Home > Parenting > Oh Poop! Potty Training Tips & Ideas

Oh Poop! Potty Training Tips & Ideas

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

What’s worse than unsolicited advice? Unsolicited advice from someone who has no idea what they’re talking about. Yup, that’s today’s post: a dad whose daughter isn’t yet potty trained giving you tips and ideas. I realize this is akin to a trainer with love handles and moobs telling you what to eat and how to workout or a mom with a kid on a leash telling you how to control your child, but since this post will probably be on page 200 of a ‘potty training’ Google search, I’m sure those who got to this page are pretty desperate. So if that’s you or you like reading about poop (what parents don’t like a good poop story?), read on.

For those that got here through a Google search, I’m guessing the first 1999 page results didn’t work and potty training has literally been crappy, so here’s a trippy video to cheer you up (note: it’s called Singing Poop so don’t watch it if you’re grossed out by poop). And yes, it’s a Korean video – I’m not sure whether I should be ashamed or proud – and that word ‘unga’ you keep hearing is the sound adults make to help their kids go poop: Uuuuunnnnnnggggggaaaaa!

I won’t translate the whole thing for you, but at 0:39 with the watermelon in the background, they are singing, “Did you eat watermelon? Confirm it! Chocolate Chip Cookie!” And you thought Japanese people were weird.

Now on to the potty training advice.

Make sure your child is ready

Forget that you know someone whose kid was potty trained within a week – ok, that doesn’t happen, but I do know someone who proudly proclaimed that their kid peed and pooped in the toilet around 2 months. Brafreakingvo. “How’s the air up on that high horse? Good? That’s great!” Well, that’s what I wanted to say, but what I actually said was, “Wait, since the kid can’t move, don’t you have to carry him to the bathroom anyway?” To which she responded, “I don’t have to buy diapers, nyah nyah!” Well played. Well played. So yeah, as with all things in parenting, there’s always some kid that’s ahead of your kid and their parent will ask, “Wait. Your kid isn’t doing that yet?” Best thing to do is flip them off and move on.

D1 was pretty fast with all of her milestones, especially for speaking, so since she was able to communicate with us with words around age 1, everyone else figured she’d be potty trained in a snap. Wrong. She’s been able to communicate that she needs to pee and poop for more than a year now but she’s been happily doing so in her diaper.

So how do you know they’re ready?

  1. Awareness – if your kid is happily playing and then you *sniff sniff* and ask, “Did you poop?” or you think you should change their diaper because it’s been a while only to find that that bad boy has been soiled to the point where it drips when you pick it up later, then your kid is probably not ready. If your kid makes little movements or shows other signals that he/she is aware that they are about to poop or pee, then you’re getting close.
  2. If you find your kid is walking around the house sans diaper and then you find a diaper with turds on it, first inspect all places that child walked to ensure she didn’t leave skid marks. Also, she’s probably ready.
  3. When you get them in the morning, is the diaper dry? Like the Redskins, one victory doesn’t mean anything, so make sure there are numerous consecutive nights where the diaper is dry in the morning.

Make sure you’re ready

Potty training is a lot of work. Here’s my checklist to ensure you’re ready:

  • Would you be patient if your kid has an accident?
  • Are you ok with the necessary clean up in aisle 6 if your kid has an accident outside of the house?
  • Would you be ok with finding a pool of pee or some turds in the corner of the house somewhere?
  • Are you ok with public restrooms or are you the type that likes to hover over the toilet? (hovering a kid without getting poop on your shoes is a challenge. Let’s just say I had a bad experience)
  • Are you willing to make detours & stops at any point in your day, especially when running errands or you’re on a tight schedule, when your kid says they need to potty?
  • Can you identify where the bathrooms are for all the places you frequent?

Buy the right tools for you

We initially bought two BABYBJÖRN Toilet Trainers – one for upstairs and one for downstairs. We chose those because using a stand-alone potty meant you still had to clean up pee and poop. Our daughter would use it but she didn’t like it very much.

So we went out and bought the Fisher-Price Stepstool Potty. Cleaning it up is no fun and the metal contacts are starting to rust but this one is nice because my daughter can do it herself and the dainty princess noise alerts us that she’s done her deed.

Also, don’t be like me and keep proclaiming that this is the last box of diapers you’re going to buy. I said that 4 Sam’s Club packs ago. Pull-ups are expensive but much easier to get off and on, especially in public restrooms that are not equipped with a changing table.

