Jul 28, 2014
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Ditch The Diaper

Potty Training.

Ditch The Diaper

We know everyone everywhere has an opinion on the subject. We all either give or get advice about it, hear horror stories about it, and some of us have even successfully made it though to the other side. It can be incredibly frustrating, but you can (and will) succeed.


My daughter turned 2 in September and while I feel like she’s ready to be potty trained, I’m hesitant to start. We just moved, the holidays are here, my in-laws are visiting after that, we are going to Tahoe after that, and more and more excuses to delay the inevitable.

She has gone potty once on her big girl potty. She had a scorching case of diaper rash so she was running around with a naked bottom. She looked at me and said “Mama? Potty?” And I thought, “Why not?” She’s asked a million times before with no success so I wasn’t hopeful. But she sat down and low and behold, there it was!

My husband and I were THRILLED! And then the idea of potty training rolled over me instantly like a dark tornado. Am I ready for this? Can I possibly do this now? Do I have the time and energy to potty train my terribly difficult 2-year-old when I have a 6-month-old needing my constant attention?

Then, the answer is yes! Of course I can! I just have to buckle down and do it! There are so many methods of potty training, every one has a different way of doing it. Personally, I’m gonna go with the hanging out at home for a few days and letting her run around in undies and let her get a feel for it. And then we’ll go from there.

So starting in January, we will be potty training. Luckily, I have the help and support of a lot of other mamas who I know will give me advice when I need it!


Claire is a couple of months away from turning 3 now, so we decided it’s time. She, on the other hand, is not so sure about that. She was super excited about all things potty until the time came to actually ditch the diaper and go on the potty instead. Now, she’s totally freaked out and wants nothing to do with it. What used to be, “Yay! Yay! Claire go potty too!” has now been replaced by a very whiney, “No pee pee potty.”

Even as a write this, I have been putting her on the potty every 15 minutes and watching her like a mama hawk. Every time the poor kid so much as makes a funny face or stands still too long I run her to the potty.

Very recently she was so excited and even went on the potty happily five times! But, alas, she chose to do this all the day before Thanksgiving. Not such great timing when Mommy was set to host and cook Thanksgiving dinner and therefore would have no time for potty training. So, we put it off for a few days. Apparently we missed “the window”, or so I have been told.

What to do, what to do... Keep trying! That’s what. She can do this, I can do this, we can do this. If we just press on, we will make it though. It may suck for a while (I may be doing lots of laundry and moping up) but it will be worth it in the end.


Sabine started indicating interest in the potty when she was about 2 months shy of 2 years old. She was so excited just by getting a piece of toilet paper, that I figured, "Oh, this will be EASY!”

Truth be told, it was easy.... until the holidays came around. Because we were traveling to my mom’s for Thanksgiving (a three hour trip), I felt that it would be too much to try and expect a just-turned-2-year-old to hold it, or know enough to tell us she needed to potty before we had a CODE RED accident in the car seat. So, I decided that it would be more practical to just resume potty training when we returned. As Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman, “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”

Once we returned from Thanksgiving, potty training was out the window. She not only had no interest in it, I couldn’t give her anything to get her to go!  So, she remained in diapers until about four months before her 3rd birthday. Quite honestly, the strategy that helped me, was Three Day Potty Training by Laura Jensen.

I did more or less exactly what the program recommended. But in addition to that, I embellished a little bit by creating a "pee-pee/poop" chart that Sabine got to put stickers on whenever she went. I also rewarded her with a jellybean whenever she went in the potty/keeping her panties dry. The peeing part was easy. The poops, not so much....

In order to encourage her to do her poops in the potty, I first got her to go into the bathroom to poop at all (even if it was in her panties). Then, I upped the ante, and told her if she pooped in the potty that I would take her to the candy store and she could get candy. Not just *any* candy, but chocolate. That worked like a charm.

So, now she poops on the potty every time. Perhaps your child doesn’t go nuts for chocolate, that’s alright, just replace it with something (s)he just LOVES but you don't let them have very often.

For overnight potty training, I made a pretty computer spreadsheet for her bedtime routine listing three to four things we do every night before bed with the last item being "Stay dry all night" (we didn’t use pull-ups at night, either. I was of the “Go big or go home” mindset, so we just put her in regular panties). In addition to the bedtime routine, I went to Party City and the and got a fancy gift bag and filled it with little "prizes." Then, every time she stays dry all night (after I wake her up and take her about two hours after she goes to bed), she gets to put her sticker on her bedtime routine and pick a prize out of the bag the next morning.   

Mommy tip: Get a few waterproof mattress pads (you can find disposable ones on Amazon.com) and make up about three layers of pad, sheet, pad, sheet, etc. That way, if your child does have an accident in the middle of the night / nap time, you don't have to risk totally waking them up to change the sheets.  I stopped waking her up every night after about a month because I figured I was actually doing her a disservice by not letting her recognize the feeling of needing to go potty on her own. Within a week or so, she was staying dry all night (a few accidents are bound to happen, regardless), or waking up to go potty on her own.

Now, it’s been about six months, and it’s very rare for Sabine to ever have an accident while she’s awake (she’s had maybe two, because she was too distracted with playing). In fact, she completed the entire three-hour car ride to her Oma’s house for Thanksgiving with dry panties!   

She still has a nighttime accident every now and then, but generally only when she’s extremely exhausted. Over all, I’d say it worked great for us, and I’d definitely recommend it. One more word of advice: don’t use a potty chair you’ll just have to re-train them to use the “big” potty later. We ended up buying a drop-down kids seat within a regular toilet seat. It’s awesome, and Sabine loves it because it’s “her size” and it’s just like Mommy and Daddy’s.  

Just remember, this isn’t forever, and your child WILL “get it”, just give them time, try to be patient, and, most of all... BREATHE! It will get better, and pretty soon you’ll know the whereabouts of every public bathroom within a five mile radius! You can do it!

Potty training is just one of the many inevitable obstacles we must face as parents. Could be worse right? Could be (Gasp) dating! But that’s a whole other article...

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