Potty training 101: Sitting on the potty

© Sarah Lipoff, 2010

This week was all about potty training at our house. My parents had recently left after enjoying a wonderful visit and I figured it was as good as time as any to transition into a real attempt at potty training. She was already missing her grandparents, so potty training was the perfect diversion.

Or so I thought.

I purchased a potty seat several months ago and it’s spent time hanging out in both bathrooms, been pushed around the house, used as a step stool, and sat on, like, once. Total.


And that experience involved a half-finished and quite messy number 2 incident.

I’ll spare you all the details.

So, with lots of gusto, and some tasty treats in my back pocket, I started out strong on Wednesday with hitting the potty every half hour or so. This meant I had to sit on the potty with the tot every half an hour or so.

That’s a lot of sitting on the potty.

At first she was totally into it and I was tossing out a small treat for at least just getting her bare tushie on that potty. With the motivation of more than one treat if anything actually happened while sitting on that potty, she was doing okay – but no success.

Half way through the day I recognized the signs. The moving off to a quiet spot, the change in facial expression, the concentration….

I grabbed her as fast as I could and whipped off her diaper placing her already-somewhat-soiled-bum on that seat.


She sat there and was totally freaked out about what was happening. Yeah, she was checking the whole thing out and she wasn’t super psyched about the process of elimination.

After we were both cleaned up, I offered tons of positive praise along with a big handful of treats.

She was still not happy.

When we went near that potty later in the day she screamed NO and proceeded to run from me and slam the bathroom door.

“NO potty, NO!”

As she sat crying and kicking and fist pumping the floor (total tantrum mode) I figured we could take a break for the rest of the day.

Wondering how the rest of the week went?

Pretty much the same.

Potty training 101: Bribery


© Sarah Lipoff 2011

I know I’ve shared with you in the past how we were “attempting” potty training at our house, but I’ll be real honest, that’s mostly encompassed purchasing a potty seat and putting it in the bathroom. The wee tot finds the potty seat to be very entertaining and a great thing to walk around carrying and then standing or sitting on. But, to actually use the thing? Nope.

I do know that pull-ups are messy, pee has ended up on the living room carpet, kitchen floor, and in front of afore-mentioned potty seat when child has gone sans diaper, and that having the tot sit on the potty before getting in the tub – while the water is gushing to induce pottying – does nothing. But the minute you place her toes in that nice, CLEAN, warm water, she’ll pee like you can’t believe.

So, my half-hearted attempts have been that. Not so great. And, really, there’s no rush, I know the wee tot will potty train when she’s ready and you can’t really rush into things. But, she’s showing signs of being ready, like having predictable bowel movements, telling me when she’s gone number 2, and being really interested when anyone else is using that potty.

And I’m tired of those diapers, and I know she can do it

I KNOW she can do it.

After our Easter incident (involving a total melt-down over the discovery that the chocolate rabbit’s head comes off when you bite it – but it tastes really good, but rabbit’s head is GONE) she’s been walking around asking for, “rabbit,” which translates to “chocolate.” It finally hit me the other day how to make this potty training thing work.


This is what it’s come to – total bribery. I have a bowl full of small little chocolate goodies right there in plain sight next to that potty seat. And, for now, every time the babe takes off her diaper, sits on that seat, and has any sort of success, she’ll get a treat.

For a brief moment, I felt a bit concerned about my total okay-ness with using bribery to induce happy potty training. But, after some research, discovered that I’m not the only one doing it. My friends over at Parents are all about using the mini choco-treats, and I love how Baby Gooroo reminds that treats during potty training are beneficial, but shouldn’t be continued long-term.

As I said before, I’m not all stressed-out about potty training and whenever it happens is great by me. There’s no punishment when an accident happens in my house, just laughter and hugs. And, I’ll admit, what bugs me the most is when other parents ask me how old my child is and then gasp when I say she’s not potty trained yet (because you KNOW, girls get it before boys, right?). Each child is special and unique, which means they will potty train when they are ready and able, not by a certain age.

I’m using bribery for potty training.

