Friday, August 12, 2011

Potty Time!

We did it! My daughter has crossed over from diapers to real underwear adorned with princesses! Phew! I was beginning to think it wouldn't happen.
I've welcomed any advice during the frustrating period of time and thought to share our family's story with any of you who will relate.

Disclaimer: there are many ways to approach this milestone and many factors such as knowing when your child is emotionally or physically ready to the personality of your child. These tips come from my personal experience with one of my children that I hope might be helpful for you.

How our family did it:
  • Both parents getting to that moment of it's all or nothing: After more than 6 months of modeling, occasional weekend training, and carrying potty books wherever we went , I literally said to my daughter, "oh oh, no more diapers left." Then had to explain we couldn't go to the store today to buy more so it's time to keep trying to go potty all day. After that, there is no turning back- so be prepared!
  • An incentive: My daughter needed that gentle push in the right direction into embracing the all or nothing approach. In addition to PLENTY of high-fives and hugs and calling someone almost every time she went potty, we started giving her 1 M&M for recognizing it's time to potty and telling us and another M&M for completing the job. It only took about 4 days of M&Ms! (note: we are so excited still that we continue the high fives and hugs:)
  • Trust: This is hard, especially if you have other children to look after. Did she really go potty- it doesn't look like it, or questioning incessantly that she must need to go now since it's been a couple of hours. I have been there, take a breath and trust your child. If you show her you do, she'll develop good confidence and self-esteem.
  • Patience/body language: If you model patience, your child will have less stress and pressure. At some point your child will want to learn because his or her friends or cousins have graduated from diapers to underwear. Accidents? Well they happen, it's a part of learning. Praise her for her effort in trying to go and remind her were to go potty or teach her about what happened and how she can recognize to use her muscles down there to hold the pee until she makes its to the bathroom. It's a team effort and empathy, patience, positive reaction go a long way.
  • REAL cotton underwear: what can i say- there is nothing like feeling wet to get the message through. We've found that using the disposable training pants did not work for us...she never felt wet and thought it was a diaper. They did come in handy for overnight though.
  • Books (and sometimes video to reinforce): We are a bilingual house so any potty books for girls in the Polish language were golden.
I would say it can be summarized by this formula:
Successful potty training = Preparing ahead of time with reading books/ asking others to help you develop your own approach with each unique child + reading books with your child to introduce potty time and then reinforce your modeling + patience and understanding
+ potty supplies!

Here are some resources to get you started:

Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel Editions available for girls and boys and Spanish and Polish languages.

The Potty Book for Girls by Alyssa Satin Capucilli Editions available for girls and boys.

Danny is Done with Diapers: A Potty ABC by Rebecca O'Connell

On Your Potty, Little Rabbit by Kathleen Amant


  1. What a relief that must be for you! Thanks for sharing your story and offering advice.

  2. I know for my niece we used PEZ candies in princess dispensers... she LOVED them (and still does!)

    We also sing a lot of songs... the 'pee pee in the potty' dance from the movie 'Look Who's Talking', and some others we make up such as the Black Eyed Pea's song 'Rock that Body' made into 'Rock that Potty'. It makes it fun for us as well as for her.


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