Monday, January 30, 2017

Potty training tips and gear.

Today marks two weeks since we've started potty training Norah. What a monumental sentence, as all parents of toddlers will understand. Potty training is definitely hard, hard work! It takes a lot of commitment and consistency. (Norah was 26.5 months, in case anyone was wondering, but not that there is one perfect age.)

Norah's potty training journey was thankfully fairly easy. Norah has been poop trained since about 20 months, mostly on her own. At first, we could just definitely tell when she was pooping, then she started to tell us after she pooped because she didn't like the feeling. A couple times I thought I would just try to sit her on the potty when she made her "poop face" and she went! Soon after she started telling us when she had to poop, and it was smooth sailing after that. I fully understand that pooping on the potty can be a big issue and normally is the harder thing to tackle, so I don't know why it was easy for Norah, but I'm very thankful it was.

Pee was different for her, on the other hand. She would occasionally pee on the potty, but it was just a fluke if she happened to be going poop. Her diaper could be so full it was sagging off her and it wouldn't bother her a bit. I tried just underwear one morning right before her second birthday, to see what happened or if she would be one of those magical kids who peed on the floor once and never wanted to do it again, but she didn't really understand or care. She realized that she peed on the floor, but it didn't really bother her or make her stop doing it. I wondered if she was ready when I tried that, but this time I knew she was ready and was way more committed. I knew she was ready because she was so consistently pooping on the potty, she is very verbal and is able to talk about what's going on in the bathroom, and she started leaking out of her diapers more, so I knew she was holding it for longer periods and then releasing more at one time.

Before Norah, I used to work in a preschool, one year in a two-year-old room and two years in a three-year-old room. I don't even remember how many kids I helped potty train that year in the twos room, but it was a lot. Because of that, people ask me a lot of questions about potty training, assuming that I must have amazing techniques. While I don't claim to be a pro by any means, here are a few potty training tips I have:

1. I know it can be hard to tell exactly, but try to figure out if your child is ready to start. Do they stay dry for a longer period of time? Is it obvious that they are pooping or do they try to hide to poop? Are they interested in sitting on the potty? There's no perfect checklist to tell when they are ready exactly, but I think it's best to wait if they absolutely do not want to sit on the potty (forcing them will not help), or if they go on the floor/in their pants and are completely clueless about it.

2. Pull-ups are not magic. They are just another diaper. I literally had a couple parents believe that because they bought their child pull-ups, that the potty training process was magically starting even without them doing anything. A pull-up functions the same as a diaper. The only positive feature I see is that you can pull them up and down, but if you're going to be practicing that and using the potty anyway, you don't need pull-ups.

3. Before starting potty training with Norah, I read the book Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki. I had heard good things about it, and was curious as to what it said. I think it was helpful, but I wouldn't say it was a necessity. She emphasized the potty training progression, from clueless, to I peed, to I'm peeing, to I need to go pee, which I thought was helpful. She also talked about potty training in blocks, starting with going naked (at least on the bottom) at first, then moving to lose pants (without underwear), and lastly adding underwear once they've got the first two. I liked that too, because I didn't realize there was such a distinction between naked and underwear. I always heard to go naked first, but I initially thought that wearing just underwear was virtually the same. It's not, because underwear still gives a tighter, protective feeling around the area, just like a diaper did. So, I would highly recommend that pattern, and go naked first, and then gradually build up to underwear! (Also, if this is not obvious, the first several days are incredibly demanding. You need to clear your schedule and be able to devote lots of time to it if you want it to work! As you begin to venture out, start with small trips where you know there will be child friendly bathrooms nearby.)

4. Make it fun. It's not fun, but at least try your best to make it tolerable. Sing songs, read books, etc. You will feel like you are sitting in the bathroom or by the little potty forever, but if you are sitting there sighing impatiently, your child will pick up on that. Norah still needs help in the bathroom and is still trying to master things like pulling pants up, wiping, etc. but it's so much better than it was in the beginning. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel! It's worth it. It's so worth it not to spend money on diapers anymore, and mostly because our twins are coming soon, so I am so glad that the timing worked out to get her potty trained before we have two newborns! Also, find out what works for your child. The book was against rewards, but for awhile we gave Norah two M+M's for pooping, and that worked for her. We still give her two if she asks for them after going, but we don't bring it up, and it's gradually decreasing and she's starting to forget. Maybe your child can get an M+M, or a sticker chart, or their favorite character on their underwear, or a special activity with you after- find something motivating, even if it's simply verbal praise and saying how proud of them you are for going in the potty.

If anyone is interested, we have the Ikea Lockig Children's Potty. I would highly recommend. It's small, and the green insert is very easy to take out to dump/clean. (We got the Summer Infant Lil' Loo Potty for grandma's house, and that one is fine too, but I don't like it as much because it's bigger.) Norah used this for months, just to try on it occasionally and when she pooped.

Once we started "official" potty training, Norah herself brought up using the big potty, so we started using the Ikea Tossig Toilet Seat, and I love that too. It just sits on top of the toilet seat, but the base is non-slip, so it doesn't move around. Norah can sit very comfortably on the toilet using this. We've even brought it to several public places (to make public restrooms seem less big and scary), and it fits on every toilet we've tried. (Another great tip I read was to pack sticky notes in your diaper bag or purse to cover up the automatic flusher signal in public restrooms, so it won't flush while they're sitting on the toilet or right as they move. Genius!)

We also got the Ubbi Potty Hook, so you can hang the potty seat on the side of the toilet when not in use.

We also have the Ikea Bolmen Step Stool, and I would definitely recommend getting this, or something similar, too, because Norah can step up to get on the potty and wash her hands herself. Anything to help foster independence is great! It's the perfect size and height. Norah could not get herself up onto the toilet without this. We also got the Ikea Forsiktig Children's Stool to compare, but I would not recommend this one (at least not at first) because it's shorter. Norah still can't get herself up onto the potty using that one, and she is very tall for her age. We kept it, though, because it will be nice for as she gets older/taller and can transition to that one. 

We got the Britax Seat Saver Waterproof Liner for our car, and so far I really like it. Norah has not had an accident in the car (thankfully), so I can't attest to how it does when wet, but I read some reviews online of different brands, and this one received the most positive reviews that I read. People said it was the best size (and it does fit very well into her car seat and is very covering without being bulky), and they said it was the most absorbent without leaking onto the carseat pad.

To all parents starting to potty train or in the midst of it, I salute you! It's hard work, but your commitment and consistency will pay off. Push through! Just think how glorious it will be when your child can use the bathroom completely independently!

It's now been two weeks, and Norah is doing so well! She still needs help in the bathroom, and still needs to get there pretty quickly when she says she needs to go, but I'm so impressed! She does pretty well at saying when she needs to go, but definitely still needs reminders too. We are now working on that part, because she doesn't like to be reminded or go when we tell her to, but we're trying to teach her those obvious times where you always go, like before/after bed and before getting in the car. I know each child is different, but for Norah I started to feel like she was getting it on day 4. Keep up the good work, parents! And way to go, Norah!


  1. Yay!!! Way to go Norah and Kelsey! These were helpful tips!

  2. A potty seat is something that will surely be part of your necessities, as soon as your child gets older! It is designed for toddlers, and serves as an alternative for diapers and adult toilets.Travel Potty Seat


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