5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile
Mar 20 2008

babytips.gifI babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  To read other great tips, check out the baby tips category.

Note: We didn’t use the above potty training contraption available from Amazon.  I just thought it was a cute picture, and I might have tried it out if I had known about it. 🙂

5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile
by Aruni Gunasegaram

My kids are now 5 ½ and 3 years old and fortunately the potty training gods smiled on us because both were day-time trained around 2 ½ years of age.  Thankfully, our oldest (a boy) was trained about 2 months before our daughter was born.  He wore Pull-Ups at night until he was 4 but our daughter quit wearing pull ups when she was about 2 years and 9 months old.  Ah, it’s so nice not to have buy diapers or Pull-Ups anymore!

They each had a couple of night time accidents and we had a few more sheet changes with our son, but overall a less traumatic experience that I was bracing myself for.   We did the following with our kids.  Try these tips out and hopefully they’ll work for you.

1. Observe the signs. If your child is waking up dry from nap or night for at least a couple of weeks that is a big clue to start potty training. There are so many reasons to ‘ignore’ or not want to ‘see’ the signs that having your spouse, close friend or in our case a pre-school teacher throw some cold water in your face can really help. I was 8 months pregnant when our son’s pre-school teacher said you MUST potty train now. I was thinking to myself “are you crazy woman?! I can barely pick myself up let alone a toddler onto a potty.” I figured I’d wait until after the baby was born. I had been picking him up from pre-school and putting on a diaper/pull-up because I didn’t want to be unnecessarily cleaning a car seat. After being sternly warned by the teacher not to do that, I ended up putting a towel down on his car seat just in case.

2. Be consistent. When you are potty training make sure to take your toddler to the potty at least every 2 to 3 hours during the day. After a few weeks you’ll start to see the time between potty visits diminish. We observed that most accidents happened if we had forgotten to take them to the potty or were afraid to take them to the potty when they were in the middle of doing fun stuff for fear of the inevitable kicking and screaming.

3. Morning and Night. As soon as they wake up (even if it’s the crack of dawn and you’d much rather scream out loud than take them to the potty) put them on the potty. Even if they refuse to go, this will get them associating morning time with potty time and show them it’s OK to get up to go to the potty than to wet the bed. The same goes for night time. Put them on the potty right before going to bed so they create the same night time association as well.

4. Read a designated potty book. One of the things that worked really well for us with our son was identifying a potty book. I actually got this tip from Keys to Toilet Training by Meg Zwieback. Every night when we put him on the potty, we would read the same book to him. Since he was (and still is) so active, getting him to sit on the potty for any length of time was challenging. He liked reading the ‘potty book’ and because he sat longer he more often than not used the potty! This technique didn’t work so well with our daughter because she was fairly quick in going so she didn’t need to be entertained for long. Must be a girl thing (i.e., we’re less inclined to read newspapers and magazines while sitting on the toilet than guys are!)

5. Encourage and Reward. It is so important that you encourage and reward your toddler for going to the potty. You can do this with hugs, creating a chart, treats, activities, toys, etc. With our kids we used a chart that we would put smiley faces on when they went to the potty and sad faces if they had an accident. The chart gave them a visual to see how they were progressing and the act of us drawing a smiley face would make them so proud and happy! We also hugged them, gave them high 5’s, clapped, and sometimes gave them a Gerber fruit snack treat. When they went several days in a row without an accident, they would get to do something fun, get a treat, or better yet chose their own Spiderman or Dora the Explorer underwear!

Every child is different so try these tips and come up with your own that fit your unique situation.  We used these tips and achieved pretty good potty-training results.  Now, don’t go asking me about baby sleep tips because I’m still trying to figure out which ones worked and which ones didn’t!

The author of this article, Aruni Gunasegaram, is the President/Founder of Babble Soft, which offers web and mobile software applications that facilitate communication between caregivers by helping them with breastfeeding support bottle feedings, mom’s pumping, baby sleep patterns, diapers, immunizations and medicine doses as well as baby’s first year photo album.


If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:

Ten Tips To Keep Your Toddler Occupied on A Plane by Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby

Networking And The Stay At Home Parent by Thom Singer of Some Assembly Required

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble of Maryamie

Throw A Baby Kegger For Your Buddy by Clay Nichols of DadLabs

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, toddler tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

14 Comments on “5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile”

  1. 1 mrsmogul said at 11:41 AM on March 20th, 2008:

    Thanks for writing this! My son is almost 26 months and I have time to potty train him but have no idea how to. BUt your tips were good and I might use the chart and treat idea!

    mrsmogul’s last blog post..Playgrounds are like secret drug dens

  2. 2 GeekMommy said at 1:18 PM on March 20th, 2008:

    Great article!!

