Potty training tips from two nanas

My mom and nana hadn’t even been here for 24 hours before they had potty-trained our child. It was like it was no big deal, and right before my eyes, she went from a baby in diapers to a KID who will tell me she needs to go potty, go, and then ask for jelly beans. I’m still in shock.

For quite a while, we’ve been casually approaching the potty training thing. I figured when she was ready it would happen, I bought her a cool potty seat with princesses on it, and some organic jelly beans from Whole Foods (chocolate chips and natural mini marshmallows work well, too). We would ask her occasionally if she wanted to sit on the potty, and afterwards, she got one treat for trying and three if she went. (Just a warning to the world: to many non-parents the entire content of this post may be a little cringeworthy. Also, pre-kid I would have scoffed at the idea of using treats for potty training. Now I know that it totally works. ) Apparently we weren’t consistent enough about it. I had read things about the 3-day method online, and to be honest, the thought of her running around the house naked with the ability to erm, relieve herself on the rugs made me break into hives. So I decided not to roll with that method, keep it fun and casual, and trust that Liv would tell me when she was ready to really start potty training. 

I didn’t have to.

Because, the nanas aka potty wizards swooped in and made it happen.

 


Potty training tips

My nana handed Livi a small wrapped package and when she opened the pack of Minnie Mouse panties, she was ecstatic. She handed them to me and asked me to wash them so she could wear them :)

After they were clean (plus some more cute ones that the nanas got her at Target), we’ve been diaper-free ever since (except for nap and bedtime). We’ve even gone on outings and knock on wood, no probs at all. It’s pretty amazing! 
I asked my mom and nana to share their potty training tips since they’ve been through the ringer (seven kids between the two of them + six grandkids) and can obviously work some magic.

Here’s what they had to say:

-Set up a routine. Take them to the potty first thing when they wake up to start the day. They’ll also need to be asked during meals since their little digestive system starts working, mid-morning, before and after nap, mid afternoon and before bed. 

-Ask them ALL the time if they have to go potty and give them the opportunity to go. The first day, I’m sure this is why we had no accidents because they may have asked her a thousand times if she needed to go potty. Consistency makes a huge difference.

-Commit. Once they’re occasionally going in the potty, give them chance to go in the morning and put them in underwear the rest of the day (except for naptime). Ask them all the time if they need to go, give them lots of liquids, and give them the opportunity to go often throughout the day.

-When they’re successful, make it a huge party. I may or may not do the most ridiculous potty dance when we have success. I’m already embarrassed typing this post so I might as well put it all out there. 

-When it doesn’t happen, no big deal. You try again later. My mom said today that we need to get a little timer so that if the timer goes off and she hasn’t gone yet, we’ll just try again later. She’s already noticed that it can be a huge delay tactic.

-Keep an extra set of clothes and a ziploc bag in the car, just in case. If they have an accident, don’t make them feel badly about it. Just tell them “pee pee goes in the potty” and leave it at that ;)

Some of the things that Tom and I did:

-Don’t force it. We kept things lighthearted and fun, and never made it feel like it was something she HAD to do. We gave her lots of praise when she wanted to give it a whirl.

-Get a potty seat they like. We also have this Baby Bjorn one, but the princess one really got the ball rolling. They also have the little potties that are more convenient for the kids to get to, but I didn’t want something extra to sanitize throughout the day.

It’s been an exciting week over here :) Mamas: any tips or tricks that worked well for you? Please share in the comments! I’ve found that just like switching to her big girl bed, it wasn’t as big of a deal as I thought it would be. But then again, the nanas took care of this one :)

xoxo

Gina

 

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Comments

  1. Rebecca says:

    I love fruit-infused water! Watermelon, strawberries, lemon, lime… Anything works :)

  2. So awesome! Go Nanas! :) I will admit, the thought of potty training immediately gives me anxiety and I do NOT look forward to it. This post gives me hope! I think the biggest piece of advice I’ve been given as a whole re: potty training is to not force it. Kids will learn better when they’re ready. Thanks for sharing, Gina!

  3. Amber Schumann says:

    That’s AWESOME news! Congratulations on the milestone!

