Where to Begin with Potty Training

Updated on May 08, 2007
L.H. asks from Manassas, VA
9 answers

My daughter will be 24 months old this Saturday and my husband and I think now would be a good time to start trying to potty train her. I just have no clue how to begin. She is great at telling us that she has had a BM, but doesn't say much when she is wet (unless she is soaked). She has on occassion stated that she has to go potty and has tinkled a few times in the stool. Before we switched daycares she was actually having her BM in the stool. That has stopped. When she says she has to go potty we put her on the stool even if we think she is going to play. She loves to wipe herself and flush.

My question is, do I use pull ups, training pants, or big girl panties. What is the difference between pull ps and training pants.

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answers from Washington DC on

First a question???? Is she dry when she wakes in the morning?
If so, start in the morning put on a pullup or underwear (if you have all day to train). Put on the potty first thing in the morning she should go. After that give her cup of something to drink, wait 15 to 20 min then put her back on the potty. Do this all day and if she is ready she will catch on fast.

As for the differences between pullups and training pant, training pants usually go over a cloth diaper.

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answers from Washington DC on

I'm very excited for you. I was a little skeptical about your decision to potty train her but it really does sound like she's ready.
As a mother of 4, 3 of which are older therefore potty trained, I'll tell you a little something. I don't potty train. Meaning, I don't help them along as many do. I encourage them to use the potty. I put them in appropriate clothing when they are ready, but I don't try to help them be ready. I guess I view it this way, they are like people with an addiction. They're not going to do it until they decide they want to. And if you succeed at pushing them, you're setting them up for failure.
That being said, it really does sound like she's setting the ground work for you. My next step has been to let them run around naked, if they don't care when they pee on the floor, then they really aren't ready. If they start to pee on the floor and once realizing what's happening, stops mid-stream then that's another green flag.
Finally, I don't use pull-ups except at night. No one likes changing sheets nightly. Training pants let them feel the wet. And although pull-ups say they do that now, it's not the same as feeling that wet fabric cling to their little bottoms. If you are on the go or if your daycare requires pull-ups, you can find training pants that are plastic covered like built in plastic pants. These are most easily found on ebay.
I hope all this helps and good luck. btw...my youngest just turned 2 on Saturday.

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answers from Washington DC on

In my opinion Pullups are just like diapers and do not teach them anything in the way of bladder control, only how to pull things up and down. I potty trained my son when he was 2 and it took less then a week!!! I say go directly to underwear and don't look back. If you are going to do it you have to really do it. You can't go back and forth between underwear, diapers, or pullups. She will just get confused. Expect to clean up some messes the first day or two. That is normal. She will learn her body's signals by being allowed to have these accidents. She needs to feel wet before she can recognize the feelings she feels before it happens!!! I only used pullups with my son at naptime and bedtime. We called them his nighttime underwear. Even in the week of potty training, if we had to go to the store, he wore underwear. I just took a change of clothes, a plastic bag and wipes. I made him pee before we left the house. I am a stay at home mom so I know that makes it a big easier. Hopefully you have a reliable childcare provider that will be willing to help. Start on a Friday evening. That way you have the whole weekend to get her used to the idea. Stay home with her all weekend if you have to. It may make it easier for her. Give her lots of praise and reinforcement. Do not punish or scold her for accidents. They are accidents. I would check on my son every 10 - 20 minutes (you can go longer if you know they peed recently, you don't want to seem too pushy). Instead of always asking him if he had to pee, I would say, " Are you still clean?" He would say, "Yes" and we would get so excited together. I made more of a deal about him STAYING clean then whether or not he needed to go pee. If he did have an accident I would explain to him what happen and take him to the bathroom. I would have him sit of the potty anyway (while I got things cleaned up). This helped him assosiate peeing with using the potty. I did have to MAKE him use it once or twice but that was it. It was all smooth sailing after that. They just need to feel confident and excited about the process. Again, if you are going to do it, DO IT. Get rid of the diapers and go to panty's. If she thinks she has an option of going back to diapers/pullups then she won't try as hard. Don't give her a fall back option. Have faith in yourself and with her. All party's involved (parents/caregivers) have to take an active role in the training process and be commited to it. If the child sees the parents/caregivers being frustrated then she will loose confidents and become frustrated herself. I am a child care provider and have helped to train many of my daycare kids. Make it fun, use stickers or stamps, whatever she loves.

You can do it!!
Good Luck

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answers from Dover on

Hi! Wow, you must have your hands full!!! I have a three year old and a 10 month old and I feel like I'm loosing my mind!

