Sunday, June 27, 2010

Potty training - we're ready, but need advice.

Question from a CMOTC mom:
We are definitely without question ready for potty training! My girls are two and a half and have decided they cannot stand diapers. And I'm pretty sick of them too! Anyone ever tried the potty boot camp method? I would love any advice on that or anything else you did that worked!

Advice/experience from CMOTC moms:

We used the 3 day potty training guide, is that the same as the boot camp one? A bit of advice that I wished I had done is potty train one for a day or 2 minimum, then focus on the second child. I tried to do both at once and it was chaos and we ended up quitting. Or, if you think that will be difficult wait until the weekend when you have your husband around. You will both need to be focused 100% on each child when you are doing it. They will be going potty so frequently, you will no sooner get one on the potty to pee and the other one will be peeing in the other room and you've missed that opportunity. We stayed in the same room with the potties super close for the first few days.

My boys are 3 1/2 and we are still working on it with one child, but his brother is trained. Good luck!!


I have 2 sets of twins and did this for both:

  • Know you are NOT going anywhere for a few days and then start.
  • Only underwear. No pull ups.
  • Expect 100% mistakes on day one.
  • You never get mad at them. Just explain where they could have done instead.
  • It's the perfect weather for this. Be outside as much as possible and really push liquids. All they want. It will make them need to go more and therefore have more opportunities to practice.

For my kids, each day they did better until they just had a few mistakes. Mine were night dry before day dry so not sure where they are on that if you think they are physically capable of only wearing underwear to bed.

Important: if by 3-5 days they are still 100% mistakes, then stop and speak nothing of it for a few weeks and then start over.

I had 2 different personalities for each set. One needed to be told to go or they got busy and forgot.

They only needed to go on their terms for success. You know your kids and want they need.
This method worked for both of my sets, but the 'reminders' were different.


My girls did great with the 3 day potty training method. For us, it worked perfectly and I recommend it. It really was pretty well done within 3 days.

It is intense, but works. Basically, you completely get rid of all diapers and the child helps you throw them away (later I took them out and gave to another mom....) and they stay in underwear. You stay home for the 3 days as much as possible and they pretty much just wear t-shirts and undies. She uses positive reinforcements and tells you exactly what to say to them and how to do it. The only thing I did different is she believes you can potty train them at night too but I feel that will come naturally on its own. So, what I did, was I bought pullups and called them "bed time panties" so they wouldn't associate them with diapers (I had never put them in pull ups to that point and then ONLY used them for bedtimes). Within a couple months, they were dry at night too on their own.

I potty trained my boys without much good knowledge on the topic and it took them both till they were 3 1/2 (despite starting at 2) and it was awful. I really liked this program because she explained a lot of how they think during the process. It may not work for everyone, I don't know, but for us and several others I know it worked! I did it when they were 2 years 4 months.

Good luck!


My boys were about 2 1/2 when we started. It took about 2 weeks for them to really get the hang of it. I admit that having them in daycare made things easier for me (although I bought the teachers lots of donuts and pizza that month!). They had a lot of peers to model and, more importantly, they wanted to play on the big kid side of the playground -- the "big side," with cool scooters and bigger tricycles, was for potty-trained kids only. At home, we used a sticker chart and new skateboard-style scooters as motivation. The scooters, still in the boxes, were displayed on the hearth. After so many stickers, they could take them out of the boxes and touch them, after another goal we marked them with names, and finally they got to ride, Find something that your girls will work for. The traditional M&Ms reward did nothing for my kids. My mother swears I was potty trained almost instantly once she bought me fancy-pants undies with lace on the butt because I didn't want to get them dirty.


My five year old singleton was like your twins at their age. He had interest, but a lot of transitions during this time that set him back. Once it all calmed down he started going again but went back and forth. Eventually we did something the daycare suggested right before I had the twins and he was still in daycare, which was to just let him be in underwear and change him when he had accidents. When they told me I thought that was horrible (for the child). Of course it could have been the hormones, no sleep and all that good stuff from the twins, but I remember being like "no way!" Fast forward a few months and well, I was all for it. LOL.

It ended up being the only thing that worked for him. He hated to be wet, so he learned quickly with this method. Previously we had done a treat bag filled with books, cars and fruitabu (organic fruit leather)... only he was too good. He was able to eek out a marble sized #2 every time he wanted something. Meaning, if we restocked with a few good books he wanted, he would go to the bathroom, produce a " marble" get a book, read it, go back to the bathroom, produce a marble, get the next book, read it, then decide he wanted a fruitabu, produce the "marble"... well you get the picture. How any one can control their bowls like that, I don't know. But clearly if he was in such control, he just needed some aggressive potty training. So we went to the other method (just putting him in underwear) and within a week he was potty trained. That said, he desired it and had the interest whereas my twin boys (just shy of THREE!) do not - I try (though I am work full time) - they have no interest whatsoever. I think that method might work for your twins, because they don't want to wear diapers and clearly have interest. But then, other methods that require less laundry might work too. Every child is different. You'll know what is best for yours once you try some things.


We introduced the potty idea early. My husband would talk about "one day when she got bigger she would put her pee and poop in the potty" when he would change her diapers (maybe that was more for him than her. HaHa). As she got older I would talk about what I was doing when she followed me into the bathroom "mommy is making pee pee on the potty (sing song)". Once she started walking we purchased her own potty that she could sit on or put her babies on.

When summer came (just before her 2nd birthday) we went bottomless (at home of course). She had maybe two accidents, then got the idea and started going to her potty all by herself!

That was not the end! She quickly learned to hold her pee until nap time then would flood her bed once she had a diaper on. I tried getting her to use the potty before nap-time but she wouldn't. BTW-- we knew she was ready since she had the ability to "hold" her pee. The next step might not have worked if we didn't know she was really ready - all babies are ready at different times- its not just an intellectual issue but also a physiological one. (so be patient)

So here's what we did next- she had a thing for coins (which we never let her play with for obvious reasons), but she always seemed to find them & Grandpa would give them to her too. To solve the coin problem, I picked up a "sheep" piggy bank. Since she liked "feeding" her sheep so much we decided to use that as her potty reward. She was very compassionate so when she didn't want to go for herself the sheep would (in my most pitiful sheep voice) ask for a coin PLEASE b/c he was hungry. After she used the potty, she could feed her sheep and he would be SO thankful he would jump up & down & give her BIG kisses and say "THANK YOU!".

That is what put us over the hump! She will be three in September. We use a diaper only at night and have very few accidents.

A word of caution about using food as a reward, from a mommy who has struggled with food issues: Please reconsider using food as rewards for anything (potty training, finishing dinner, etc...). It sets up food or treats with a special significance it was never intended to have. Food is for feeding our bodies not rewards. I'm 35 and am still struggling. Give me a tough day and you better stand back from the choc-chip cookies! I still remember my mom showing pity for a bad day with a warm cookie and glass of milk. It wasn't the cookie that made me feel better, but my mom's compassion. Food affects us on more than just an emotional level it also produces chemical reactions in our bodies which reinforces what is going on in our brain (a double whammy so to speak).

Happy Potty Training!


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