    I’ve been casually entertaining my daughter’s interest in the potty for several months now (she’ll be two in July). She had a really early interest in sitting on it (the real one, not a trainer), so we gave it a whirl. Whenever she asked, we gladly let her (and yes, I also performed the most goofy potty dance ever–also helped while she was on the potty waiting for “it” to happen. I mean, gotta cater to the stage fright, right??). And she got a sticker when she actually “went”.

    Eventually, I decided to train full-force one weekend. Cute undies (“We don’t want to get Ariel wet!”, timer, stickers, potty seat, the works. In true Baylie fashion, she resisted as soon as we tried to get her to do it. Potty regression….

    And that’s where we stand now. I’m thinkin this weekend I may up the ante with candy instead of stickers.

  4. One thing to keep in mind… once your sweet little girl has been consistent for a while, lay off the asking. I didn’t do this with my daughter and it toooooootally backfired. She began to feel like the potty wasn’t in her control (which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is a toddler’s M.O. Heard “I do it myself” lately? :)) so she started having accidents again after a few weeks of doing great. So I started only asking before we left the house and when she was dancing around, and left the rest to her. She’s been good ever since! Just wanted to share something I learned the hard way!

  5. Thankfully my oldest son was really easy. He just hated being dirty, so the caca happened first, and he only had accidents when he was sick on that front. He did wet himself more often, but we did elimination communication (we have no carpet and LOTS of cloth diapers scattered around for clean-up). We also live in a warm climate, so running naked was no big deal. Then of course we made up a potty song which always got giggles, and he watched us “go” and not freak out.

    So that part of it for him was easy. We still struggle with overnights (he’s 4) since he regressed after we moved, he started school, and we brought a baby brother home…

    Our biggest issue was public toilets. He did not want to use them. He was terrified. But, since he’s a boy, it was easy to go outside if we absolutely had to, and we could be discreet about it.

    Our little one is now nearly 7 months, and we have successfully gotten two “hits” with him. I’m not forcing anything and we don’t really have much of a schedule, but he’s happy to sit when I take him, so we just want him to be comfortable on a toilet. This is a pretty common thing to do in a lot of countries, so I hope I’m not the only crazy mom out there working on toileting her infant. :)

  6. Livi is so lucky to have two wonderful nanas! I have made a passive start to potty training, like you, but we have committed to a school in the fall that requires kids to be potty trained so I am thinking it needs to happen sooner rather than later. Thanks for the tips!

  7. Yay for no more diapers! These are all really great tips. The only thing I’ll add is that this will only work if your kid is ready!

  8. Crystal says:

    Moms and Grandmas always have the best advice imo! So glad it’s going well so far :)

  9. Congrats to liv!

  10. Kristen says:

    That’s such a big step! Go Livi go, no pun intended ;)

    I think these are great tips. My only two cents to add is, as someone mentioned above, all the tricks in the world will not work if the child is just not ready. I don’t want other parents or caretakers to get discouraged when they can’t find that “magic trick” that works. Some kids potty train before the age of one and some not until much much later. As much of a pain in the ass that may be for the adults involved, it’s not fair to the child to be pushed if he/she isn’t ready. Patience is key (easier said than done, I know).

  11. Michele C says:

    Yayyyyyyyyyyy Liv! Accidents do happen and it’s totally fine! Levi has been in underwear since the week after his 2nd bday (December 19) and unfortunately he still has accidents. Not everyday, and sometimes he’ll go a week or two but it happens. We started with the ‘POTTY WATCH’ look on amazon! You can set the timer to go off I think every 10,15,20 minutes. And it’s fun for them to wear a cute little watch that happens to be shaped like a potty. Lol. It was $9.99 and well worth it! Give her kisses for us and tell her we’re soooooo proud! Miss you guys!

  12. Congrats! It’s a whole new world once you leave the diapers behind! We used sticker charting and went cold turkey and right into big kid undies which both of my kids loved. This is such a helpful post for all moms and dads setting out on the potty training adventure!

  13. Way to go nanas! My sons daycare did the majority of his potty training. I was very grateful! One easy tip for boys is have them “aim” for a Cheerio.

