Potty Training: 12 Random Tips

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Potty Training.  Sigh… Let me start off by saying, it made the Revenge Plan….for a reason. This post is dedicated to Erin and Courtney who will be starting this journey for the first time soon. Please leave them your tips in the comments!

I have graduated 3 kids (2 girls and 1 boy) from potty training…and a dog. Since my kids are close in age, I was pretty much potty training from 2006-2008ish straight through. I cleared my calendar for about a week. We didn’t leave the house for days (years?). Kids were pretty much naked (or in the super thick undies), drinking something, peeing and pooping.

Here are my thoughts.

1. Relax. Don’t let anyone stress you out. You’ll have good days and bad, good weeks and bad. My thought: You can teach your child how to use the potty in a day, but they likely won’t be 100% “potty trained” in a day.

2. There are 4,612 ways to potty train. My 3 kids were each different. Take everyone’s advice lightly. You know your child. Try a few things. See what works. Tip to consider: don’t even tell anyone you’ve started potty training yet.

3. I started putting my kids in pull-ups by the age of 1. Not because I had any intention of potty training them yet…they were just absolute writhing alligators. Standing up was way easier for me, happier for them, and a logical step forward.

4. Girls are not always easier. I had two very different potty personality girls. My son was the easiest by far.

5.  I did underwear at home for a long time before we did underwear out and about. *Always check out in the lane next to the bathrooms. My 3 year old middle daughter peed a GINORMOUS  puddle right at the Wal-Mart check out line.

6. We started dumping poop from their diaper in the potty and flushed it away early. We’d wave at it. We’d sing about it. We made up a handful of silly potty songs. I started wondering when I stopped being cool.

7.  “Mom, Bun-Bun has to potty.” Ok. Tell Bun-Bun to always wipe from front to back!” Role playing works well in many areas for kids. Have your child teach their favorite doll/stuffed animal how to potty.

8. I used the microwave as a “Potty Clock” those first few weeks of potty training.  It shifted control somehow if the potty clock told them to potty, not  me…and it kept me from forgetting to take them potty as they learned to take themselves.

9. It became a straight up control issue for my 1st child, so I did something I said I would never do. Never say never say never😉 I bribed her…with M&Ms. 1 for pee and 2 for poops. And, that meant, when I pooped, I got M&Ms too. I upped my fiber intake.

10. We tried the separate small potty, the potty ring, a larger replica potty…with each kid we migrated towards just using the real potty. If I had a surprise 4th child, I’d just try them out on the regular potty first and go from there. Less mess. Kids like to do what we do.

11. You can reduce your butt wiping long term time by getting them started right away. Help them, but don’t do it totally for them.

12. When they have an accident, have them help in some way. Have them grab the paper towels or bottle of Kids-N-Pets or come with you to put their clothes in the washing machine.

I’ll leave you with my personal favorite poop story…Rub-a-dub-dub 3 kids in the tub. Happy kids. Happy mom. Then I see “the poop face” on my 1 year old son. Insert slow motion. The 2 and 3 year olds see it too and slide over screaming. As I make a grab for my son, here it comes. All I can do is catch. I caught a turd. A steamer. It was a man poop. The biggest 1 year old dump ever, in my two hands. 3 kids scream-crying and crawling out of the tub. Me holding poop. Husband, out of town. Classic. Those are the parenting moments no one can prepare you for.

I hope that helps. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go potty.
PS. Husband wanted to add #13: Keep a change of clothes, clean up items, including a towel in case of an accident in the car seat. Do this in both of your cars because inevitably, your child will have an accident when you’re not prepared.

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  1. Thanks for the dedication…I will reread this one several times I am sure! I know I will need the humor. (And you may be the only one I tell when we start the process.) 🙂 Love you!

  2. This will be so helpful when we go down that road! Alex is not quite there yet, however bunny pees on the potty multiple times a day. Baby steps. 😉 You’re awesome.

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