Home > Parenting > Keys to Potty Training Success

Keys to Potty Training Success

November 11, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments


It’s hard to believe, but we’ve gone 4 days without an accident. The days when D1 would fling off her poopy diaper and leave a trail from her bedroom to the toilet are long gone -if Hansel and Gretel used that for a trail, they’d have never gotten lost. If you missed my earlier post on potty training tips and ideas, check it out here, as I can now attest that they do work. We still have a little ways to go, especially since we incessantly have to ask, “Do you have to pee?” but after months of dealing with poop, I can finally see the light at the end of this intestinal tunnel.

So if you’re having a poopy time with potty training, here are some keys to success.

The first two keys, I’ve learned from recent accidents. For the past 2 weeks, D1’s been toddler commando, including overnight and during naps and in that span, she’s had two accidents.

The first, we were at a restaurant for dinner and we asked her if she needed to go pee. She said yes and it was my wife’s turn to take her. But when my wife got to the bathroom, she realized Nature was calling her as well – and in a very big way. So D1 stood just outside the stall as my wife dropped the kids off at the pool and my wife hears D1 say, “Uh oh! My underwear is wet.”

Key to Success #1: If you tell your toddler you’re taking her to pee, you better take her to pee.

The second, we were at church and D1 was too busy playing to be bothered with peeing in the toilet.

Key to Success #2: until they get better control of their systems, it’s best to ask them from time to time if they need to pee. You know how your parenting senses tingle when it’s way too quiet in the other room your kids are playing? If your kids get to wrapped in what they are doing, your parenting senses should go off as well.

Key to Success #3: Hit ’em where it hurts. My daughter loves Dora, the Disney Princesses, and Sesame Street. So we bought her underwear with those characters printed on them (HOORAY for sales at Target). A few weeks ago, I tried a new tactic and told D1: “if you pee on Dora/Cinderella/Bell/Zoe/Prairie Dawn, they will be sad. Do you want them to be sad?” “No, appa,” was her response. Then last week, she said, “Appa, if I pee on Dora, Dora will cry and be sad like this *makes pouty face*”

This worked surprisingly well. And if you have a boy, just tell them Bob the Builder and Buzz really get sad when they get pooped on.

Key to Success #4: Always be aware of your surroundings. You know how before a movie starts, they instruct you to locate the nearest exit and in case of an emergency trample everyone to get there walk, not run to that exit? For us potty training parents, it’s important to locate the nearest bathroom in case of an emergency.

Key to Success #5: Along with #4, make sure you always ask if they need to pee anytime you leave some place or arrive at a new place.

Key to Success #6: Attitude – and I think this is the most important. I’m not going to lie to you – potty training was really difficult and there were times when I resigned myself to thinking, “Ok. As long as D1 is potty trained by age 4, I think we’ll be ok. That’s ok, right?” But we tried to maintain a positive attitude about potty training in general. I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that kids are keenly aware of and are significantly impacted by the attitude and behavior of their parents. The same goes for potty training. Sure it’s literally crappy some/most days, but try not to be frustrated, especially when there are accidents – notice I said when, not if.

When they have a success, smile and praise ’em. If they have an accident, smile and tell them it’s ok (and also that Dora is very, very sad).

Now our only problem? We have a box of Size 4 Pampers left. Thankfully, D2 is a beast (4 months and already in Size 3’s) and should be using those in no time.

So D1, Daddy’s dedicating this song to you!

Praise You by Fat Boy Slim

We’ve come a long, long way together
Through the hard times and the good
I have to celebrate you baby
I have to praise you like I should

So what about you? What were your keys to potty training success?

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Categories: Parenting Tags: , ,
  1. November 11, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Congratulations! No feeling quite like it. Knowing that your poop days are numbered. It rocks. I just wish my 3yo would wipe his own ass.

    My kids are huge and the youngest is ALMOST two and has been in size six diapers for months. If he gets any bigger we’re going to have to switch to Depends, and that’s just embarrassing at the grocery store.

    • Pop
      November 11, 2010 at 1:57 pm

      Well, considering your history, Depends might be good to have on hand. Just sayin’

  2. November 11, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    AWESOME tips. I am going to bookmark this post, for future use.

    • Pop
      November 12, 2010 at 9:31 am

      Wishing you the best of luck in the future. Go easy with the Cheez Wiz or the potty training may be upon you sooner than you expect 😛

  3. November 11, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    LOVE Fatboy Slim! I will mention that even once things start to go well, there will be setbacks, so #6 is extra important six months from now. With all that’s been going on with us (chilcare/wrecking the car), S has regressed big time. She had 4 accidents yesterday. One right after I asked her if she needed to go. This after she’s been accident free for a couple of months. I’m trying not to make a big deal about it, but along with #3, she has 7 new pairs of underwear which gets her through the week. Of course, when she’s gone through that many of them by Wed, it means she’s out of new ones. So she has to use the old ones that are boring.

    • Pop
      November 12, 2010 at 9:33 am

      Sorry to hear that Jennifer, but I had to laugh b/c S is so young and she already knows what it feels like to be out of the cute panties. I guess kids don’t call ’em grannies though.

  4. Kim
    November 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    #4 — and make sure you are not afraid to hurt people to get there in time. Really. Because there comes a point where you are sick and tired of dirty pants. #6 — I became convinced that my son would be potty trained by prom. And I’d have to give him M&M’s after every BM for life. I was good w/ that. And willing to train his wife to do the same.

    • Kim
      November 11, 2010 at 4:51 pm

      hit reply too quick!! Also? I am SO impressed that a dad knows alls this!! AND that you and your wife take turns w/ the public bathrooms. I always take the girls. When we had a boy, while still in the hosptital I told my husband that he finally got to train one! Honest, very impressed over hered.