With my daughter, I began with just placing the potty in the living room and talking about it...and then taking her with me when I went to the bathroom. I'd also put her on the potty when she was making a "poop face" and let her go. At first she was a little resistant (I think she was scared!), but that didn't last long. We made a HUGE deal about her going. We had a little dance we'd do...and she'd laugh and laugh and laugh. I'd also give her a treat of some kind--a sticker, aome raisins, and, thanks to my mom, m&m's.

We went from that to running around naked. She peed on the floor only a few times. Mostly, she'd go find her potty and go on it. It worked great! The only drawback was that we had a difficult time transitioning to "big girl pants." When I would put them on her, she would pee in them. She would start to pee and then say she had to go. So, her panties would be a little wet. I did a lot of laundry...And, to this day (she's been potty trained for about 18 months), she will still pee in a diaper if she's wearing one. That being said, I would NOT recommend the use of pull ups. My daughter didn't distinguish between the two. Although, I guess they do work for some. Each child is different. And, I guess it's all just trial and error. Good luck!!!

Good luck!

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answers from Washington DC on

Hi! I would suggest going with the cotton training undies.... Pull-ups are absorbent just like diapers, so how can you teach a child their wet if they can't feel it!! Use the cotton training pants or just big girl undies. Target and Walmart DO carry the training pants.

We started my son less then 3 weeks ago and he's completely done (during the day). We used the cotton training pants and only pull-ups for night and nap, because he's just not ready for that yet!

As far as actually starting with her... Just wake up one morning. Take her diaper off of her. Put the training pants on her. Explain to her that you'll be working together to help her go in the potty now! She'll wet the pants at least the first day, but more like the next few, as she puts two and two together! Just whenever she wets let her know that she peed in her pants and she's supposed to go in the potty and change her! Just do it very calmly and factual. She'll eventually connect the two and you'll be well on your way to a diaper free life with her!!

Just make sure that you stay calm with her during the accidents. Praise her for trying, even if she don't go and tell her maybe next time. When she does go, even a few drops, make a BIG deal about it!! Make sure you tell her what she did and how happy that made you and don't she feel better!!

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answers from Dover on

HI L.,
The only advice i can give you on the subjuct is yes it takes time. My first daughter (whos 13now) started sitting on the potty chair at 1 1/2 years old. We got a new puppy and that was the end of that.

My second daughter was very hard to train i used pull ups on her and she basically used them as diapers. When i sent her to a new daycare at 2 years and 4 months of age. They asked me if i wouldnt mind them trying. I brought in big girl underpants and they changed her all day long. She was one of them kids that unless she felt her panties get wet or messy she wouldnt go on the potty. It took about 3-6 Months but i finally got rid of the pullups when i ran out and told her No more at night and told her she had to get up to go to the potty, at 3 years of age she was getting up in the night to do number 2 w hich i think is amazing.;..... Good luck as your24month old is definatly showing signs of readyness to use the potty. I also used the Potty Video the stores have out That really helped with my first daughter. SHe saw other babies using the potty and even learned The "POTTY SONG"
M. C

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answers from Washington DC on

Hi L.,

This is great! Although you will have challenges your child is moving into a big milestone. BIG GIRL world as me and my daughter called it. I would first start with pullups. You can take her to the bathroom in the a.m and every two to three hours in the day. Since you are working you will have to tell your daycare provider you are working on potty training and try to have her on a schedule. I started by taking my daughter everytime i went, an hour after meals and sometimes by just asking her to go sit on the pot. Once you start this she will begin to get in routine of always going in the potty no matter what she has to do. I would also do and hour or two on the weekends in traing pants ( those thick underwear or sometimes they are plastic underwear. Come three or two in a pack. I think they are made by Gerber) let her get the feeling of having on big girl underwear. She will understand that she will not like the wet feeling on her. My final step was buying my daughter big girl underwear. Allowing her to wear them around the house and showing her that mommmy, aunties, and grandma all wear them because we don't wet ourselves. We go in the potty. Now all of this will not be easy and you will have people say she is not ready. Stick to your routine and your daughter will master it. Even if she has accidents don't go backwards just encourage her to use the potty. BEST OF LUCK!



answers from Richmond on

Well i can't really help u much on the potty training b/c i have a lil boy that is 27 months old.....although i'm potty training him now also. He does pretty good. I started by buying him his own lil potty...there are so many different kinds. Anyway....try using huggies pull-ups....they have a lining in them so they can feel when they're wet. Hope that helps some.



answers from Harrisburg on

i dont know if youve tried the potty training a day book or not. but it helped me to get a different perspective. we actually bought a doll that wets and tried going through the steps and having her "teach" the doll where the potty goes. it worked a little maybe but the key for our daughter was a couple of videos that i bought online; potty power and once upon a potty. my daughter is extremely literal and a visual learner so watching other kids do it was the key. every kid is different but i think they all thrive with consistency. also we went straight for big panties, which helped me to notice when she was wetting in order to get her to the potty.

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