Patience Is a Virtue
— Elissa Murnick; Fairfield, Connecticut
My son mastered peeing on the potty pretty quickly, but nailing #2 took some extra effort. At first we had to watch for his “cues” to tell he was trying to go poop and then bring him to the bathroom. Because it took a while (sometimes more than a half-hour) we started reading to him to make the wait more fun. But above all else, patience, patience, patience is the key!
— Karen J. Wright; Mankato, Minnesota
The Naked Truth
Once my kids were interested in the potty concept — around 2 to 2 1/2 — we let them run around naked before bathtime and encouraged them to use the potty. Then I let them go sans pants at home for extended periods of time (they did really well remembering to go as long as they didn’t have any clothes on). After they mastered naked-potty use, we worked our way up to clothes (first just underwear, then eventually pants). This method was extremely painless — very few accidents or setbacks.
— Jennifer Walker; Cleveland, Ohio
Timing Is Everything
Are you counting down the days to the toilet transition? Or maybe you’ve already dabbled in a few less-than-successful attempts? Either way, we heard one thing again and again: Your kid has to be good and ready. And don’t worry, he will be someday. “No child is going to graduate high school in diapers,” says Carol Stevenson, a mom of three from Stevenson Ranch, California, who trained each one at a different age. “But it’s so easy to get hung up and worried that your child’s a certain age and not there yet, which adds so much pressure and turns it into a battle.” Once you’re convinced your kid’s ready to ditch the diapers (watch for signs like showing an interest in the bathroom, telling you when she has to go, or wanting to be changed promptly after pooping), try any of these tricks to make it easier.
All About the Bribes
— Donna Johnson; Charlotte, North CarolinaI wholeheartedly recommend bribery as potty training motivation: We kept a small plastic piggy bank in the bathroom and rewarded every success (one penny for pee, two for poop). Our daughter was entranced — she would shake the piggy with a gleam in her eye and remark how heavy it was getting. When she was all done, we took her potty windfall and turned it into quarters to spend on rides at the mall.
— Lisa Spicer; Los Angeles, California
Daddy Does It
— Scott Smith; Mount Washington, Kentucky
Heap on the Praise
— Diane Hund; Elmhurst, Illinois
I didn’t use any special stuff — no kiddie toilets, potty rings, or even pull-ups — because the local YMCA where my daughters attended didn’t believe in them. We even had to sign a contract stating that we’d follow their potty training policy at home. I was instructed to just put the kids (they were around 2 1/2) on our regular toilet throughout the day when I thought they had to go. After a week and lots of “Yeah! You did number two!” and “Good for you! You made a wee-wee!” they were done, with barely any accidents. All told, I think they were just developmentally ready.
— Sandra Gordon; Weston, Connecticut
Little White Lies
My middle son was stubborn when it came to #2 on the potty — absolutely refused, no matter the reward. So I finally told him that when we flush, the poop goes out to the sea to feed the fish — so if he didn’t go, then the poor little fish wouldn’t have anything to eat. My son, being the compassionate, sensitive little do-gooder he is, felt it was his mission to poop to “save” the fish. (After all, Nemo and Dory were counting on him!)
— Liane Worthington; Simpson, Pennsylvania
What’s the Frequency?
— Roberta Perry; Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
We found that our son simply was not interested in remembering to go on his own, so we found the Potty Watch, which he loved. You program this wrist watch to play songs and light up at 30-, 60-, or 90-minute intervals; then it resets itself and starts the countdown all over again.
— Heather Ledeboer; Athol, Idaho
Figuring Out the Fear
— Ginny Graham; Collegeville, Pennsylvania