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How to Potty Train in 30 Days Or Less! ...at least I think so

Posted by Claire | Wednesday June 22, 20119 comments

: Newborn poop does not stink.  Not in comparison to toddler poop, that is. This is an important distinction.

Myth: Reading 427 books, having a Dalai-Lama-Zen state of mind, and gently guiding your toddler to toilet will result in a happy, productive, and ideally rapid transition from Pampers to panties.

You might be one of the fortunate few with an easy-going child. I certainly thought I was, at least at first.  That's why I started potty training my oldest at 18 months. Girlfriends, that was the longest 2 years of my life.  Yes, do the math—she was 3 1/2 years old when we finally, timidly, and cross-fingeredly declared success.

There is one cardinal rule that I conveniently forgot: Kids won't tinkle in the toilet until they are good and ready to do so. Don't confuse this with early successes—those are probably coincidental and are no measure of progress whatsoever. I guarantee you, your child is only making pee pee to score that sticker you promised them.

That's the cardinal rule, but here's an important reality check: bribes of stickers will progress to fruit roll-ups to toys that make noises to wild and desperate promises of trips to Disneyland. You will sell it, but they ain't buying it.

So after reading the books, consulting with friends of my generation, talking to the pediatrician (who by the way quoted the cardinal rule here), begging, bribing, and bawling, I turned to the one person who's really in the know: my Grandma.

"Let them run around naked," she advised. "They will only pee on their own leg once or twice and then they'll get the message." 

Normally I'd smile politely and scoff privately, but being at the end of my rope and gearing up for the potty training of my son I decided it couldn't hurt to try. (She had also suggested reverting to cloth diapers, but I had to draw the line somewhere.)

Several things happened:

1) My son learned to pee pee in the potty within the week.

2) He needed to be naked during all waking hours (putting that diaper back on is like giving permission to regress).

3) He needed to be naked during all waking hours even after being trained (because no fabric breathes as well as a Birthday Suit).


4) Every picture I have of him from that summer needed to be Photoshopped. And we became known in the postal and UPS circles as The Family Who Lets Their Wild Children Run Around Naked.

Son #1 was pee-pee trained at 2 1/2 years old, Son #2 before his 2nd birthday.

I have one more Truth to share: Pee-Pee and Doo-Doo training are two different mountains to climb. Also, you will be calling it by those names because of all the insults you want your kids to call each other while standing in line at Costco, "Bowel Movement" and "Urine" are not two of them.

Moms, do you have a potty training tip to share?
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on June 22, 2011  Creamsicle  45 said:

I've been potty training for about three months! It's true - the naked thing totally works. He's pee trained now, but the poop is still an issue. As long as he has nothing on his bum, he knows to go poop on the potty, but as soon as something (diaper/undies/pull-up) is there, he poops in it. So the opposite of my girl who trained in a week both pee and poop and never looked back. But she had just turned two when I did it with her and my boy I started a little earlier because he had all the ready signs - dry at naps, brought me diapers/wipes when he pooped so I could change him, and told me as he would standing and peeing in his diaper. I believe it's one of the hardest things to train as a parent!

on June 22, 2011  mamaluv  STAFF said:

@Takoda - you're absolutely right that if your child is not showing any signs of readiness to use the potty, you will be fighting uphill. I know parents who've trained their kids even before 1 yr old, but then it was more like training an animal in the sense that you use conditioning and repetition to achieve your goal rather than the more usual method of gentle coaxing and talking with your child.

I'm not saying it's cruel or bad to train your kid before 1 year. I just think that you will have very very mixed results at that stage and it will probably come down to the individual child.

Most doctors will also caution that since a child's bladder and bowel take time to mature, it's not healthy to force them to hold in until they are ready. Many docs advise starting no sooner than 18 months with a typical starting point of 2 years old to ensure Baby is physically AND mentally ready to participate.

Here are some interesting links:

University of Michigan:

National Institute of Health (via NCBI)

on June 22, 2011  Ali de Bold  STAFF said:

This is so funny but if scares me so much! I think I'd prefer to hire a professional to come in and do the, um, dirty work.

on June 22, 2011  TammyK  1,073 said:

Lol this article is hilarious as I'm imagining two rugrats running around naked. Potty training seems hard. I don't have experience with babies but I know it took a while for my pup to learn to go "potty" at a specific location. I'm not sure if this is a good comparison but it's all I got. Consistency is key and I agree that even though your kid gets it a couple of times, accidents will still happen.

on June 22, 2011  takoda  28,648 said:

I must agree with your
Grandma. Both of my boys were train with in one week to do both on the potty
after we let them do there business on them self a few times. They were both
around two in a half when we first tried. Ounce I took that diaper off there was
no way in hell my first son was letting me put it back on; it was his new underwear
or nothing at all. I remember waiting for him to fall asleep and the both of us
trying to take the underwear off of him and replace it with a diaper so the bed
wouldn't get wet through the night. It didn't matter how wiped out he was, as
soon as he felt the slightest touch he'd wake up and have a small fit. It
turned out that we were worried for nothing because he managed to make it
through the night from the first night the diaper came off. Thank God because
he was sleeping in our bed at the time, but that's another story. I realize we
were lucky with our first son and even luckier that our second son fallowed
right in his foot steps. I knew someone years ago that thought her baby was so
smart when she thought that they had they're daughter trained at a year. Only
to find out she wasn’t trained at all when she started sitting in the corner
and do her business right on the floor for the next three years!! I also knew
someone else right around the same time that couldn't even be bother to train
her daughter at all. It was the baby sitter that ended up trained her and she
was five by then. That was not only disgusting it was sad for the little girl!!
Every baby is different and some of us get lucky and some kids just take
longer. I think one good trick my mother told me was to watch what your baby
is doing, see if they are even showing any signs of realizing that they have
to go to the potty before you start trying to train. Good luck to all of you that are going
through this big step with your babies.

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