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Friday, December 31, 2010

Potty Training 101, Macready Style.

Disclaimer: All kids are different. You are the parent, you know what is best for your child. I am not a professional, in fact I go against a lot of professional opinions. This is what works for me. I'm writing this blog because I've been asked several times how I successfully potty train. If you don't agree with this, please, do not try it.

Potty Training. Those two simple words can strike some serious fear and anxiety in some people. For me, I think of 4 hardcore weeks (10 weeks or so total) that will really suck. I don't hate potty training, I sort of like it. DID I JUST SAY THAT? Yes. I like a challenge. How great is is to get a feeling of satisfaction as you walk by the diaper isle at the store, you're not spending $20 on a box of diapers every couple weeks! YAY. What? Saving money isn't enough to get you geared up to potty train? Do you really enjoy wiping poo off your toddlers bottom? If the answer is yes, stop reading. Go away.

My daughter was potty trained at 18 months. My son was a little bit older because I slacked off and the fact that I didn't have the same anatomy hindered us a bit. He was still completely potty trained before he was 2 years old. When I say potty trained, I mean no accidents and no bed wetting. Potty trained means COMPLETELY DONE, in my house. Of course kids still have random accidents... I'm not saying my kids never did. I'm just saying the accidents we're very rare. Maybe 2 or 3 during the first year of being potty trained. Lets begin.

ALWAYS BE PERSISTENT. DO NOT BEGIN UNLESS YOU INTEND ON FINISHING. If you start potty training and decided its "too hard" then you're setting yourself up for failure in the future. Don't start to potty train unless you're really ready to commit. Potty training is hard, it takes time and you will not be able to leave your house very often. I don't care if baby is 12 months old or 4 years old, I believe being persistent is the key to success.

Choose a word you're going to use to associate with going to the bathroom. Potty, pee-pee, tinkle, whatever. Some parents even use a sound cue like "pssssss" and hand gestures.

The Prerequisites; This is a 4 week process, give or take. Just feel out out the process and and follow your baby's cues. Some babies learn faster than others, some are slower. These are the stepping stones your baby will need before starting the actual potty training.

Prerequisite 1. Introduce your child to the potty chair of your choice. Do not allow the child to play with it, would you ever let your baby play with he real toilet? No. The potty is not a toy. Encourage your baby to sit on it, some babies are scared at first. Once your baby is no longer trying to mess with the potty every chance he/she gets and is no longer scared of the potty you're ready for the next step. (this takes me about 2 weeks)

Prerequisite 2. Every morning once your baby wakes up, place him/her on the potty chair. You can start with a diaper and then go without a diaper once you establish a ritual. When your baby wakes up from a nap, do the same. While my kids we're sitting on the chair and they happened to go I'd celebrate by saying "PEE PEE!" and clap and act like a complete fool. Babies LOVE that. (this takes me about a week)

Prerequisite 3. Start giving your baby drinks only at the table with meals. Don't let baby run around with their sippy cup all day. You'll be screwed if you do. Generally, its takes about 2 hours for what goes in to come out, urine anyways. (this takes me about 2 weeks, my kids we're stubborn!)

Prerequisite 4. I start with Easy Ups, get your baby some they're like Pull Ups but actual diapers. Start changing diapers in standing position. Yes, its sounds hard and sometimes its impossible to do but you should try and do all urine diapers standing up. Encourage your baby to step into the diaper. (this is about a week long process, luckily babies are fast learners!)

It's GO time. This is when the real potty training starts. This is Potty Training 101.

Step 1. Buy your baby underwear! Wal Mart and Target carry them, buy the 2T ones. They shrink. Personally I think they run small. If you're the crunchy type, buy some plastic underpants/training pants. Buy some Pull Ups, its on now! (use the rest of those Easy Up's too!)

Step 2. Put the underwear on your baby. Be prepared for your baby to pee on the floor... a lot. Don't get angry with your baby if he/she pee's on the floor. Make sure they know what happened by using your potty word. Explain that they need to pee in the potty, place them on the potty. Some babies will freak out when they feel the urine on themselves, its okay.

