Potty Training 911 by Liz Nord

A couple of months after my first daughter turned three and out of complete desperation, I bought a book called Toilet Training in Less Than a Day. The Arrin-Foxx “scientifically tested new training method—for the average child–required less than four hours!” Holy cow!  I thought I had hit pay dirt. This would be the answer to my daughter’s potty training problems.

I had already read every book and magazine article humanly possible and had asked everyone I knew for advice. I read and heard things like: use cloth diapers, don’t use pull-ups, use pull-ups, don’t give treats, give lots of treats, put kid on potty every ten minutes, get mad, be patient, don’t make a big deal about it, don’t let them leave the bathroom until they go, get them their own potty chair, get a soft seat cover for big potty, get a potty training doll, let them pick out cool underwear, use consequences, keep your kid naked all day, and hold them over the big person toilet until they pee (Seriously!?!)…the list goes on and on. I should have been the potty training expert—I had tried almost everything! Nothing worked—nothing.

I read Toilet Training in Less Than a Day. Clearly, Bella was not the “average child.” This book did nothing for us, except possibly raise my blood pressure and feelings of inadequacy, and stress out my daughter. Bella is super strong-willed and looking back, it is clear to me that she did not want to potty train and there was no way or method that was going to work until she was ready and willing. Although that temperament can be challenging at times, I love that she has a strong mind of her own (I’m sure I’ll eat those words during her teen years).

So, another month passed. We went to her older cousin’s fourth birthday party, which was at a kid’s beauty boutique. They were getting their hair, makeup, and nails done. They were to come dressed up in their fanciest dress. Bella was REALLY excited! I casually said something like, “Listen Bella. All the girls at the party wear big girl underwear, so if you have an accident in your pull-up, just let me know, and I’ll quietly take you to the bathroom to change you.”

This party was a big deal to her and those were accidental magic words. She did not have an accident and she never peed in her pull up or underpants again. She saw all those big girls who were no longer wearing pull-ups, and that was enough. She made up her mind. It was her choice. Wow–I wish that birthday party would have come sooner. I’m not saying take your daughter to the beauty parlor to get glammed up, I’m saying  I wish that I would have relaxed more and sooner.

When it was time for our second daughter to potty train, I was in a different state of mind. I didn’t expect her to potty train “in four hours”, four days, or even four months. I had relaxed. A few Skittles and a soft seat cover over the big girl potty worked for her. It’s amazing how different children’s temperaments can be and it blows my mind how letting go and relaxing can make all the difference in the world for everyone. No stress, no fireworks, and no freaking!

How did you potty train your children? Was it easy or stressful? If you have more than one child, did you find your experience with each child was completely different or the same? Any tips and tricks you would like to share?

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stacey
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 09:37:48

    Every kid is so very different. I’ve had a couple of easy ones and a couple that I thought would go to kindergarten in diapers. The more kids I have, the less important I find it to potty train. I get around to it eventually, and even though some of them have been older, I’ve yet to actually send a child to kindergarten in diapers! With that said, I hate potty training!


  2. Marcie Jones
    Feb 09, 2011 @ 07:38:48

    With my first child it took a while, she was 3 1/2 before it happened. We tried the peeing doll, videos, reward stickers and all that jazz, but she just didn’t get it and once she did she would pee on purpose because she liked to change clothes. True story. She is, BTW, still really oppositional and has ADHD and I think that had a lot to do with it.

    With my son it was easy, we did the “no pants” method– he went pantsless in the house (fortunately it was summer) and we put the kid potty in whatever room he was in and reacted naturally if he started to pee (“OMG! Get on the potty! Hurry!”) and cheered effusively whenever he went on it. After about a week he had that down, then we moved him into loose sweatpants and finally underwear. He was totally potty trained in about two weeks.

    So I am now of the opinion that disposable pull-ups, videos, stickers, candy, etc. don’t work if kids can’t tell when they’ve peed or know how their bodies work– they need pantslessness for body awareness. But of course the neighbors will think you’re weird, and you risk befouling of your rugs and whatnot.


  3. Christina Marie
    Feb 09, 2011 @ 20:45:29

    When my fourth child was nearing potty training age he became very interested in the potty…by that I mean, playing in the potty. He would roll all of the toilet paper into it, “clean” it with the toilet brush and then try to flush it. The brush never recovered. I almost ruined potty training for him when I erupted at him one morning (after finding the bathroom covered in wet toilet paper) by saying, “Never, never, never touch the potty! Do you understand?! You stay away from the potty!” Somehow, he still learned to go pee and poo in the loo…amazing.


  4. millysmoments
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 07:27:53

    I have been at it since August!! My son is nearly 3 (March) and we started a few months before his sister arrived, being fully aware that it needed to be well before any big changes. Things were going great and he was loving it. Then we changed his nursery, his sister arrived and his grandmother died. With all the will in the world all these events have totally derailed the great start and it has been the most frustrating thing ever to try and get back on track. We took a break over Christmas and put him back into nappies and have started again. We seem to be moving forward with the help of a chart and the 10 wees=1 toy plan and that has motivated him again. He knows how to do it, sometimes he’s just not that bothered about going to the loo. There are clearly much more exciting things going on. ;)


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