    It is a little different with each kid I’ve noticed – but these are some great general rules!

    We did a chart, but it was one that K and I made together, then every time she used the potty, she got to put a Disney sticker on it – whenever she got to the end of a row (7 times) she got a ‘small’ reward (usually a toy from the grocery store) when she filled up the whole chart, we went to Showbiz Pizza for a ‘Potty Trained Party’

    We did that twice… and she was over needing stickers and fully trained.
    She was night trained about 1 month after that.

    But as I said, each child is somewhat different.

    These are a fabulous set of ground rules tho!! 🙂

    GeekMommy’s last blog post..Baby Got Follow-Back

  3. 3 Blogsvine said at 5:24 PM on March 20th, 2008:

    5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile

    5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile 🙂

  4. 4 Aruni said at 6:13 AM on March 21st, 2008:

    @mrsmogul – I’m glad it was helpful. Let me know how it goes!

    @GeekMommy – you are right that each kid is different. Using stickers is a great idea!

  5. 5 Deborah Smith said at 6:50 AM on March 21st, 2008:

    Hi Aruni,

    Great tips. Glad my kids are past that stage now. I saw the cutest potty chair on ABC’s AM show yesterday. I was on the treadmill with my IPOD on so I didn’t get the name of it, but it detects when the child has gone potty and spits out stickers to go on a chart. So cute. They may have info on their website about it.

    Also, you might want to contact my Baby Nurse friends at http://babydreamteam.com/ for their advice on getting babies to sleep. These ladies are trained experts in the field.

  6. 6 entrepreMusings » 5 Tips For Your Child’s First Haircut said at 10:31 AM on March 25th, 2008:

    […] 5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile […]

  7. 7 Karen said at 11:22 AM on March 25th, 2008:

    Great Tips! I used potty training rewards. The audio and chocolate treats were powerful incentives to fully potty train our son. He loved pushing the button hearing he is a Big Boy. He was peeing and pooping in his potty within a week. I know every child is different, but have a look and see if this would work for you. http://www.pottytrainingrewards.com

  8. 8 Aruni said at 5:23 PM on March 25th, 2008:

    @Deborah – a potty that spits out stickers is pretty interesting! Thanks for the link to baby dream team.

    @Karen – thanks for the link to potty training rewards site. I think chocolate would motivate me to do almost anything. 🙂

  9. 9 monita said at 11:19 AM on April 2nd, 2008:

    My daughter is 3years old.She only uses toilet to go pee and when she wants to poo, she will cry for her diaper.I try putting her on the toilet but she would not do it.She would not go poo for almost 2 days.Then we feel sorry for her and put her diaper on and then she would poo in her diaper.
    Somebody please help me with this.
    I do not know what to do anymore.

  10. 10 Aruni said at 7:45 AM on April 3rd, 2008:

    Hi Monita – I’ve had a few friends who have had the same issue. It took them time, and sitting their kids on the potty with the pull-up/diaper still on. They would then open the pull-up/diaper and let their kids watch how easy it is to have it go in the potty and flush it.

    If you haven’t already tried, you can reward her with something she likes if she goes on the potty.

    Good luck!

  11. 11 Jill Notkin said at 1:51 PM on April 8th, 2008:

    Ok then, guess it’s time to remove the diapers & pull-ups… She’s almost 2 and almost trained herself!

  12. 12 Aruni said at 7:57 AM on April 10th, 2008:

    Hi Jill – That’s great news about your daughter. I hope it all goes smoothly when you drop the diapers and pull-ups. 🙂

  13. 13 Kelly said at 2:30 PM on April 25th, 2008:

    Hi. I’m Kelly. I have a 5 year old daughter and a son who will be 3 in july. My daughter was potty trained in 2 days, but my son does not seem interested. He is dry most nights, and stays dry for 2-3 hours during the day. How do I get him interested?

  14. 14 Aruni said at 3:30 PM on April 27th, 2008:

    Hi Kelly – you can try some incentives like I mention in this post. If he likes certain toys or has a favorite character, he might be motivated by the fact he could get them if he goes potty. Good luck!