Use rewards

Some parents are against a reward system. I’m sure those parents reject or return any and all performance-based bonuses at work as well. But for me, I like bonuses, heck, I even do things to earn Good Husband points, such as buying flowers, back rubs, etc…which can later be redeemed for things like hanging out with friends, taking a nap, etc…

For potty training, we’ve found that rewards help a lot. You could use verbal rewards, “GREAT JOB! You’re a big girl/boy now!” You could use stickers or other treats. My wife and I like to encourage D1 with words, give her a sticker for a pee, and for a poop, we give her a toy. Toys are actually not cost-prohibitive if you go to the thrift store. The one by our house sells a bag of 8-10 toys for about $1.50.  We also bought some items from the clearance section of Target – though I did have to elbow a few other moms to procure the goods.

Be persistent

I won’t lie to you, potty training can be difficult but you and your kid can do this. We’ve taken it slowly but surely and are now at the point where she wears just underwear at home but wears a diaper when we go out (public restrooms are gross) and during bedtime (washing sheets every day is not cute). With a little more persistence, she’ll be potty trained, I won’t have to buy diapers for her, and I’ll teach her how to properly sanitize a public restroom seat.

So what about you? What worked for you when you were potty training your kid(s)? Do you have any potty training tips and ideas?

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  1. Veronica
    September 23, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Your question about being OK with the clean up on aisle 6 if your kid has an accident reminded me of a story someone told me about seeing a little boy whipping it out and peeing all over the cereal boxes on the bottom row of the cereal aisle! Then I remembered walking up to a strip mall as a little boy was running out. He proceeded to turn and start peeing against the building and his mother came running after him in horror. For me, both incidents are hilarious but I’m sure the parents will never recover from the mortification.

    • Pop
      September 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm

      That is horrifying. Thankfully, we have girls so I won’t have to worry about them whipping it out somewhere and spraying as they see fit.

  2. September 23, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Excellent advice. My observations as a grandma who potty-trained her last kid almost two decades ago:

    1. It doesn’t matter when they get it, as long as they get it eventually. By the time they’re teenagers, you won’t remember exactly when each kid mastered the art of pottying, and you won’t care that you don’t remember.

    2. Peer pressure can be your friend. No normal child is still in diapers when he/she enters high school, right? So relax.

    3. M&Ms are awesome potty-bribes.

    • Pop
      September 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm

      Those are excellent ideas, Meg. Thank you so much! And yes, I would hope D1 is out of diapers by high school. Or at least before I start need them. 😛

  3. September 23, 2010 at 11:44 am

    oh lord. you hit it spot on that the kid needs to be ready. and in my house we had 2 completely different experiences. My first was pee trained in ONE day. Yah – the doctor told him that only babies pee in diapers and from that day he would only pee on the potty or outside. Same kid trying to drop a deuce in the toilet? took 6 months. SIX. MONTHS. He was scared or something. I finally tricked into it, but I digress. The second kid? Trained much earlier and much easier than the first. Even for bed. Believe me, I was as shocked as anyone. It’s all up to the kid.

    • Pop
      September 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm

      I’m sure you would’ve preferred the opposite (poop in toilet, pee in diaper). Some of the crap that comes out of them should be immediately immersed in water, not left to foul up the air in your home.

  4. September 23, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Your tips are actually pretty sound but I can’t help but laugh all the way through. Hilarious way to put potty-training in perspective, although I’m sure for some (and maybe someday for me) it isn’t any laughing matter.

    Oh and this – ” Best thing to do is flip them off and move on.”

    • Pop
      September 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm

      As with most things in life, the best way to deal with potty training is with a sense of humor. And protective gloves.

  5. September 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Dude… love handles and poop. You’re a brave man.

    • Pop
      September 23, 2010 at 3:18 pm

      Most people have love handles (or muffin tops) and everyone poops.

  6. September 23, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I.hate.potty.training. I’m just hoping the girls are easier than Tater was. It took forever. And you know what sucks? I’m going to have to train 2 at the same time. UGH!!!

    • Pop
      September 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm

      Remember the Double Mint commercials? How everything was more fun with twins? This is not one of them.

    • October 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm

      I know I’m late to the commenting, but Natalie just wanted to tell you that based on my best friend’s experience potty training twin girls, it will be almost impossible to get started, but once you do, it’s practically done. The problem she had was that the girls made a secret pact NOT to use the potty. She tried every trick in the book. Finally, she chose the weaker one and broke her. (She still feels guilty about it, but they were 3.5 and she was over diapers. Well, til they had their 4th girl.) Anyway, if you run into this problem, this is what she did. She still put them in diapers at bedtime and naptime, but other than that, they were in underwear. The stinkers would wait all day until nap or bed and then pee in their diapers. So she decided to let Twin 1 drink whatever she wanted all day, and continued to offer it to her. Poor kid didn’t know what hit her. She wanted to go night-night at 4pm. My friend just kept giving her more to drink and asking her if she wanted to go potty. Finally her little bladder was about to burst so she sat down on the potty but wouldn’t go. My friend told her she’d get her a new Barbie if she went. No. Her twin said, “Can I have one if I go?” (As if she hadn’t been offering bribes all the while.) SURE! OF COURSE! Ok – done. As soon as Twin 2 went, Twin 1 went, and they never looked back. Best of luck to you!!! Don’t be afraid to use any tricks in your arsenal!

