How To Prepare to Start Potty Training

How To Prepare to Start Potty Training. Know readiness cues, equipment to buy, potty training tips, and different methods to try.

Toddler girl on grass happy and smiling

This post is different from my other posts in that I am writing about something I have no experience in. I plan to start potty training Brayden tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. I have second guessed myself, but keep reminding myself that I can stop if it doesn’t work out and try it again later. So I am giving it a go, and I am going to fill you all in on the details. Oh boy.

First, let me say that I honestly do not mind changing diapers. It is not a task that bothers me. Do I love it? No, but I don’t hate it. And I would prefer to change a diaper a few times a day than change underwear and pants and clean up messes around the house…not to mention worrying about a toilet everywhere we go and having to bring a change of clothes with us. It’s like have a newborn baby boy again (newborn boys leak through their diapers a lot).

Alas, as it says in Pottywise, potty training is “one of a large number of necessary chores.” It must be done. This is a good time of year for us. I wanted to wait until the holidays were over. I didn’t want to travel during it all. I also want to try to do it before summer hits. Right now we are confined inside and don’t have anything big going on. It is the perfect time of year.

I read Pottywise and am prepared to give it a go. First, my Pottywise notes.

Pottywise Notes

These are some points of interest I found in On Becoming Pottywise (affiliate link).

Potty Training Readiness Cues

  • One, the bladder must be ready. They go through a rather interesting explanation on the bladder and how it works. It really helps you to be more understanding of the fact that your child needs to be physically ready and there is nothing you can do to speed up that process. I believe Brayden’s bladder is physically ready.
  • Another cue is that the child is uncomfortable when wet. This is not something Brayden has unless he leaks through his diaper. He doesn’t mind a wet diaper, but he does mind wet clothing. Therefore, I think he is ready in this area.
  • There is a checklist on page 21. Not all of them need to be present, but most. I won’t run through them all, but most of them are present.
  • Finally, willingness. I believe he is on board. Two months ago, he was very anti-potty. Then one day at church he told the nursery workers he needed to go potty, so my husband took him. He sat on it and didn’t go, but it was a huge step in my eyes. He has gone potty on his potty twice, and sat on it several times. He has asked to go potty once and gone. I have explained the treat system (more later), and he is excited about that. I explained before bed tonight that we would start tomorrow and he agreed. A week ago when I explained he would be ditching the diaper soon, he replied, “but I love my diaper!” so agreeance was good. He is the type that does much better with a lot of mental preparation before something happens. He is warming up.

Potty Training Equipment

  • Potty chair (or whatever you will use). Check, I have it.
  • Training pants. Check, I have those. It was no easy task. I went to the store over a week ago in search of non-disposable and found none. I bought underwear instead and some disposable. Then I did some asking around and a lot of moms say they just went straight to underwear. I see the value, but I don’t want pee everywhere, so I looked some more. My husband found some extra absorbent training pants that are just like underwear. That is just what I envisioned. Brayden really likes his underwear, though. He has Thomas and Lightening McQueen and tractors…I really think he will not want to get them dirty. He is a clean kid. The phsycological factor of dirtying those favorites will be a benefit to my cause.
  • Training doll or teddy bear. I will just use a bear we already have.
  • Snack rewards.
  • Sippy cup.

Miscellaneous Potty Training Tips

  • Teach child to pull pants up and down. Done.
  • Have a cheer squad. This will be extra good for Bradyen; he is really into positive reinforcement (what kid isn’t?).

Potty Training Method

  • They recommend bowel training first. I think I am kind of going to go for both at the same time. We will see how that works. I might need to amend that approach. They also say you can definitely start with either. Bowel and bladder training require different muscles, so they are different training. They recommend sitting on potty immediately following a meal, do it consistently and every day, and read a book while on potty to get him to relax. You might have to leave the room. Brayden currently doesn’t go if he isn’t alone. If he didn’t have solo playtime, he wouldn’t have a bowel movement.
  • Potty training. You can do it where you set aside about 4 days and that is all you do, or a longer, more relaxed way. If you do it fast, it has to be the only thing you do. No errands, no kids, etc. While that would be my personal preferred choice, I nurse Kaitlyn so that simply isn’t an option. We will be doing it over time. First, you put treats out on counter a couple of days before (but I put them out today–two days would have been torture to him). The first morning, you run through the process with the bear. You have bear sip, check for dryness, sit on potty, “go,” praise, flush, wash hands. Then you have your child go through it. Ask “are you dry?” Offer reward if they are dry. Then have them sit on potty. They get reward for sitting and double reward for going. Have them sit for 4-10 minutes. No longer. Have them sit on potty before, after, between meals and naps.

Potty Training Tips and Tricks

  • Have child sit on towel between potty trips so their is less mess to clean up when accidents happen (and they do).
  • You can use disposable training pants when you are visiting, running errands, or at church. But only do it while accidents are common.

Potty Training Preparation

Here is what I have done to prepare for potty training.

