This post is all about how I am successfully potty training my 21 month old son.
We recently joined the new library that just opened up near our house. It’s REALLY cool and super kid friendly so we have been going with some regularity lately. The first time I checked out books I stumbled across one called “Oh, Crap! Potty Training”. I love a catchy title and of course that one stuck out to me, so I picked it up.
It says something about my priorities in life that “OCPT” is the first book I’ve read in over a year.
Seriously. The last book I tried to read was “The Cursed Child” by JK Rowling. This was last fall and the only time I read it was in the evenings before bed, but only because our power was out and stayed out for a week so there was no TV to fall asleep to. I didn’t even finish it!
I checked the book out on Friday and finished it before the end of the day on Sunday. It was a great read and inspired me to dive in to the world of potty training.
The woman who wrote the book makes a living potty training kids, so she knows a thing or two. She said that the best age to potty train is between 20-30 months. She also mentioned the rumor that ‘boys are harder to train’ is a load of baloney. The two things I was most concerned about (age, gender) were addressed and my confidence soared.
The book inspired me so much that I decided to start our potty training journey the following week.
I prepared myself and our home for the journey ahead. I bought supplies, and I warned Leopold that soon we wouldn’t be wearing diapers anymore. I’m still working with him on getting his pants up and down. Baby steps.
If you are considering potty training your toddler, I highly encourage that you read this book! I read about the ‘three day method’ on Pinterest and while that’s great for a lot of people, I didn’t want to put that pressure on us. I am home with him anyway, we didn’t have much going on for a while, so there was nothing to lose by taking it slow. This book works in ‘Blocks’ that can take as long as you and your child need them to. There is also a wonderful support group on Facebook for people who read the book! I love a good Facebook group so it helped me immensely.
Here is a list of the supplies I had on hand when it was officially potty training time.
- Potties- I bought an IKEA potty over a year ago (our IKEA is 1.5 hours away so I stock up when I’m there) and that one stays in Leopold’s bathroom. I got the one in the photo at Walmart to keep downstairs. In the first ‘block’ or the first two-three days I kept it wherever we were. That way if he started to pee I could quickly transfer him to the toilet. I was gifted a Potette to review and we have been taking that everywhere with us because it fits PERFECTLY in his Olive Kids backpack that goes where we go. I’ll talk more about the Potette later in the post!
- Solo cups– this was a *pro tip* in the book that suggested keeping a few of these around in case you weren’t by a potty and pee started happening. I tried to get him to use one a couple of times but he is pretty effective with cutting off the flow mid pee and we can usually make it to the potty for the rest of the pee.
- Potty Books– Everyone needs a little boost of inspiration, right? I read a potty training book, and so did Leopold! We went to the library and scooped up as many as we could find. Our favorites are “A potty for me” which is our book anyway, and Leopold really liked “Dinosaur VS. the Potty”.
- Shorts– I went to Once Upon a Child and got a bunch of their clearance shorts. They aren’t exactly the NICEST but that’s perfect when you know they will get eliminated on anyway. I tried to get sizes that were 2 and 3T so that they were a little big so he could practice getting them up and down easier. So far it hasn’t made much difference.
- Underwear- We didn’t start wearing underwear until about 2.5 weeks in. He was naked the first 3 or 4 days. He still does naked days a lot. It’s so hot out and it’s just easier since he can get himself on the potty that way. When we finally started putting underwear on he did just fine. Since underwear are generally a bit tight, they can trigger muscle memory of diaper wearing and cause more accidents. So if you have your toddler in underwear and they are having a lot of accidents, try letting them go commando for a while!
- M&M’s and Alcohol– These were for me. Honestly between my husband and myself, we finished the M&M’s before we even started potty training. I can’t resist a bag of crispy M&M’s. You’re going to want a beer or a glass of wine at the end of the day. Or a big ole piece of chocolate if alcohol isn’t your thing.
I’m going to try not to make this post into a book, so here is my general breakdown of how the last month has been for us.
