatus, you show them how their toy dolls or super heroes can sit on the potty.

3)Then, after they've let their dolls play potty, you empty their diaper into the potty a few times to show them what is supposed to go in the potty. That step backfired on me. My daughter started taking off her diaper and putting her poop in the potty on her own, making a serious mess in the process. But I think it may have helped her in the long-run feel in control and involved in the potty-process.

4)Then finally, you have them sit on the potty themselves. First with their clothes on, just so they get used to the feeling of it, then just like they would be going to the potty.

Some people read their kids stories on the potties at regular times in the day, But I didn't have a super rigid schedule for my daughter at that point, so she didn't go at the same time everyday.

What worked for me was bringing the potty into the main room of the house all day at first, instead of having it locked up in the bathroom, far away from me or where my daughter was playing. That way, she always knew it was near, and if she needed to go, she could control her bladder/bowels enough to step over to the potty and go. If they have to run down the hall or up stairs when they are first getting trained, their tiny bladder-control muscles usually won't make it. Plus toddlers aren't disciplined enough to leave their play area on their own to go to the potty at first. Playing is way too fun to leave.

As my daughter got better at using her potty, I moved it back to the bathroom down the hall, but that wasn't for a few months. In the mean time, was just had a potty in our family room/kitchen.

Now it has been a few months and she never has accidents when we're out or in her bed. I contribute that much to the fact that I never forced the subject or made the potty a battle-ground. It was always there, as an option, and she started using it when she felt ready, which ended up being around her 26th month. At one point, I thought she wasn't going to be trained until she was 3 or 4, but one day I came home from my part-time job and my sister-in-law, who watched her at the time, told me that Hazel had used the potty on her own.

I hope that helps any readers who are having a hard time potty-training, are frustrated, or have just gotten in a rut. I know I felt like that a lot after my daughter turned 2. And thanks to Nisha from for inspiring me to write this potty-training story.


  1. Thanks Jill! It was very well written and informative. I'm a little bit more relaxed about the idea. See you soon!

  2. Hi Jill, Nice blog! My 32 month old is not quite potty trained yet but we don't make a fuss over it either. Using the same method you described here.
    By the way, I was very impressed with your hypnobirthing story on design mom and mentioned it in one of my posts, hope that's alright!

    -Nutmeg Girl

  3. I have a while to go before potty training, but great post and I love your blog concept!