  • I read Pottywise and took notes so I can quickly refer.
  • I purchased everything on my list.
  • I have mentally prepared Brayden.
  • I have a timer ready.
  • Treats are out.
  • We found a chart online and had Brayden choose what he wanted (Thomas). It is hanging on the fridge.
  • Brayden will be wearing pants that pull off and on easily.

Get ready to follow me through our triumphs and difficulties. Here’s hoping!

Reader Potty Training Advice:

  • Jon and Melissa said…
    to potty train and to make it last. Ditch the diapers completely during the day. Going back and forth confuses the kid. Stay home for like at least a week to fully get him trained. Only do diapers or pull ups at nap and bed to be effective. The child has to be ready though. You can’t force it. They have to understand the process of going and telling the parent they have to go. How old is he? I hope you don’t mind me telling you all this. I have been through it in the last 6 months.
    January 14, 2008 5:23 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Brayden is 2.5.I am not planning on going back and forth between diapers and training pants, just training pants. We are planning on staying home for several days, but I am not pushing for him to be fully trained in one week. That would be progressive potty training. I am taking the casual-progressive potty training approach described in Pottywise, which usually takes 2-4 weeks to be accomplished. I wanted to take it slower.It is 9:30 AM and we have no accidents so far. I am sure that will change, but so far, so good.
    January 14, 2008 9:25 AM

Reader Potty Training Questions

  • kristin said…
    Question regarding Potty Training Prep (b/c I loaned my 1-2-3 book to a friend and don’t have it for reference right now). My son is 23 mos and JUST showing an interest now in using the poddy. I don’t think we will be ready to do the 1 week training process for several months to come BUT I wanted to know if its a good idea to get a poddy seat for the toilet and let him get familiar with it? In the past week he has shown a desire for the firs time to sit on it – of course he hasn’t actually gone poddy on it yet. The few times we’ve put him on the toilet I think he is unstable and uncomfortable because we have to hold him over the adult seat (don’t have a child seat) and its really awkward plus he likes privacy (he currently goes behind a table or couch to do #2 in his diaper). So is it a good idea to get a poddy seat and let him sit on it? Or am I getting ahead of myself and I should wait until I think he’s closer to really being ready?
    May 15, 2008 12:16 PM
    Jon and Melissa said…
    I have one pitty trained been trained since 2 1/2. So I give advice as a mom who has been there. Get a potty seat either for the toliet or one to sit next to it where you empty. Make a big deal. You want to go pee pee poo poo. Let’s seat down. When he does maek a HUGE deal. Call dad, g-ma, friends who ever. you can do a reward chart, stickers, anything to boast his confidence.
    May 15, 2008 2:09 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Kristin,I looked through my Pottywise book, and there isn’t anything that addresses getting familiar with the potty chair/seat before starting. I have read articles arguing either way. If your child is one who needs to get used to things for a while before being comfortable, getting one now might be a good idea. You also *might* get lucky and him just decide one day he is ready. I have a couple of friends who that happened to. If you think he would lose interest in the seat if it was around before it was really PT time, I would hold off. If you do get a chair or seat, I wouldn’t force the issue until you think he is ready and you are ready to begin training. I would just let it be something he asks to do and you allow (you could casually mention that he can go potty on it–but again, be aware of his personality. If having the choice now will make the training harder later, then I wouldn’t have it available yet).
    May 16, 2008 11:11 AM
How To Prepare to Start Potty Training. Know readiness cues, equipment to buy, potty training tips, and different methods to try.

2 thoughts on “How To Prepare to Start Potty Training”

  1. Hi, I need some serious suggestions!!!My daughter was introduced to the potty very early and has been comfortable with it since she was just over a year old. There has never been anything scary to her about it. We really felt she was ready recently as she'd tell us WHEN she needed to go peepee and would run into the potty. So we went ahead and started the actual potty training when she was about 18months. She did AWESOME the first week or two. She was in panties, TOLD us when she needed to pee, sometimes she'd tinkle a tiny bit first, but would run to the potty. We had VERY few accidents the first couple weeks. She's continued to do well until a few weeks ago. All of the sudden, she no longer TELLS us she needs to go. She will actually totally pee in her panties and not tell us…EXTREMELY frustrating. We have the reward system and everything, we all get super excited when she goes in her potty, but I CANNOT figure out why all of the sudden she doesn't want to tell us. Last week a decided to start naked again. She does pretty great with no panties or pants on, she'll actually run to her potty and go all by herself without even telling us she needs to! So I KNOW she feels the urge and completely understands the concept. But when that girl has panties or pullups on, she just goes. Doesn't say a word. I do my best to keep on top of it and take her several times to the potty, but I'm constantly paranoid about cleaning up the messes! Please offer your input. We are getting very discouraged!!!

  2. Angie,If it were me, I would either leave her with no panties until she was totally in the habit and could continue the habit with panties, or go back to diapers and back off of it for a while.Another point is to realize accidents are normal. For a child this young, it would be extremely abnormal to have zero accidents. I would also recommend no pull-ups if you are going to do potty training. Go with your gut here. If you think this is just a learning curve period where she is figuring this out, patiently continue forward. But if you are stressed, she is stressed, or she is not willing, I don't think it is a good idea to move forward and would give a few months of rest.


Leave a Comment