potty training

What?  If you know us well, you’re thinking, “Didn’t you potty train a long time ago, and isn’t Little Bear (4 months) a little young for that?”

I saved all my notes and lists from when we potty trained our daughter, before the little guy was born, so I thought I’d post them for those of you who will be starting the journey soon. We did the crash-course-all-in-one-weekend approach… and LOVED it! 

Potty training supplies: 
Diaper wipes or clorox wipes
Apple juice / lemonade
M&Ms or small treats
Underwear (optional) 🙂 / bucket with soapy water for dirty undies
Portable potty
Sticker chart (optional) – I used it for putting a sticker every time they sat even if they didn’t pee.
Lots of activities: books, chalk, coloring/crayons, balloons, animals/figurines, DVD player & movies
Easy lunch and dinner options

Day One: Stay in one room all day – we blocked off the whole kitchen and stayed in there. Set up the kiddie picnic table, rug and pillows on the floor. Set timer for 10 minutes and sit on the potty every 10 min for as long as they’ll sit there. It worked best for us with no underwear on. When she had them on she just peed out of them anyway. No undies meant easier to sit down quickly.  With each success we would clap, say yay, have her empty the bucket into the big potty, flush, wash hands and get a treat. As she “got it”, bribing with the treat ahead of time seemed to motivate.  We also found that she loved to hold the timer while she sat on the potty.  It was a digital one with buttons, so that kept her occupied.

As she started to understand we would lengthen the time slightly or readjust – if she went successfully we’d make the time right after a success a little longer than 10 minutes.

Day Two: Same as day one. Lengthen time to 15-20 minutes if they are understanding and not peeing in the potty every time on the 10 minute schedule. This gives them more time to initiate on their own rather than having the timer initiate. Add some run-around time in the house if they’ve just gone and you know you have a good time window before they need to go again. Keeps you and them from going stir crazy. :). Try to keep track of how long it is between their “hits” so you start to learn how long they can hold it.

Day Three: Same idea. Maybe don’t isolate to one room but always keep an eye on them and use timer or remind them and take them if they are not initiating on their own yet. Attempt a short trip out of the house right after a success – take a walk or do a 20-30 minute errand. We went to the grocery store to get 5 things. Tucked a towel under her in the carseat and in the shopping cart, but didn’t need them.  Success!

After this, we continued the Day Three schedule and tried to stay close to home, doing short trips out.  It took a while before she would initiate on her own and tell us she had to go, but she was great about it when we remembered to take her. Also, #2 took a little longer to get, but for some kids it’s the other way around.

Anyway, I’d highly recommend the crash course weekend!  We knew we would be dedicated to training, so nothing else could got in the way schedule-wise.  And isolating in one room prevented us from the “Oh, no.  She’s disappeared.  Where is she?” and finding her in some closet somewhere with wet pants. 🙂

What methods did you use?  Did they work?  Would you do it differently?


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