No seriously being the millennial mom that I am, I looked for one. PT had been on my mind for a while, and some of my other mom friends were starting or also thinking about starting with their kids too who were around the same age as Ximena. The app that I found was the only free one, and it only had 2 stars. (I know now why) I downloaded it anyway and to my surprise it was a great app. I will get into more detail later, but these videos, and the combo of my phone timer, and lots of patience is what I believe really eased the process, and made it a fun, comfortable experience.
I did ask some of my Vet Mom friends a question about potties. What would be a better option to start with? A small potty just for them or a potty ring that fits on to your regular toilet. It was pretty unanimous and most said ring. That way you do not have to do a secondary transition from small potty to toilet.
So after scouring Amazon this is what I bought. A potty ring, and a step stool. They were both great quality and it also came with a suction hook to hang the potty ring on. I suctioned it on the wall tile in our shower so it’s out of the way when not in use. We also use the stool for the sink when we brush our teeth.
I believe we started late February, a few weeks after her second birthday. I remember showing her the potty and how it goes on the toilet. I told her that she was a big girl now and she didn’t need diapers. I also showed her, her new training pants underwear (they are a little thicker) with Minnie and Daisy, which she was excited for. There was also a potty book we had been reading a lot together called “Once Upon A Potty”, I told her we would be using the potty like Prudence the little girl in the book. So she was familiar with the terminology and new equipment. I definitely think that’s key, you do not want to bombard them with so much newness and they have no idea what it is or how it works. All they need to focus on is “listening to their body”. That definitely takes time and is a skill they learn, so our job is to remind them.
Day 1, I left her diaper and underwear free. I would set a timer for every 10 minutes and I told her that when she heard the bell, it meant we had to go potty. Every time we would sit down I told her to push her vagina, for the pee-pee to come out (we use the real body part names in this house). I also saw online that blowing into a straw or bubbles creates the same contraction motion that they need to learn. However bubbles maybe too distracting for some. The straw worked well for us.
There were accidents, but I just gently reminded her that it was ok, and that the pee-pee goes in the potty not the floor. We cleaned it up together. (I gave her a little towel to help)
Recapping the day that night, I realized I needed to change some things up for Day 2. I needed to provide her with more liquids so she would actually have to go, and not just get annoyed of hearing that timer every 10mins. That’s when I went to the app store for some help
The App is called Potty Time. There are videos that explain what Potty Time is, How to listen to your body, and to Stop and Go when you are playing. The narrator is a woman named Rachel. Not only are the videos of real kids, but also she signs along with the videos. We learned new signs for PT, and the songs are catchy and fun. There is a few books you can read to your kids on the app about a little frog who is going to start to use the potty. There is even a feature where you can call Rachel and tell her if you had success or an accident. *Unfortunately the app was made a long time ago, and they havn’t updated it in a while. Sometimes the calls and the videos do not work on the app. The books however are still available to read on the app, and I found most of the app videos on YouTube so I will be linking them. I still think it’s nice to download the app for the books and you can always try out the videos, sometimes it may work. If not there are some other apps you can try, I think they are pretty cheap under $3.
Once I had studied the app, I introduced it to her the next day. I showed her all the videos. Each time she sat on the potty she would watch one of them. Even if she wasn’t going I know she was getting comfortable sitting on the toilet and that is what was important. When she finally did go pee in the potty, I was so excited for her. We called Rachel and said we had success, and she was so excited to flush by her self and wash her hands. We waved bye-bye to the pee-pee and I reminded her how she listened to her body.
Over the next few weeks we did the same routine. Lots of water, and then it eventually went back to normal amounts. I would watch the clock for 20mins, 30mins. If I knew I had to pee, I knew she did too. If after 20 or 30mins, when I asked her if she had to go to the bathroom she would tell me “no”, I would set the timer for like 10 seconds and when it would go off, I would say “Ahh it’s potty time, hurry!!” That trick really ended up working especially when I wanted her to go with out fighting me. Using a timer is key. Associate potty time with that sound until they can fully tell you that they have to go. That part takes a while. Even to this day its been 5 months later and when my timer goes off while I am working out she will say, “Ahh it’s potty time, mommy/daddy!”
So to Re-cap
I know not all parents are with their kids all day. So my advice is to have your caretakers and spouses/partners on board with what you are doing. Consistency is key as long as it is the same across all parties. Even if your little one has older siblings talk to them and say what you will be doing as a family. Have them call in their younger sibling when they go potty, so they can see how it’s done. Have lots of patience and keep it fun! If you feel they are really struggling maybe re visit it in a month or so. When we would go out somewhere at first (1st month in) I still kept a pull-up on her but brought the potty ring. If there was a bathroom I would take her and have her go, to get used to public spaces. That’s a whole other ball game. If you can always opt for a family bathroom, its more private and let them know it’s loud, pre-warn them! Eventually just start to plan going to the bathroom before grocery shopping, before eating, etc.: then go after too unless, they haven’t had any liquids. You will get to know where all the bathrooms are real quick!
--Diaper Bag Upgrade--
You will have to pack extra undies, pull-ups just incase, shorts/pants, Clorox wipes, and maybe a dishtowel in your diaper bag (faster accident cleanup than wipes). I also now carry Post-it Notes to stick to the automatic sensors on the public toilets, so the flushing does not scare them. This one is a game changer. I carry our potty ring in a drawstring backpack, with Clorox wipes and it fits inside of our diaper bag backpack. This portable potty and ring (2-1) is also amazing. It comes with potty bags and the kids can actually sit in the potty and go in the car if there is no other option. You could literally set this up in the trunk or back seat and have them go before and after events, esp. for long road trips or parks. *Shootout to my friend @nancyofcastles for sharing this amazing tip, she uses with her son!
Here is the songs we used. I found them on YouTube. Some are separate, and the last video has all the songs on a hour loop. I have time stamped what songs are where. Save them in your notes with the Song Title for easy access. Do whatever works best for your family, this is what helped us.
Happy Training parents!
Full disclosure. Ximena still wears pull-ups at naptime and during the night. We have not had to change a poop diaper since we have started this journey though, and that’s 5 months!! She does have the occasional #2 overnight though if she sleeps in longer. Sometimes after naps she’s dry sometimes not. She usually naps for 2.5 hours so I do not expect her to hold it that long. Baby steps!
Stephanie + Brittany here! We'll be sharing different topics week to week depending on what life throws at us! Funny moments, frustrating moments, heart to hearts, epiphanies, ideas, thoughts and anything in between.