  14. Michelle says:

    Consistency is key! I never used pull ups (except while sleeping) right to underwear (which we made a special trip to Target and let him pick them out himself. He got Mickey so I told him that he needed to keep Mickey nice and dry) and never looked back! I used treats as well, whatever works, right! I also used bribery, the first day my son had an accident by going #2 in his pants, no biggie just told him that he shouldn’t do that in his underwear. Day 2 he came running up to me asking me for a diaper, I asked why? And he was almost crying asking for a diapee. I told him he needs to go poopy in the potty, “nononono” was his response. I told him he could have Mac & Cheese for dinner -a rare thing at our house- if he did it in the potty. He went and we haven’t had an issue since. But that summer he realized he could pee where ever he was when outside so it seemed like every time I turned my back, there he was with his pants down to his knees and his short up over his belly peeing. Our neighbors got some good views that summer!

  15. Krystle says:

    Re: potty parties… For 3 days everyone in the house had party hats and kazoos. Every time she went we put our party hats on and made a huge deal out of it! Totally worked!

    • Rebecca Meier says:

      That is a smart idea! I’m thinking of doing the 3-day potty training method on our son (he turned 2 in Feb) and my best friend used it with both of her boys, said it worked like a charm. But I like the idea of making a party out of every successful potty trip, makes it more “fun” too I bet :)

  16. Are they still in town? Do they want to come to my house?! I’m praying we can make this happen in the next 10 weeks. :-/

  17. Brittany says:

    That is amazing! My brother potty trained me! We would go in the bathroom and he would sit on the toilet and I would sit on the small plastic potty and we would have juice together and we would laugh and talk for a long time and then I would stand up and, the rest is history!

    When my nephew was potty training, his potty seat had Elmo on it. Every time he had to go… erm… #2, He would casually say “Elmo”. We would all start yelling “Elmo! Elmo!” as my sister in law rushed to bring him to the bathroom! It was so funny!

  18. heather says:

    I totally agree with putting them in real underwear and sticking with it. If you keep them in the training pants they can’t feel the pee as much and will just keep using it like a diaper. We learned that little tip form my oldest daughter’s lead teacher when she was two. Sue had 5 kids (maybe 6) of her own, then spent years working in childcare. She was a potty training wizard. Sadie had been using it some, but like you, we weren’t in a rush. But one day Sue told us she thought Sadie was ready and asked us to send her in regular panties the next day with extra clothes. Sue totally didn’t mind if there were accidents. Sadie peed in her panties one time, didn’t like the feeling of being all wet and having to change her clothes. From that day on we were done with pull ups! Feeling the wetness helps. They don’t like it and will avoid it.

  19. Thank you thank you thank you! We’ve been taking the same approach you were with our little one. I just haven’t committed to it because I figure when she’s ready we’ll know. I just need to do it.

  20. HILARIOUS. My MIL has been here the last week and totally took over potty-training Emmalyne and I have to say that she did ALL of the same things! Have to admit I was happy to pass the buck on this one …. and crossing my fingers she will ultimately potty train Bryn too haha.

  21. My mom said when she started potty training me she would just wake me in the middle of the night and put me on the toilet. She said I didn’t even wake up haha. I think she had to do it for awhile because I couldn’t make it through the night! Still can’t : )

  22. I just wanted to have that regression is a normal part of the potty training process. It’s normal for children to regress in using the toilet when they are developing other skills. It will come and go and that’s totally fine.
    Before I had a kid I thought that development was a straight line but there are lots of bumps along the way :)

  23. That is great! She must have been ready! :) We struggled with my daughter and eventually our daycare asked us to just bring her in underwear. That did the trick! A day later she was good to go. We found she wasn’t ashamed to have accidents at home, but she was at school. Another helpful tip was to tell her to go, rather than to ask. This worked after she had gotten the hang of it; she is very headstrong and asking would always result in a “no!!”

  24. I love your Liv posts since they always mirror what’s going on in my house :) Several months ago my son was doing well w/ potty training for about a week (with pull-ups, stickers, candy), but then just like that stopped wanting to go. I didn’t push the issue but he will need to be potty trained for preschool in Sept so I will definitely be trying the underwear tips sometime soon! Thanks everyone!

  25. Ok, my Mom is coming to visit in July and now I know what her duty is going to be:)

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