First Time Mama Seeking Potty Training Help!

Updated on October 02, 2008
J.K. asks from Pittston, PA
7 answers

Hi Everyone!
Can anyone who's been through potty training before please offer some advice? What are the signs of readiness that your child should begin potty training? How do you know when to start? I would really appreciate any advice anyone has to offer, Thank you!!!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

It's important for parents to understand that toilet training is a learning experience. A toddler must be mentally, physically and emotionally ready to learn all the new and wonderful steps involved in a fairly complicated process.
Mentally, toddler needs to understand what potty training means, as well as what a potty, toilet and toilet paper are for. The child must be familiar with the body parts involved and should know the difference between urination and a bowel movement (even if baby talk is used, like Tee Tee or Poo Poo).

Physical sensations are important. Toddler must be able to physically "feel" the need to go potty and feel what muscles are used to pee or to poop. These skills seem to become instinctual very quickly, but first they need to be learned and practiced.

Emotionally, a child must understand that potty training or going potty is natural, safe and something that everyone does. Some children, although physically or intellectually ready, are not emotionally ready for potty training. For example, some children are actually afraid to have their bowel movement drop out from their bodies and into a toilet from where it is flushed away, forever. They fear that they are losing a part of themselves. Others may not be emotionally ready to give up the security of diapers.

Therefore it is very important for the parent or child caregiver to observe the child's state of development and then make a determination of when to begin the toilet training process.

Start watching for signs of potty training readiness when toddler is between two and three years old. Most signs are fairly obvious. Some of these include:

Body language: squatting, uneasy facial expressions, moving towards the bathroom, tentatively tugging at the diaper, perhaps trying to take it off.

Verbal expressions: Initially they may be words that are almost primitive, such as potty, pee-pee, doo-doo, tinky or cucky. Or, they may be accustomed to use more appropriate potty training expressions like: have to go, have to make, need to potty, etc.

Cognitive signs: Toddler understands the difference between wet, dry or soaked, diapers, pants or panties, big girl and big boy.

Social signs: Toddler is aware of other children who have gone through the potty training process and are no longer in diapers. Toddler seeks to be on their level and to be finished with toilet training.
Toddler will be happy to accept rewards or praise in order to please grown-ups.

Modeling signs: Toddler seeks to imitate Mom, Dad, older siblings or peers.
Other signs: Toddler clearly expresses discomfort in wearing wet or dirty diapers, and prefers to be changed into something dry and clean.
Toddler can pull up his or her own underpants and push them down around the knees for potty training and later, when using the potty or toilet.

Toddler clearly expresses that he or she needs to use the potty or toilet.

Knowing when toddler is ready to be toilet trained makes all the difference in a successful toilet training experience as opposed to a traumatic, frustrating and unhappy O.. Starting before your child expresses readiness may lead to unwanted potty training problems.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

one of the signs to look for is when they start taking their pamper off or when they lay down or indicate to you in some way that they are about to go or already went...

I also found that you must come up with a reward system to replace the attention that they were getting...



answers from Pittsburgh on

This is what worked for my son, I waited til he recognized when he had BM in his diaper. Once he would let me know that, I knew he would understand why we use the potty. Try to use the potty when you know he's going to need to use it. For instance, after he guzzles a large drink. Wait a couple minutes, then place him on the potty and wait til he pees. Make a big deal once he goes. He'll like that. Maybe do a little dance.:)
For my son, we started this kind of thing around 2 1/2 yrs, but he kind of stauled for a while so I layed off until I thought we could try again. About 3 months before his 3rd birthday, I set aside one day to stay home all day and work on his training. I set the potty in the livingroom in front on the TV, took off his diaper & put undies on and told him we were done using diapers and that it was time for him to use big boy underwear. I showed him the potty and told him to go pee and pooh in there. The first time, he peed in his pants. I didn't yell but told him uh oh, you need to use the potty, I changed him and showed him the potty and reminded him what to do. The second time, he sat on his potty but didn't pull his pants down. Progress! I praised him for going on the potty but told him he had to pull his pants down. Changed him, showed him again what to do. The third time, he made it to the potty and pulled down his pants!
He never wore diapers again! Your child will have an accident now and again in the beginning but stay positive and encourage him to use it next time. Always praise him for doing it right. He'll eventually get it.
Don't forget, if he's not getting it, wait a few weeks and try again. You'll know when he's ready.
Good luck and God bless!



answers from York on

I agree to wait for cues from your son. There's a good book called Once Upon a Potty that you can read to him. My daughter liked to flush when I went potty but I told her only those who put their pee pee in the potty get to flush for themselves. Once you start the training process it's a matter of taking them to the potty at reasonable intervals: when he gets up, in another hour & 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on if he has water/milk/juice in the morning. (I'm convinced water moves faster.) If he doesn't go then try every 15 mins or so until he does. Then try again in another 2 hrs. You'll get an idea of how often he'll go until he catches on and can tell you himself. If you ask if he needs to go he'll always say no. I don't know why they do that, they just do. I potty trained my own and 5 more as a nanny and they all say no! Then we'd go anyway and they'd pee a gallon. Take him to try anyway if it's been a couple hours or if he had a drink in the last 1/2 hour. It's quite the frustrating process and accidents will definitely happen. I found pull-ups aren't the best idea. Kids just use them as a diaper. I still used them for nap time or at night. But once you stop the diapers don't go back. Take changes of clothes instead.



answers from Philadelphia on

your child should be able to effectively communicate with you before you potty train. does he tell you when he has a soiled diaper? does he seem to be interested when you go to the bathroom? another thing you can do is buy a potty training dvd. sometimes you buy it with a training potty.
most kids are around 2.5 when they are ready to be potty trained.



answers from Philadelphia on

I am of the school that your child will tell you when it's time instead of you (the parent) telling them it's time. Try to reinforce what big boys/girls do in regards to wearing big boy/girl underwear and not a diaper or going on the potty as apposed to in their diaper, etc.

Also use other children comparable to your sons age as an example. Say things like, "Look at so-an-so... wow they have big boy/girl underwear on! Don't you want to have underwear on too? Don't you want to be a big boy/girl too?"

Hope that helps :) Good luck.




answers from Philadelphia on

I have already trained my oldest, about a year ago, and my son is now on the brink of readiness. Even though I just went through this last year I still find myself asking myself "How do I know when he is ready?" "How did I approach it with my daughter?" My son in 2 1/2 and is on a kick of removing his own diaper randomly throughout the day. I decided to try pull ups because he would have to remove his pants and not just pull the tabs to get it off. These new style of diapers have inspired him to try the potty. Its still a novelty, but he takes himself in there whenever he wants to and tries. I give him a piece of candy for peeing, and he pooped the other day. That warrented him a trip to Target to get the beloved Little Einsteins computer I have been promising after a poopy on the potty. With my daughter I let her take the lead and did not pressure her to go. Before I knew it she was choosing to go on her own and there were no control battles. I think the more relaxed you approach the situation the better, I have found this works for my kids. Sorry I do not have a ton of answers but I hope this helps.

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