Days 1-3- This period of time is probably the most challenging.
The goal here is for your child to realize what is happening when they pee instead of just peeing whenever they want to because they are wearing a diaper. Their diaper is like a ‘security blanket’. They have had it all of their lives!
For us, I let Leopold run around naked and I pretty much followed him around with his potty, watching for him to start to pee. This was SO STRESSFUL for me and for him. I would advice not being too ‘up in their business’. Lesson learned. He is a really independent kid who enjoys sitting by himself and playing for a while. Having me two inches away all day every day was hard on both of us.
*Here’s a tip: put your Pinterest hat on and prepare some activities for the first few days so you don’t go INSANE sitting home all day watching your naked toddler and waiting for pee. We got SUPER creative with trash we had on hand. If you visit my Facebook page you can find some of the activities we did.
After day two, when he fought me about going potty and I felt like I was asking him to go every five seconds, we re grouped. I laid in my bed during nap time and cried out of sheer frustration. Was I doing this too soon? Am I CRAZY??? But we had already started and I KNEW he was capable of becoming potty trained. I did not want to wait until he was three years old. No sir.
So I thought about what I could be doing differently and I decided to back off. I still watched him fairly closely but I wasn’t telling him to sit on his potty every five minutes. I would have him sit and pee and then wait 30-45 minutes and have him sit again.
Another tip: Don’t ASK. Tell them to sit on the potty. Make it part of regular life. “We are going to eat lunch, go potty, then go to the park”.
After these grueling first few days, things calmed down. I didn’t want to pull my hair out and Leopold began to be less annoyed with me since I wasn’t hovering. So if you are in the first few days, It will be okay, I promise. Things will get easier and your toddler WILL figure it out. It’s important that you are confident in their ability and that you know they can do it. If you are doubtful and anxious and stressed out, they will feed off that energy and you won’t get anywhere.
We didn’t plan to use ‘rewards’ or sticker charts because I knew he could get it done without being bribed, and I think a sticker chart concept would be lost on him. After it’s said and done, I have given him mini marshmallows if I remember. We do one for pee, two for poop.
My sister gave us her old iPhone so that we could face time with family, and he uses that to watch his favorite channel ‘Genevieve’s playhouse’ on you tube. He calls it his ‘car show’ and that helps him to sit for longer than five seconds. Since we lost the remote for our living room, it’s really the only ‘screen time’ he gets these days.
Days 4-10 (or so)-It’s getting easier, but don’t let your guard down. Now we are in the ‘commando’ phase.
This chunk of time is when we started trying shorts. I learned his ‘tell’ (he will grab his crotch when he starts to get that feeling/he puts his hand on his butt when he has to poop) and luckily I usually have a minute or two to get him to the potty after he starts signaling he has to go.
I still had to watch him closely and look for his potty signs but I was able to actually get things done in between pees. Yes, we had accidents, but they do happen. That isn’t a reason to give up!
We have been really lucky that he hasn’t had any constipation problems, because that tends to be an issue for a lot of people from what I’ve seen. I was nervous about this so I started giving him a little watered down apple juice first thing in the morning. I’ve heard a lot of people say apple juice works best for poop problems. Leopold is a great pooper though! He will go 2-4 times a day if we are home and sitting on the potty a lot. He gets the poop in the potty 9 times out of 10 and in the last month we have maybe had 3 poop on the floor incidents. To me, those numbers aren’t discouraging!
Usually this is the period of time when people start going out in public.
We waited probably a little longer than we needed to but I just wasn’t ready. It’s suggested to start by going on a walk or just to the park for 15 minutes before going home, then build up to longer periods of time.
Days 11-forever- Once you start getting out and stressing less.
These days are simply how WE did it. They will be different for everyone.