I’ll let you know how things turn out…

Who loves the potty?!

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

I’ve kept you some-what updated on our potty training adventure, which has really turned into a potty training non-adventure. After getting the potty, attempting to sit on the potty lots, using the potty as a toy, carrying the potty around the house to use as a step-stool, and a couple of successes, we’re pretty much nowhere with the potty training thing.

So, the other day, when the babe tossed out, “potty!” I ran her over, sat her down, and she actually went! (Just a wee little bit – but enough to get me all excited!)

I think she was so surprised with my reaction she got a bit confused and then wasn’t sure what I really was excited about, and then she started crying.

For real.

I felt horrible. What a silly thing, and I just sat there staring at her thinking how aweful this was and how she’ll probably be traumatized for life and never use the potty ever again. Ever. Again. Never.

It just so happened I had stocked the drawer next to her little potty seat with small treats and itty-bitty items to share with her (okay, “reward” her) when she used the potty. I pulled that drawer open so fast and shoved anything I could reach under her nose trying to turn the crazy situation into a happy one, hopefully un-traumatizing the babe.

She grabbed those stickers as fast as she could and took off running. While I took care of the mess in the bathroom, she got caught up doing something – I’ll admit I didn’t really know what (because she was quiet and seemed happy and I didn’t want to disturb her so I could get a couple of things done).

When I happened upon her a little later, she had turned those stickers into a wonderfully lovely fine motor creation using her leg as her canvas.


Things I’ve learned while potty training

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve given potty training a half-hearted attempt with my daughter. Yeah, she’s young (just shy of two), but I think she’s ready for it. As a preschool teacher, I totally helped rock the potty training world of many a parent and child, but am finding this whole potty training thing in MY home to be a bit different.

And not for the better.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

Putting a potty seat in the bathroom isn’t going to magically invite your child to run and pull down her pants to pee. In fact, the potty seat is the coolest toy ever. You get to sit on it, make pretend peeing noises, tear bits of toilet paper off to toss into it, and get attention whenever you go near it. Seriously, that’s like a kid’s biggest happiest thing ever. Actually going POTTY isn’t at the tippy-top of her mind while she’s hanging out with her new toy.

Peeing with your kids wont make it happen. I’ve peed with my daughter so many times I feel like she knows more about my peeing habits than I do (yeah, gross). She tears the toilet paper for me, likes to make sure I flush, and wont let me leave the bathroom without washing my hands. AND, you have NO idea the fun that happens when she gets to hang out with the hubs when he pees.

Pull-ups are a pain in the ass. Not only are they challenging for kids to pull up and down on their own, they can be super disgustingly gross to deal with when babe has gone number two. FUN.

I’m lazy. Potty training takes diligence and I am the Queen of Procrastination. This means that taking the wee tot to the potty every 20-30 minutes to give it a go just isn’t happening. And, I don’t have her trained to get in that bathroom on her own – yet. I do have visions of ringing a bell and the babe instantly stopping whatever she’s doing and robotically heading straight to the potty….

Going free-willy isn’t happening at my house. There’s a small part of my brain that has shorted out remembering my words to potty training parents, “hey, just go without those diapers and see what happens.” Seriously? What was I thinking. I let the babe run about for just a smidge too long the other night after bath time sans diaper and she left a wonderful surprise on her bedroom carpet.

So, those are my potty training pearls of wisdom. I’m sure you’ve got your list – especially if you are in the middle of potty training at your house, too. There’s no quick fix and some kids pick it up easily while others sure take their time.

I’m hoping my wee tot figures it out on her own and one day whips off her diaper declaring herself perfectly potty trained.

I can dream, right?

Potty-training… continued

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

We gave potty training a try a couple of months ago, and due to lack of enthusiasm from my babe (and myself) our efforts didn’t really pay off. But, with the wee tot’s second birthday right around the corner, I think it’s time to really give this potty training thing a shot. So, we’re going to seriously work on potty training starting in December.

Why not start tomorrow?  Yeah, I don’t know. It just seems we need a couple of days before giving this potty training thing serious effort.