      • Pop
        November 12, 2010 at 10:15 am

        So true about hurting people to get there. I’m sure his wife would’ve been thrilled.

        Actually, there’ve been some instances where I take her to the bathroom and bring her right out and say, “No way I’m putting her on that seat.” Seriously men! Learn to aim!

        • Kim
          November 12, 2010 at 10:24 am

          ‘learn to aim’ It’s the same in the womens room! ugh! and I was cracking up at your comment at my post. I suppose you ARE right. Darn it!

  5. November 11, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Good pointers. I’m through all of this, but if someone had told me to use the fact that my child would be peeing on their favourite cartoon/Sesame character if they were wearing underwear with favourite cartoon/Sesame characters, and that my child did not want to pee on cartoon/Sesame character, I would have been, “Let’s to Walmart! Mama needs a new pair of undies!”

    • Pop
      November 12, 2010 at 10:17 am

      LOL. It works.

  6. November 11, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Congratulations to you. My oldest was 3.5 when he was finally trained and my second will be 3 next month. He’s been peeing and pooping on the potty, but it’s hit or miss. He will NEVER tell us he has to go and we have to put him on every 45 minutes. It’s soooooo exhausting.

    • Pop
      November 12, 2010 at 10:21 am

      I hear ya. This has certainly been anything but a pleasant experience, and if we end up having 4 kids, we get to do it 3 more times.

  7. November 12, 2010 at 11:49 am

    My daughter has been an overachiever from day one. When a girl 6 months older than her was potty training, I picked her up from day care and she said she was done with diapers (she was 2 1/2). Between Halloween and Thanksgiving, she had a total of 2 accidents, and never looked back.

    I take no credit by the way – I was dumb and young back then – I’d probably have kept her in diapers until first grade! 😀

    • Pop
      November 12, 2010 at 12:25 pm

      Don’t get me wrong – I’m still thinking we may have to bust out an occasional diaper or two for long roadtrips, a la Lisa Nowak 😛

  8. November 12, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Ok, forgive me for missing the earlier post, but I did note that you did not mention my own preferred technique, that of screaming until hoarse and then gargling with lemon vodka.

    I think that was my preferred technique. Me memories of those days are a bit hazy.

    • Pop
      November 12, 2010 at 12:25 pm

      I’m sure lemon vodka had little to do with the haziness, right?

      • November 12, 2010 at 12:53 pm

        Nothing. Nope not a thing.

        What were we talking about?

  9. November 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Any tips on how to teaching your husband better aim? That’s the post I’m holding out for…!

  10. liz
    November 12, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Potty training is quite an experience. And what I’ve learned so far is that what works and how things play out with one kid is going to be totally different with the next!

    • Pop
      November 16, 2010 at 1:52 pm

      I like you, Liz, but I really hope you’re wrong. 😛 I was banking on potty training #2 to be MUCH easier.

  11. November 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Hmm, this post is making me think I should plan on potty training my kids. I was just planning to make them wear diapers until it embarrassed them enough that they’d train themselves.

    That’d be normal and not at all abuse, right?

    (The question I shall be asking about all my instinctive parenting decisions.)

    • Pop
      November 16, 2010 at 1:59 pm

      I just may try that with D2. And if your instinctive parenting decisions ever got made into a TV show, I’d watch.

  12. November 13, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Potty training was tough for me. I remember a bad mommy moment. There I was sitting in our bathroom floor raising my voice at Princess Ninja. I asked her why she didn’t tell me she needed to go pee. She looked at me, eyes filling with tears, she said, “Mama, you’re scary.” My hear melted. I felt guilty. We gave potty training a break. A few weeks later, like magic, she was potty trained.

    • Pop
      November 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm

      I have so many bad daddy moments. Kids are resilient little beings (thank goodness).

  13. SOS
    November 13, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    I love the potty advice… we are still working on punks. I have 2 in diapers right now. awesome.

    • Pop
      November 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm

      Awesome indeed. I cannot tell you how happy I am to only have to buy 1 box of diapers at a time.

  14. November 15, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Potty training… ugg….

    I have 3 girls who were pretty simple to potty train. No, it wasn’t overnight or anything like that but by time they were 3 or 3 1/2 they were done.

    Now I have a boy. And watching my sister try to potty train her oldest son (almost5) and now her 2nd son (almost 3) I’m pretty sure that I have my work cut out for me! I’m pretty sure that I’ll be buying diapers till he’s almost 4!

    • Pop
      November 16, 2010 at 2:05 pm

      If only they could learn to potty train soon after finding out that they can play with their “thing,” they’d be potty trained at 12 months. Sadly, I hear from parents of boys that they only learn to play with it, not use it properly.

      • Pop
        November 16, 2010 at 2:05 pm

        Come to think of it, that doesn’t sound too different from grown men.

  15. November 15, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Oh my gosh… #3 is absolutely brilliant. And evil. I am so using that one when my son gets to be potty training age.

    That’s awesome you’ve made it over the potty training hump! One down, one to go…

    • Pop
      November 16, 2010 at 2:07 pm

      WOOHOO! Unless we have more kids (likely)

  16. November 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Yep, constantly asking “do you have to pee” is the key to success! And #3 is the best tip I think I’ve ever heard 😉

    • Pop
      November 16, 2010 at 2:10 pm

      Thankfully, I’ve had to say it less and less with each passing day. But when she says, “APPA! PEE PEE!” I jump to action and rush to the bathroom as if a bomb were about to go off.

  1. November 19, 2010 at 11:17 am
  2. August 17, 2011 at 10:44 am

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