Our Potty Training Adventure (and Tips!)

by Mama Chocolate on May 25, 2011

Let me start off by saying that I am no expert. I am still in the process of potty training our oldest, Katie, (26 months,) after about a year of gradually working on it.

While preparing for this event and reviewing the potty-training products that my wonderful sponsors are giving away to YOU now, I really buckled down with Katie, and I’m happy to report we really are almost there!



I suspect that we’re still a long way from having dry nights, thanks to the drinking-before-bed dependence we somehow let Katie develop, (how do these things happen?!) but we’re working towards it, and consistently dry days are certainly within our grasp!

Katie was excited about potty training early on, and as soon as I brought the potty seat for our toilet into the house, she wanted to use it! She wasn’t much more than a year old, and I was nervous about leaving her up on the toilet by herself. She’s an independent little gal, and if she decided to get down herself and crashed, the sharp counter corner is too close to the toilet for my comfort.

16 months old, studying deep literature on her throne

So I stayed with her every time, and she got to think it was a great time for reading books with Mama and getting me to tell her stories! She had many successes and was excited about it! We were excited too, though not at all surprised that our genius child would be 100% potty-trained by the time she was 16 months old.

Heh.

I couldn’t spend my whole life in the bathroom and Katie sometimes wanted to sit there for a very long time, so I was starting to think we should go with a potty chair instead. Then I won the The First Years 4 in 1 Potty Training System in a giveaway, (score!) so we started using a potty chair. It was safe for her to sit on alone, (she did #2′s better if she was alone and undistracted,) and we could have her in the kitchen or wherever we were sitting if needed.

The First Years 4 in 1 Potty Training System

I personally wouldn’t recommend this potty chair. Way too many cracks and crevices that make it really hard to keep clean, and the little bucket part sticks to Katie’s little bottom almost every time she stands up. This freaked her out a little at first when it would slam down when it released! Fortunately, she got over it, and learned to stand up more slowly and carefully until it released. We were lucky that it didn’t more permanently scare Katie, and I won’t be counting on this one for future children.
The other issue we came across is that Katie occasionally decides to “DUMP it!” herself! I’m very proud of what a big, independent girl she is, but pee and poo splashed around the bathroom doesn’t foster benevolent feelings.

I bought a white BABYBJÖRN Little Potty to have as an extra and also as a travel option. This potty chair is cheap, ($11.59 for the white or blue options, $14.95 for the Red or Pink options,) and best of all easy to clean. Not a single seam or crevice to worry about. It’s easy to rinse and/or wipe out with one sweep instead of having to get out a scrub brush like I do with the other one.

BABYBJÖRN Little Potty

It is a little low, so my tall girl has a long ways to get down there, and it tends to slide around on the vinyl as she tries to back up onto it. (Although our potty mat from Fresh 1 Blankies is helping that! Giveaway coming!) Since Katie is fine with the other one now, we mostly keep this one in the car for traveling.

Katie learned right away to consisitently do her #2′s in the potty, and I’ve only had to change her wet diapers for almost a year now, (with a few exceptions, usually related to her being sick.) This has probably been worth the trouble that we’ve gone to this whole time…toddler poo is just. not. fun.

When I tried to start switching Katie to training pants, I made the mistake of using training pants that were too absorbent. I don’t think she could tell the difference between them and diapers.

The couch and I knew the difference. *sigh*

I got frustrated and sort of gave up for awhile. We still let her sit on the potty whenever she wanted, (which was often,) but we still had to keep her in diapers to be safe.

I made Katie a nightgown and got her some two piece pajamas and ditched the pain-in-the-rear adorable footie-jammies to make it easier to get her to use the potty around bedtime or if she woke up in the middle of the night.

I made the nightgown out of the old nightgown I was wearing when she pooped ALL over me during the first hour of her life…somehow fitting, don’t you think?

Finally, I recently took the plunge and bought Katie some panties, (princess, of course,) and got some less absorbent training pants, (like the Little Beetle and Super Skivvies.)
I’ve cleaned up a lot of puddles since then, but we’re having more and more success as each day goes by!
In fact today, we had only ONE accident, and we were grocery shopping all morning and spent the whole evening at Grandpa and Grandma’s house! Woo hoo!

I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say I regret how we’ve done it with Katie, but I do have plans for a few changes I’d like to try next time around to make the process speedier! (After a few more kids, I’ll be an expert, right? Right?)

I plan to…

  • Wait until we’re both ready to do it. For reals.
  • Use more of a “boot-camp” approach – I’d like to move from diapers to strictly underwear, (and hopefully only the very rare accident) with in a two-week time frame.
  • Stay away from training pants that are too absorbent.
  • Start during warm weather, (so we can be outside more during the weeks of puddle-danger) Hopefully this coincides well with the “we’re both ready” part. Victoria will be about 18 months next summer and 2.5 the next summer.
  • We will not be forming the habit of drinks at night time! I will not be letting Victoria have bottles at bedtime. Ever.
Are you having potty training struggles? Do you have a magic method or some advice?
Please share in the comments! 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

bluepolarbear May 25, 2011 at 9:49 am

I found you on homemaking link up! My son showed readiness at 22 months and then flat out refused to wear a diaper one day so we went straight to undies. For 3 days He wore them all the time except at night even though he was waking dry I was wary.

Then on day 4 he made it clear he wasn't ready and wasn't wanting to use the potty because he'd have to stop what he was doing.

We are in diapers now and he still uses the potty now and again. I'm hoping he will change his mind soon. I thought of buying trainers but just didn't want to shell out the money (we also cloth diaper) on too many. So we currently have 3 that I bought used.

Good luck on your process and I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

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Jessica May 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

We started potty training when my daughter was 2 – I bought her a potty as a bday present! lol. We did the 3 day method – naked naked! Thankfully it was summer time and we just wore dresses or hung out in the backyard next to the baby pool. It took 3 months until she could wear panties without wetting. Now she's almost 3 and we've only had 1 accident during an outing, and maybe 6-8 night time accidents. I feel like I got lucky!

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Jessica May 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm

OH! And the greatest advice NO ONE ever gave me: puppy potty traning mats are your best friend! Put one in the car seat during road trips to save your car seat (what a PIA having to wash your car seat cover), and stick one in your purse in case they have an accident in store (they fold up so small!). Instantly cleans up a puddle! I had to learn the hard way when my daughter made a HUGE puddle in the middle of Wally world and I couldn't find someone to help me clean it up or paper towels within reach without leaving the puddle. That was her only accident. But I sure could have used those puppy pads when she threw up in her car seat this weekend.

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Multi-Testing Mommy November 24, 2011 at 7:08 am

We are currently crossing our fingers that ds3 will be ready to train soon! We tried for a whole month in September and we lost :(
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Susie B. Homemaker November 25, 2011 at 11:31 pm

We have 2 kids potty trained and 1 more to go! lol All of them have been different so far tho’- for my oldest putting her in big girl panties did the trick, my middle child just had to do it in her own time (her 3rd bday was the magic time for her to just ‘get it’, and our youngest is now 2 and beginning to go more and more on the potty but is still in diapers for now.
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