View Full Version : Potty Training Tips

08-23-2008, 07:37 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm currently working on an article about When your child is ready to start potty training. I'm pitching the idea to Parents Magazine. I'm looking for a few quotes from moms who have potty trained boys and girls and what made it a great success. Any tips that could help another mother or father to help potty train their child.

Thanks everyone!

08-23-2008, 07:49 PM
I have a son. He loved to hit the targets in the bowl. That got him running to the toilet constantly to pee. But, he would only pee if a target was there. So, not so great for us (but I heard it works well for others).

What worked for us in potty training and took only one day:

My son was at sitters with ten pair of big boy undies. He was allowed to run around outside with a T-shirt and undies on while playing. It was not cold day, but it was not 80 degrees either. Two passes at peeing his undies in the breeze and he was cured of wetting his pants. He definitely did not like the feel of coolness on his wet undies/privates. After I did this, my sister tried for her son and it worked for her son also.

08-24-2008, 12:41 AM
Pet Peeve

I'm a retired Urologist who has seen people have inflicted upon them by their parents, terrible, life threatening damage from overzealous potty training. A child is a person and not a statistic. Everyone reaches certain milestones at their own age. Having your child "potty trained" by age X does not make the parent a better person. It is largely a matter of luck if a child naturally learns and conforms to social norms earlier than usual. Forcing a child to learn to "Pee on Demand" has resulted in a subset of the population who are urinating against a closed external sphincter. This increases the urinating bladder pressure. Like Blood Pressure, there is a Bladder pressure that is too high, and learning to never relax the sphincter can result in a child who as an adult, unnecessarily winds up on the dialysis list.

08-24-2008, 12:26 PM
Best way to do it is to let the child decide for himself when he's ready. There are few adults around who still wet their pants regularly LOL Yes, you can force your child to pee in a potty if you really want to, but I could never understand the constant running around trying to catch the right moment, machine-loads of soggy, smelly clothes and the constant stress that parents put themselves under in the race to be able to say 'My child is potty-trained'. Why not wait and let it all happy in its own time with no mess, no stress and no confused children?

For your article, I'd stress that the best tip is to stay away from these 'training pants' (which should be banned). If every there was a product which gave mixed messages ...

My four kids all sorted themselves out well before primary school (ages 3 and 4). I never owned a potty. They went straight to the toilet. Table tennis ball in the bowl worked best for me when it came to teaching 'aim' (don't tell but my husband secretly had fun with that, too - I'm sure he did!!!! LOL)

Hope this helps. Summer time, warm weather and running round in 'nothings' was very helpful, too


08-24-2008, 06:31 PM
Hello everyone,

I just wanted to thank you all for your post. They are all very helpful. :)

Ol' Fashioned Girl
08-24-2008, 06:37 PM
Don't EVER use running water to toilet train. My mother swore by the technique and to this day, my siblings and I cannot bear the sound of running water (decorative fountain, anyone?) without instantly needing to go pee!

A friend of mine potty trained her son by having him sink Cheerios. ;)

08-24-2008, 10:29 PM
I have potty trained 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls.

You cannot make a child go potty. Wait until they are ready! Often they will be ready for daytime training, but staying dry through the night takes much longer.

I also use shameless bribery. Right now my 2 yo is *almost* finished training. I have aPez dispenser with a character she likes, that I keep in my pocket (instant gratification, she doesn't have to wait for me to get a treat/reward from another room.) First, I gave her a Pez whenever she SAT on the potty. After she mastered that, she gets a treat for GOING on the potty. Once she mastered #1, now she only gets a treat for #2.

Take potty training in stages - first comes going into the bathroom when one feels the urge; next comes sitting/using the toilet without prompting; next comes being able to leave the house wearing underwear/using public restrooms, and finally staying dry all night and in many places. These goals aren't all acheived at the same time or overnight.

08-24-2008, 10:39 PM
My kids all basically potty trained themselves. I stuck a potty chair in the bathroom, and eventually they all just sat on it and used it.

The only problem we had was with my son, who went through an issue with constipation and refused to poop in the potty. He'd poop in his pants, and then go to the bathroom. We started rewarding him every time he used the potty instead.

The twins were about six before they realized that M&Ms are not actually called "Poop Candy".

Juliette Wade
08-26-2008, 06:37 PM
My only addition to the discussion would be that parents should be attentive to the child's readiness, and follow along with their motivation as much as possible. Individuals can have very different trajectories toward the same goal. And training diapers just keep sending the message that kids can go whenever they want to, so I agree in thinking they don't serve potty-training parents well.

08-26-2008, 06:57 PM
The training pants were great for nighttime during daytime potty training and relieved the stress on all of us.

This was back in 1988, mind you, but my daughter did really well with daytime potty training (we used the "penny for a gumball" reward system to great effect), but she'd stress about getting up and going at night that she'd sleepwalk, not be able to find the bathroom and just squat wherever she was. This was far more distressing than merely having a wet bed. And when she didn't sleepwalk and wet the bed, she'd get so ashamed and upset that we'd have a set-back in the daytime potty usage.

Once I introduced her to the concept of nighttime protection, she relaxed and slept through the night and we had no more set-backs. After a couple of months, she told me she didn't need the "night diapers" anymore and was fine.

When I potty trained my son two-three years later, we did the same thing and he also informed me when it was time to stop.

08-26-2008, 07:10 PM
They'll use the potty when they're ready. Our sons were almost starting school (K4) when they finally decided they were ready. We tried everything to get them to go potty, from videos, to books, to psychological tricks, nothing worked, until one day they came out saying, "I went potty."

08-26-2008, 07:59 PM
Ha! Poop candy. That was the reward I used for my twin half-sisters. (They're much younger than I am and because of various family "problems" I had custody of them from ages 2-8.)

The other trick we used was to let them go naked. It was the heat of summer and we lived out in the boonies, so they just went naked, which completely eliminates the possibility of going in their pants. Then it was more like house-training a puppy. They preferred going outside!! But come winter, they were happy to transfer to the toilet.

Okay, reading that, I feel like a total freak! Oh well. It worked.

The twins were about six before they realized that M&Ms are not actually called "Poop Candy".

08-26-2008, 10:11 PM
I never did any of the "cute" things; when I thought they might be ready, I removed the "pull ups". On my twin girls, they were trained within 3 days because they did not like having wet or dirty pants. My son wasn't ready the first time I tried so we went back to pull-ups and about six months later, tried again and had success!

That's the same basic, old-fashioned way that my siblings and I were trained.

I also didn't try to train the kids at 18 months; I waited until about age 2 and a half to even try.