Potty Training Bootcamp 101

Wednesday , 7, November 2012 5 Comments

Guess what?

Little Brother is officially potty trained!

I know, I didn”t think it would happen for another 3 years either. I”d heard stories about how boys are harder to train than girls, and I admit I was nervous-Big Sister was potty trained right at 2, so I really did not want to have a kid in diapers until 3 or later. I know it”s selfish and each kid does it on their own time, but I had been hoping and praying that Brother”s time would coincide with sometime this fall, because he outgrew his cloth diapers a couple of months ago. I did the math, and I knew it wouldn”t be worth the money spent on the next size up cloth diaper if he was trained by the end of the year. So, we switched to disposable for a while, and I have to admit, it was nice to not worry about diaper laundry for a change!

With Big Sister, we had great success with the “3 day potty training method.” There are many versions out there, so I brushed up on my training skills and got to work. It”s important to note here that I did NOT start until Brother was showing signs of readiness. I”m sure it looks different for each kid, but in this house, it looks a lot like locking yourself in your bedroom and hiding while you poop.

Here”s our story and some tips I”ve found helpful along the way:

1. Be Prepared and Save the Date!

First, get your supplies. You”ll need a small toddler potty-but get one that turns into a stool later, because once your kid gets the hang of knowing to go on command, you”re not going to want to be cleaning out a toddler potty. You”ll also need a potty seat to attach to the regular toilet. A friend gave us a clip-on urinal, too, which was nice for the few days after he learned how to go but before I realized we should just let him stand on said potty stool. The less clean up, the better, in my opinion! Also get whatever reward you think your kid will respond to best-for Big Sister, it was a sticker chart, but Little Brother”s reward was 1-2 m&m”s each time he went, and gum for #2. More on that in a second, though. You”ll also need other random snacks-even ones you might not usually let them have-that will keep them thirsty. Let”s just say I wasn”t above sneaking Little Brother sips of coffee to keep his bladder full.

The second most important thing? Pick a few casino pa natet days where you have no real obligations but when you also have someone who is able to help you, because the second Mama has to go to the bathroom herself is the exact second your kid is going to pee all over themselves. My husband had a few days off earlier in October, so we picked that Monday to start.

2. Go, go, go!

The first day, I sat him down every 15 minutes. Then every 30. Once they “get it” (for Brother it took 2 days for it to click) you are probably safe to go every hour. He was afraid to go #2, so I negotiated that he could have gum if he went in the toilet. I”ll be honest-#2 took a few more days-we started on a Monday and by Sunday he would willingly go on the toilet vs. holding it until he couldn”t go anymore, and then go in his underwear. He also WOULD go on the toilet but wasn”t fond of it, and the last thing you want is a kid crying on the toilet-remember, you want this to be fun for them, not something that is going to fill them with anxiety. For each time he went-#1 or #2-you would have thought we were celebrating someone winning an Academy Award. Clapping, cheering, and calling grandparents to all brag were all things that positively reinforced potty training.

3. Take a break if you need one

Here”s where my own personal version of the 3 day method differs. I say, if you need to use a diaper for naps or bedtime, then use a diaper! I found potty training to be mentally exhausting and looked forward to the small break I got. Big Sister took another few months to be nighttime trained, but Little Brother seems to hold it better (or wakes up at 2am to ask to go pee, ahem) and in fact, last night he stayed dry in his undies all night. But don”t feel like you aren”t “doing it right” if you don”t follow this method to the T. Sometimes I still get up to pee in the middle of the night-I certainly wasn”t going to expect my 2 year old daughter to stay dry for 12 hours.

4. Once you get going, make it simple!

Sure, all the cool potty accessories make it fun. But that isn”t real life. We still have the potty seat, but no longer use the urinal or toddler potty. Brother got a taste of peeing standing up by peeing outside in the driveway (Hey, gotta make it fun, remember?) so by now he is an old pro.

So, that”s it! Brother still has about 1 accident a week but those have mostly been my fault in forgetting to take him. He tells me he has to go but toddlers get busy and forget, too. While I am a little sad that our diaper days-especially our cloth diaper days-are behind us, I have to admit he sure is cute running around in Lightning McQueen underwear! In fact, I think I”ll go pinch his little hiney right now.

Have you braved potty training yet? How was your experience?



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  • Denise says:

    You have inspired me to start on Olivia! I tried about a month before she turned two thinking she would be potty trainedby her second birthday but that was a BIG fail! So now let’s have another go! Thanks!!

  • Wendy says:

    Great job, sounds like it went really well!

  • Jamie Wyatt says:

    Great job! I felt like I’d gotten a “raise” when I wasn’t buying diapers anymore! I did cloth with my daughter, but my son leaked all the time in cloth, so we went to disposable. My daughter’s reward was one piece from a 32 piece (or some number I can’t remember) farm set. We saved the ponies–her favorites–for last! My son loved aiming at paper targets. He liked M&M’s, too! (PS–At 22, he still pees outside! LOL! I had to tell him to tell his friends they shouldn’t pee by my kitchen window! LOL!)

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