I already purchased a kid potty and have moved it to the upstairs bathroom, because we are up there more than downstairs. Makes sense, right? And, I brought up some extra diapers, wipes, and am going to pick up some pull-ups. I’m not a big fan of pull-ups (with all those cartoon-character promotions), but hey, they pull up and down easily – just like real undies.

While working the preschool gamut I helped other kids potty train, so don’t know what my hesitation is with getting started with MY child. I think a small part of me (hiding in the back depths of my brain) DOESN’T want to start potty training because it means by baby isn’t a babe anymore.


I would love to package her up and keep her just the way she is.

I know I can’t.

So, we’re starting potty training December 1st. I’ll keep you updated.

Potty Training – It’s not going to happen in one day.

I was amazed my daughter was showing signs of being ready to try the potty. So, last week, I rushed out and bought a child potty, set it up right next to the real deal in the bathroom and, by pure luck, the first time I sat her on her new potty seat, she went potty! I was totally ecstatic! My child had NO idea what was going on – or what I was celebrating about.

Every two hours I put her on the potty and hoped for another miracle. I was exhausted by the end of the second day. I think she was, too.

At first, she ran to the little potty full of fascination quickly ripping off her diaper and plopping her little tushy on the seat. She reached for toilet paper, inevitably pulled off way too many sheets, and tossed them in her baby potty throne. Then, the shininess wore off, and it was just another thing to sit on, push around, and try to pick up.

After about five days, we had both stopped running to the baby potty. I decided to not push potty training, and my daughter continued to need diapers. Instead of getting frustrated, I decided we would try again in a of couple weeks with a diligent try on the potty every two hours. We are traveling at the beginning of next month and I would hate to just start having potty training click only to have it disrupted by going on a trip. I also don’t feel like toting a potty seat on vacation.

Some parents are ready to do anything to make potty training happen, putting a potty in the car for traveling, bringing a travel potty seat that folds flat, and stopping their lives (and the others that might be with them) to have their child sit on the potty every two hours. I’m not ready for that. I don’t think my daughter is either.

So, while on vacation, I will let my daughter run about without a diaper in the comfort of grandma and grandpa’s yard to maybe experience peeing freely and getting a better understanding of her body and when it’s ready to go potty.

Hey, if it works, who cares!

Potty time?

This morning my daughter brought to my attention her need for a fresh clean diaper. She’d never done this before, sharing with me that she had soiled her diaper and was in need of a new one. At first my excitement was overwhelming – was this the start of potty training? Could it be time to sit on the potty? Is it possible I might not have to spend money on diapers and wipes and ointments anymore?

Well, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. My babe is just about 18-months and barely able to reach the toilet. She’d end up taking a bath in the potty if she actually sat on it. So, I figured it was time to purchase some potty training items and at least let her check out what sitting on the potty is all about.

Understanding that potty training isn’t going to happen overnight is the first step to toilet training success. Also, not having any expectations, not putting pressure on your child (or yourself), and keeping a positive attitude helps with the whole transition. Your job as a parent is to get your kid to sit on the potty every two hours, happily help change her when she has an accident, and allow her body in its own time to understand when its ready to say goodbye to those diapers and fully transition to using the toilet.

As a preschool teacher, I’ve assisted in potty training quite a few of the young people of my community, but this is my kid we’re talking about. I know it wont be the same.

I’ve worked with kids as old as 5 years of age that weren’t potty trained along with the child’s parents that were freaking out because of it. They had tried everything, pulled their hair out at night not understanding why their child wont kick those diapers, suffered through countless potty accidents, and tried to offer as much moral support to their older child as humanly possible (but were really about to have a potty training breakdown). I would take their youngster by the hand and help him make the transition from pull-ups to toilet success. Most times, the child just needed an extra push from someone other than his parents, who were (understandably) a bit burned out on the situation.

I’m not sure what my daughter will make of her new potty chair. She might find it an interesting toy – a spot to put her pretend car keys. Honestly, I don’t care. As long as she takes an interest in her new potty, I’m feeling positive about the direction our potty training is heading.