We got invited to lunch by my mother in law and he peed right before we left. Lunch was at Firehouse and at the end I took him to the potty but didn’t have any luck. Our Potette hadn’t arrived at that point and he was a little freaked out by the huge public potties. I sat him on his potty in the car and jammed to some tunes but he still wasn’t ready to pee. After a quick trip to Target for more “night time diapers” as we call then (not planning to night train just yet) we tried their public potties. Nope. Not impressed there either.
This is also when we tried underwear. He has done pretty well with them which is nice! We were gifted these awesome underwear from Zoocchini and we have some Mickey ones too. I say “Don’t pee on Mickey”! Our Zoocchini undies are organic and soft, with a little extra padding in case of an accident. Not to mention they are CUTE!
I was the mom on her knees on the gross bathroom floor, hugging my toddler and singing the ABC’s with him. I’m sure the others in the bathroom were rather amused.
Once we got back to the car he finally peed in his little potty and I was SO relieved. We went home and I breathed a sigh of relief. We did it. I took Leopold out in public and he didn’t pee on anything, poop in his pants, or cause a scene. It was a success and I felt like we could go back to living our normal lives again!
We even went to the zoo that night for a movie on the lawn! He did have an accident there, but he also used his ninja turtles potty insert there and peed on the big potty. So it wasn’t a total loss, and it helped me realize that even when he does have an accident in public, it’s not a big deal. Just bring a few changes of clothes. For both of you.
We were gifted this amazing Potette to review and all opinions are my own!
I am in the official “OCPT” Facebook group and a lot of the parents were always raving about this ‘Potette’ I had to find out some more! The lovely folks at Potette offered to send me one to review and it is seriously SO. GREAT.
It’s really small, so it’s very easy for your child to sit themselves down on it, and I feel like it encourages pooping since they are so low to the ground and can get their knees up if they need to.
I love how you can use it in many different ways. The legs fold up neatly for storage and travel. It fits PERFECTLY into our Olive Kids backpack, which I love. Before I got the Potette I was carrying his ninja turtles insert around in a Target bag. Awkward.
If you want to use it in the car, or like us, in a field, you can click the legs in and use it as a regular potty. It comes with a couple of special bags that have an absorbent square at the bottom (think ‘pee pad’) so you can easily throw out any pee or poop after the fact.
They also sent me the silicone insert for use at home (or on the go if you feel like rinsing it out).
Last Friday Leopold and I decided to try out story time at our new library. Halfway through in the middle of a song, my big boy turned to me and whispered “Pee pee on the potty” So I whisked him up and grabbed our bag and we ran to the potty. He peed on me just a little in the mad hustle of things, but just a little bit. We got in the bathroom, I pulled out our Potette and extended the legs and put it right on top of the potty. Once he got on the potty he finished peeing! I was SO proud that he told me and was able to hold the rest of his pee long enough to get in the bathroom. The Potette was so easy and quick to maneuver that we didn’t have too much mess on our hands!
Pro Tip* Keep post it notes with you at all time to cover the sensor up on public potties. Nothing like a toilet flushing loudly while you’re trying to pee. It’s a great way to scar you for life, am I right??
So the hype from my potty training group was true. The Potette is amazing for travel, home, and anything in between.
Some things I now find myself saying frequently:
“I see that you need to pee. Let’s go sit on the potty”
“Push your penis down”
“Put your penis down”
“No, don’t put your goldfish in the potty”
“I’m going to go in my room for a moment, if you feel like you need to pee, go sit on the potty”
“Don’t pee on my bed”
“Don’t poop on the floor”
“Let me hear you pee”
“Make sure you get all the pee out”
“Bye-Bye Peepee! Bye bye poop!”
“Don’t pee on me!”
“Get your hands out of there”
Our potty training journey is far from over, but there is SO much progress and I’m so proud of my boy! As far as night training goes, we will probably start that once he is in a toddler bed and knows how to get his pants on and off by himself. So for now he is still in ‘night time diapers’.
What is your BEST potty training tip?? Do you have a favorite potty training MUST HAVE? Let me know in the comments!