Friday, August 26, 2011

A Potty-Training "AH HA!" Moment

I wouldn't say that Sister-Bug is potty training. She has had experience as an EC baby, using the potty consistently at about 3 months old. She went on an extended strike at 9 months that was still going on as we moved, so into diapers she went and has mostly stayed. But lately she has been showing renewed interest in her blue potty.

Coincidentally, there was this post over on Life As Mom about 10-day potty training. I gave it a read, not expecting much since Sister-Bug is only 17-months old. And there in the text was such an AH HA! A moment of clarity.

The goal isn't pee and poop in the potty as much as the goal is dryness! To quote Life as Mom to reiterate:
This was the epiphany for me: dryness is the goal. Going in the toilet is a complimentary facet, but dryness is the goal. Reward, praise, and cheer for dryness. Check for dryness often. And then offer more treats.
Help your child make the connection between going in the potty and staying dry.
 So yesterday I pulled a pair of kid underwear out - the tiniest one I could find, and popped them on Sister-Bug.

She LOVED them. And while she was wearing them - about half the day - she got almost all of her pee in the potty. Poop is a different story and involves several paper towels. But she loved the underwear. AND she told me - while wearing a diaper at the library - that she needed to pee and then made it to the restroom on time.

She lacks most of the usual signs of toilet-training readiness, but she has the most important one: an interest in the process. And that is a great place to start.


In related contemplations, I hate the phrase potty-training. It makes it seem like the child is a trick pony or seal or something. We don't train them. We help them learn. I would love an different phrase that is also as easy to say. Ideas?


  1. Great post. I was emphasizing dryness with my kids, too, but unfortunately, all they got from that message was that they should hold it in whenever they had to go. Good luck with whatever you call the process - it's not easy!

    1. It actually wasn't so bad...she was out of diapers by 20 months. But we started paying attention to her toilet cues when she was 2 days old, so she got a bit of a head start there. Recently she's back-slid a little bit, but she's also a little stressed about the arrival of the new baby and her potential displacement - or so we think. The trick that worked best for her was nudity - she wouldnt/won't pee or poop on herself is she's naked.