Did I really just type out that title? I still can’t believe it happened. We went from cloth diapers to pull-ups to suddenly UNDERWEAR during the day and it’s just been awesome. I’m by no means an expert on potty training, as I really have NO idea how exactly I did it. I’m just a first-time mom who picked up a few things here and there and applied this and that to Allison and it somehow worked! I just want to share the steps I took and how we got to this point to encourage those who may be having problems and to maybe give a couple new ideas!
It started about a month before Allison turned 2. I had read a couple little things about potty training and without any high expectations, I decided to start. A common item I saw with moms was the show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. If you’ve never seen it, it’s super cute and incorporates little songs that your child can learn, whether it’s to help them calm down, learn to share, or even use the potty, as there’s a whole episode revolving around Daniel Tiger using the potty. That’s the first thing I did and man, that got Allison hooked. Before we even started using the potty, she would request Daniel Tiger, specifically the potty episode, and she would just watch it over and over. I did, admittedly, get sick of it after awhile, but if there was the smallest chance that it would help, I’d keep playing it.
After watching that for a couple weeks, I finally bought a little potty chair for her, and it took a couple tries of sitting on it and getting right back up again before she realized what it might be used for, and about the second or third time putting her on it, we had a small success! It was amazing! After that, about every hour or so, I’d start asking her if she needed to potty, and she’d say no. For awhile I just stopped asking and said “Hey, let’s go potty!” because I realized she probably wouldn’t tell me she had to potty even if I asked. A lot of times she refused, and one of my mistakes was getting angry with her. I quickly learned that being angry would NOT help anything and would probably even hinder her progress, so I lightened up a lot and shrugged off any refusals. Note that at this point, she was still wearing cloth diapers so getting everything unsnapped was a bit of a hassle.
On her second birthday, her great-grandmother got her a huge box of pull-ups. They had Dora the Explorer on them, and Allison just latched on and refused diapers. At that point I knew I could probably push the potty a little more because now she could just pull everything down by herself! I took it one day at a time, taking her about every hour; sometimes she refused, and sometimes she would go, but her pull-up would be wet. With each day that went on, I realized that I was changing her pull-up less and less because she’d actually hold her pee until she got to the potty!
The first time I used underwear was right around when the above started. Allison had also gotten a pack of My Little Pony underwear, and for some reason that morning she really wanted to wear that underwear. I was going to take her to the children’s museum and I really didn’t want to have to worry about accidents, so I pleaded with her to wear a pull-up. After much screaming and tantrums, I gave in but told her, “You HAVE to go in the potty when I take you, then!” I was terrified the entire time. She actually went potty in the museum’s bathroom which made me feel much better, and then we went to Sam’s Club after the museum which caused more panic for me. She did great there and all the way home, but didn’t want to go potty before lunch. So right there in her high chair, in the middle of lunch, she just let loose. All over the floor. It’s always hard to tell how much pee a child has until it’s everywhere and you have to clean it up! We went back to pull-ups after that for a little while.
Another thing that helped was bribing. Every mom will tell you something different; you shouldn’t ever bribe your child! Or, I’ll do anything as long as it gets my child to go potty! I was the latter of the two and I don’t regret it. I bought a bag of animal crackers and told Allison that every time she sat on the potty, I’d give her a cookie. Let’s just say she did not fail me! I praised her every time she went and gave her an animal cracker. It’s now to the point where after she goes potty she’ll say “Allie eat cookie ’cause Allie’s awesome?” Every time she went, I’d tell her she was awesome, haha. It’s amazing what kids will pick up. Anyway, seriously, do what you have to do for your kids. If you have to bribe them, go for it! She is now going potty reliably, so once this next bag of cookies is gone, I’ll probably just stop and see what happens.
Shortly after the first accident, I started to get a little frustrated again when she refused to go to the bathroom. Finally, I said to her, “Okay, you don’t have to go right now. But if you need to go, it’s right there in the bathroom and you can go by yourself!” It was like a lightbulb went off, like she said, “Oh really, I can?”, because not 2 minutes later she ran to the bathroom, pulled down her bottoms, and went potty! My jaw dropped; I just couldn’t believe how easy that was. Probably about a week later, I decided to just put her in underwear all day just to see what happened. We were gonna be home all day, so why not? This child did not have a single accident! And ever since, she’s had maybe a couple tiny accidents, but other than that, she’s reliably going by herself.
Now that she’s daytime trained, I’ve got her on a simple routine of when she needs to try, and it works well.
- After she wakes up (Usually after breakfast because she refuses to take off her wet pull-up)
- Before we leave to go anywhere
- After lunch/before nap
- After dinner
- Right before bed
Everything inbetween just varies. She usually won’t go right after her nap, but she’ll hold it till after dinner. She’s also pretty good about going into public restrooms with me if we’re making multiple trips and I think we need a bathroom break.
She still wakes up wet in the mornings, and she’s still wet after her nap although about 3 times a week now she wakes up dry. We’re not quite fully potty trained yet, which I totally expected because she’s still really young, but the fact that she now uses the potty with no problems during the day just makes me so happy. First of all that she just caught on so quickly, but also the fact that I won’t need to buy as many pull-ups anymore! One package of 24 will last us almost 2 weeks because we use two a day.
If you’re still struggling with your little ones, just relax! I went into this expecting to take awhile but also respecting the fact that Allison would decide when she’s ready. Some are fully potty trained at 2; others won’t be until possibly age 4. Unfortunately, we can’t force them to use the bathroom; it’s a decision they have to make on their own. But we can still encourage them along the way, and hopefully my experience will give you some ideas and at least some hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel!