Monday, June 17, 2013

Potty Training Made Easier: Supplies without Expense

At this moment I can say that I have 99% successfully potty trained four children - three boys and one girl. 

Wow!  I think that deserves a Sonic Limeade to celebrate!  Anyone else every feel like celebrating milestones like these?

Potty training is one of those things that many parents dread.  It is messy, frustrating, and is almost completely controlled by a child whose favorite word is "No!"

Honestly, I love the beginning stages of potty training.  My child and I spend quality time together reading many books over and over again.  I see the child's vocabulary blossom because of it.  I love the quality time that we have together.

How can a mom love potty training?

I believe potty training happens in three steps, does not require a bunch of expensive supplies, and shouldn't add to a mommy's gray hairs. 

In this blog series, I will share the supplies we used and the specific steps and tips that I have learned along the way as well as answers your FAPTQ (Frequently Asked Potty Training Questions).  Be sure to "Follow" our blog (to the left) and "Pin" this post to your boards so you don't miss any tips.

First, here is how potty training has looked in our house.

As with many first time mommies, I started potty training our oldest with excitement and gusto - way too early.  After a few non-successful days, I realized pretty quickly that he was not ready.  So, we waited until Bubs was almost three and had a super easy and quick success story. 

Sweet Pea woke a couple weeks after her second birthday asking to wear "big-girl underwear."   Three weeks later and she was completely potty trained!  It could not have been easier.

Potty training Little Man was very typical of life with our third child.  He wanted to start using the potty at 23 months.  This lead to him being 90% potty trained for about nine months.  Yuck!

Peanut followed suite in wanting to use the potty before his second birthday.  Thankfully I learned some tips after the mess with Little Man and this process was not nearly as painful.  After six months, he is 99% potty trained.  In honesty, this process has taken longer because I haven't been as consistent and we are away from home more than when I trained the other kids.

Four different kiddos.  Same mom.  Basically the same method. Yet the process looked different with each child.  One was two years old with quick success, another was three years old.  One was a stinker, another was super easy.  Number one point to remember:  personality plays a huge factor in this process.  

Now for the supplemental materials! 

Potty Training Supplies:

Honestly, I was like everyone else.  I bought into the commercialism of potty training thinking that by purchasing the right stuff my child could quickly have success.  I soon learned that it was more about the process and personality than the supplies.

Toilet Seat: 

In all of the toilet seats and chairs that we purchased, the seat that set on a normal-sized toilet was by far my (and my kiddos') favorite.  Secure Comfort Potty Seat is similar to the seat that we used.  I found that my toddlers liked the handles and the high shield was perfect for the boys.  Make sure that the shield is at least 2" high if you have boys. 

The negative about using a seat is that the child has a hard time getting on and off the potty.  But for some reason our kiddos preferred the big potty over a little chair on the floor and me helping them on and off was worth their comfort.  Secondly, if you go somewhere without a set the child feels insecure on the big potty.  Because of this, I also train our children to sit on the toilet backwards.  (More on this later.)


While pullup companies have done a very good job of causing parents to assume that pullups are the next step after diapers, I suggest bypassing this part of the sequence and going straight to underwear.  I found that our kiddos didn't feel the wetness and discomfort with a pullup like they did with underwear.  The discomfort can be the #1 reason for success.

Two types of underwear are available.  The first are Training Pants.  They are nice because of the added thickness allowing them to hold more of a mess. 

Going straight to Boys Briefs or Girls Panties is the second option.  My kids like the briefs because often times they are available with cool characters!  (Toy Story, Cars, Thomas the Train, Dora, Hello Kitty, puppies, etc.)  And, they look like big girl or big boy underwear.

If we were going to be outside or staying on tile, our kiddos just wore underwear.  But when carpet was involved, I liked a little more security and quickly learned to place a diaper over the top of  underwear to catch any accidents.  They still felt the wetness of the underwear but I didn't have to deal with wet floors. 

Why diapers and not pullups to catch accidents?  Diapers are so much less expensive than pullups.  Once we began potty training, I put the diaper on like underwear (with the child standing up) and my kids never knew the difference. Cheaper and same result. 


To begin the potty training process, I suggest using a Digital Timer to keep track of when the child needs to go potty.  (A cell phone app will work as well.)  A little timer allows you to keep it with you wherever you go.  (More on this tomorrow.)


For this supply item, you will have to choose what works best to motivate your child.  This could be a sticker, M&M, Skittle, chocolate chip, or whatever prize that you can give your child immediately after a successful potty run!  Keep it small and easily assessable. 

One word of caution.  Don't allow the incentives to turn into bribes.  Don't try to bribe your child to use the bathroom by upping the ante.  Pick an incentive and stick with it. The incentives are to help the child begin using the potty, not continue to use the potty.


More liquid in means more liquid that has to come out.  Juice is wonderful because most kids like it and it causes more potty times!  But, use any liquid that your child likes. Successful attempts lead to rewards.  The positive reinforcement leads to a child being potty trained.

There we have it.  Five simple items needed at a total cost of less than $25 most likely. 

Come back tomorrow as I will share how to use these items for easier potty training success!

What potty training questions do you have?

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