      • Pop
        October 11, 2010 at 9:56 am

        Great tips! Peer pressure works really well. Last week, we went to dinner with some friends who have 2 daughters: 10 and 4. The older daughter took the younger daughter to the bathroom and I had to tell D1 that she couldn’t go with them. She’s refused to put on diapers ever since – though we make sure she puts one on for naps and bedtime.

  7. September 23, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    You are spot on with these! My son would not potty train (or do anything else, in fact) until HE decided he was ready. When HE decided he wanted to pee in the potty? He was pee trained in a day or two. Poop? Took M.O.N.T.H.S. For a while, he just went in a pull up. The it got to the point where he’d only go during nap/bed time. Complete with screaming & horrified crying. And during these times? He would stockpile. 11 days was his record. It was also the breaking point. I had to give the boy an enema. Fun for all involved. From that day forth

    • September 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm

      (oops, not sure what button I hit…but it published before I was done. Hmph.)

      From that day forth, he’s only had maybe 2 poo incidents. The rest? Have all been in the potty. He naps in underwear with about a 98% success rate, but over night is still in a pull-up. We tried underwear, but he’s not quite there yet.

      • Pop
        September 23, 2010 at 3:28 pm

        Holy crap. Literally. 11 days?!?!

        And the fact that she pees more often than poops isn’t the only reason we upped the ante for poops: she also refused to poop on the potty.

  8. September 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    OMG, the part about the Redskins made me laugh out loud!

    Thankfully, I had a very dedicated babysitter when Hannah was at that stage – she started training her at 2 1/2 years (I was young, dumb, and stupid and probably would have kept her in diapers until she was 4 otherwise) at Halloween, and by Thanksgiving (a month or so) she stopped having accidents.

    But, little did I know that my daughter was an overachiever and didn’t like the fact that her friend Amy at daycare, already three was potty trained and she didn’t want to be the only one in diapers!

    • Pop
      September 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm

      Peer pressure. If it works in all grades of school, it should work before school, right?

  9. September 23, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    OMG I loved this. It makes me feel slightly less lost with how to go about this and if she’s ready (she seems ready). Gonna stalk up on some cool treats tomorrow 🙂

    • Pop
      September 23, 2010 at 3:30 pm

      As if you needed another reason to visit Target again.

  10. September 23, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Listen to Potty Time on Do Fun Stuff = http://www.dofunstuff.net/. I sing it every time I go. It helps me too.

    • Pop
      September 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      I like it. Yes indeedy!

  11. September 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I do not miss the potty training days. My daughter was almost three. She knew and just chose not to bother with it. I told her EVERY accident she was losing a precious dress that she loved. It took one in a big black trash bag and she was potty trained. Forget rewards. Use threats. LOL.

    • Pop
      September 24, 2010 at 9:05 am

      Threats. I like the sound of that. 😛

  12. liz
    September 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    kate was one of those kids who trained in a few days. maddie, on the other hand, is not that way. we tried once (directed by her) and she wasn’t getting consistently better nor did she make a connection with the poop, so we’re back to diapers.

    • Pop
      September 24, 2010 at 9:06 am

      That happened with us too, which was when I went out and bought the 3rd mega pack of diapers. *sigh*

  13. September 23, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    I think that for not being a complete pro-your advice is pretty spot on. I’ve never used pull-ups because I figured they’d be confusing. I just tell myself that it’s ok to throw the poo-smeared underwear in the trash rather than try to swish it clean in the toilet. The best trick ever is to potty train your kid in the spring when the weather had just turned warm but the water from the garden hose is still nice and frigid. Then, whenever kid poops his pants you take him outside and hose his butt down with the cold water from the hose. It’ll be the last time he craps his pants, I can guarantee you that.

    • Pop
      September 24, 2010 at 9:07 am

      Fall has begun, so the water from the hose should be pretty cold. Sweet!

      Not gonna lie, I once told my wife I was taking D1 out to hose her off b/c it’d be quicker but she vetoed it. Any tips on stealing the veto pen?