Step 3. Place baby on the potty roughly every 2 hours. Don't forget to keep up on your morning/after nap time potty placements. When your baby uses the potty correctly make a big deal! Clap! Celebrate! And even reward baby. I used fruit snacks with my older two.

Step 4. By now you've noticed I've not yet discussed pooping. Well, I'm pretty sure you know when your baby is pooping or getting ready to poop. When you see these signs place them on the potty.

Step 5. Only use Pull Ups and Easy Ups at nap time. Use underwear all other times. If you're brave you can use underwear during nap time, I always do. It makes potty after nap easier. I used Pull Ups and Easy Ups at bedtime. Speaking of bedtime, no drinks 2 hours prior to bedtime. Make sure to place baby on the potty before bed.

Thats it. It may seem a bit overwhelming. But once you establish rituals it will be a breeze! I didn't cover getting your little boy to pee standing up because thats not really THAT important. The focus of this entry was to get baby to pee on the potty. I will write a follow up post about how I got my kids to transition to the actual toilet and how I taught my son to pee standing up.

Good luck! If you need any help or support holler at me! I will happily share stories of failure and success as well as encourage you to continue the process. You can email me, comment on the post, or even catch me on twitter @ragekat.


  1. I love your post! ;) Thanks for sharing!!

  2. I potty trained my little one right before his 3rd birthday. It was like two weeks of pee on the floor hell and he refused to poop unless he had the diaper on, which would poop shortly after I put the diaper on him at night for bed.

    I agree that you must be persistant, and shouldn't stop, start, stop, start. And it's important not to get mad for accidents.

    Yeah.. I didnt leave the house either lol

    I only had 9 pairs of the potty training underwear and would end up going through it all before the day was half over. I taught him to pee standing up first (just to make him interested in it), I sure figured out how aim that thing, and that was messy too. It helped that his dad was explaining things that I couldn't because I lacked that equiptment.

    Within two weeks the accidents started to dwindle down and he night trained himself so I took him off the diapers and hid them so he would get used to the idea of pooping on the potty. Which that part wasn't hard.

    You have written a good potty training guide. I wish I had started potty training Devin when he was much younger, rather than waiting right before his birthday. But it was pretty easy for me,and I'm lucky he "got it" quickly. I think around that time is also when I cut his 2 year pacifier habit in 3 days. It makes you darn proud to accomplish this stuff.

    I do NOT miss diapers.

  3. Thanks for sharing! When I was potty training Trenton Chad was deployed, I just had him sit to pee. I was completely oblivious when it came to teach him to pee standing up. Once Chad got home he learned to pee standing fairly quickly!

    The pacifier one seems to be a hard one to break. I've never gave my kids pacifiers for too long. I think within the first month I had them all weaned. I'm just not a fan.

    I hear if you cut the tip off the pacifier the kids will wean themselves sometimes!

  4. I remember you potty-training Trenton.

    The pacifier was easier than potty training. My sister told me about the cutting the pacifier when I was ready to wean him from it. Pacifier weaning was easier than potty training lol. Anyhow, I did cut the tip and he rejected it on his own, and in 3 days he did not want it anymore. It did take longer to get him to sleep, but he wasn't screaming for the pacifier. I was shocked because I thought it was gonna take longer.

    I didn't want devin to start sucking his thumb so I let him use the pacifier, that way I could control how often he had it and eventually break the habit...Though now he bites his nails, I have no clue how to stop that.

  5. Sabrina you have a great site my wife and you have a lot in common she has a mom site as well.You guys should connect her name is Jean Burns and she is on facebook too. Anyway she just wrote a book on sleeping your baby and one of the bonus books she is giving away is on Potty Training. Keep up the great work
    I actually think she is running a contest for a free copy with the 6 bonus books

    Take it easy,

  6. Oh I needed this post! We are struggling with getting him to go so thanks for these tips!!

  7. Yeah, persistence is so important. The girls were both fairly easy to potty train, but I am a little fearful of that time with Jack. Same, equipment differences, lol. I still have time though.

  8. Very helpful post! Kids urinate better with the psssssssss sound!

  9. Lindsay Early here. We have failed miserably with Riley. He is 2 1/2 now and cries every time we put him on a toilet he cries and its been months. I have all but given up.