  14. September 24, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Excellent advice! We also did the sticker chart… a star sticker for each time she went (1 for #1 and 2 for #2… novel idea), and when she had accumulated enough stars, she got to pick out a little treat at the Dollar Store.

    Good luck with the potty training. Go, Poop, Go!

    • Pop
      September 24, 2010 at 9:08 am

      Ooooo! Teaching her to call them #1 and #2! Brilliant!

      Go, Poop, Go! indeed!

  15. September 24, 2010 at 12:49 am

    My least favorite part of potty training was stopping at every public bathroom in town. Gross. Well, that and the fact that my son announced he wanted to learn to go on the potty when I was in the throes of morning sickness with my second pregnancy. Sitting in there with him while he looked at a book (I blame his dad for this) was pure misery for a queasy woman.

    I can’t believe I have to go through it all with another kid in a year or so. No morning sickness this time, though!! 😉

    • Pop
      September 24, 2010 at 9:09 am

      Ugh. I really don’t remember public restrooms being this disgusting when I was a kid. I mean, people used to actually flush!

      And hooray for no morning sickness!

  16. September 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Love hearing potty training advice from a dad!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Stop by my blog, I have an award for ya! http://corisbigmouth.com/?p=1248

    • Pop
      September 27, 2010 at 10:51 am

      Thanks, Cori!

  17. September 28, 2010 at 1:07 am

    This is probably the best post with potty training tips I have read. I love bribing my daughter with dollar toys from Target. It works like a charm. Although, as you know, we did have a recent poop on the floor incident. And no, she did not get a toy for that.

    • Pop
      September 28, 2010 at 9:06 am

      I don’t subscribe to the gold star system where everyone wins just for participating, especially for potty training. You either win (poop in the toilet) or you lose (poop anywhere & everywhere else). Actually, it’s me that loses. *sigh*

  18. September 30, 2010 at 12:44 am

    As parents, we tend to think we have a lot of positive influence on our kid’s potty training, but I’ve found that peer pressure works best. Most kids in preschool situations get potty trained quickly because the diaper free kids set the example. Older siblings are helpful too. It’s amazing how early peer pressure starts, and quite scary actually!

    Some books are really good at potty training, but often too serious. A few months ago we discovered “Peek a Poo, what’s in your diaper?” by Guido Van Genetchen and I give this book two big thumbs up! Try it, your daughter will love it.

    • Pop
      September 30, 2010 at 1:57 pm

      Once again, thank you for the recommendation! I like to think I set a good example of not wearing a diaper, but I guess even from a young age, there’s no pressure to be like your dad. 😛

  19. Jen
    October 1, 2010 at 12:40 am

    You are a riot! I am also in the middle (please, oh please let us be at least HALF way through) of training my daughter. We’re in about month three. Or four. I’ve stopped counting. I am SO GLAD to see that 1)you are not done, but are posting about it, 2) You did not potty train in three days, and 3)you are really, really great at putting it all in perspective!
    Found you here from Kludgy Moms blog, and you are definitely a keeper! Great work. 🙂

    • Pop
      October 6, 2010 at 11:05 am

      Thanks for stopping by. And I’m that dad that wants to punch “super” parents in the face, so yeah, this isn’t so much Do as I say but Don’t do as I did.

  20. Danielle
    February 21, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    PLEASE help….I Have been potty training for 2 yrs…not kidding…My almost 4yr old girl wont poop in the potty….She pee’s, but wont poop…Iam at a total loss, I just dont know what else to do? Tried everything

  21. December 14, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Man boobs are really embarrassing! It’s best to get rid of them.

  22. ami
    September 18, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I love your relaxed and humorous take on this subject. Itend to really worry about potty training and compare my self and my daughter to others. I started potty training early, at around 16-17 months. She was doing so well. She even would let us know in public. We were using the naked at home method and it was really working. I had just moved onto panties….whennnn….we moved. And she had just continued to go backward more and more from there. She will be 2 next month and she literally hates to go on the potty now. I wish I just would have waited till now to try. Because now I am having a hard time commuting MYSELF to it and just doing it all over again with all sorts of toddler resistance now….ugh….
    Thanks for a breath of fresh air. Lol. And to parents out there….stick with it! Cos starting over is jot easy.

    • Pop
      October 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      Sorry to hear about that – hope it’s getting better. D2 is now 29 months and has ZERO desire to potty train. We’ve attempted to force the issue, but like constipation, it appears letting it happen naturally is the way to go. 😛

  1. September 24, 2010 at 1:17 pm
  2. October 13, 2010 at 10:33 am
  3. November 11, 2010 at 1:33 pm
  4. March 1, 2012 at 11:11 am

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