Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Thoughts and Tips on Potty Training


Here has what has worked for me and my kiddos:

Between 2 years 3 months and 2 years 6 months, I potty train. I feel like it is some sort of magic age for learning and by that time, I've had enough of buying diapers and changing really gross poopies.

I plan ahead when I'm going to start. I make sure it an easy week, and I don't do it right before a vacation or a new baby or any major change. I wait till things are calm and regular.

I get out potties or potty seats. Doesn't matter. I set one in the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms and just let them get used to it. I am introducing it, totally casual.

We go shopping for new undies...I use the thicker trainer kind at first.

I use NO PULL UPS! Pull ups are the invention of a bunch of diaper executives to extend their profits as long as they can. I try to put myself in my child's place-could I physically tell the difference between a diaper and a pull-up? Then how can I expect my child to? I think they need a change...the sensory aspects that trigger their brain to make them realize...oh boy, here it comes, I don't have a diaper on anymore, I've got to GO! They don't have time to ponder, 'diaper or Pull up'? They also have to feel icky. Feel very wet, or very poopy.

So we are ready to begin. I have diapers for night, but hide them. No more diapers is the die hard rule. NO MORE DIAPERS.

Once that diapers are off and those big boy or girl pants are on, that's it.  I don't put one on when we go somewhere, take it off at home, back and forth.  Too confusing for them.

I  keep the child as naked as possible...just undies, or very light easy to pull up or down shorts. Naked even. They have to see for themselves what happens and why it happens and what it feels like and they have to LEARN what to do after all those things.

I don't go to Target.  I don't get a babysitter.  I don't do anything for that week or maybe 2 weeks if it is taking long. If I have to go somewhere, I pack an extra change of clothes, or wait till my husband gets home.

I will change maybe 4 undies, maybe 15 undies those first days. (Abbey took 2 days, Andrew took 2 weeks.)  I am prepared for major laundry and don't stress out about it.  I know I will be doing a load a day during that time.

I TRY TO NEVER EVER GET FRUSTRATED!  Major patience. I bite my tongue, keep my face frozen (not showing my "oh no!" look. If they go in their undies, I say, "Oh icky wet, now we have to change." Maybe I have them sit on the potty right after and explain that they need to put their pee and poop in the potty.

It's amazing from their perspective all that they have to learn. They have to recognize and tie their body and brain feelings all together and then take action. This is all new and they have to make that connection.  I don't expect it to be all done in one day or two days.  It's a process.

I ask them tons if they have to go. I have them sit off and on all day. If they go, I freak out with joy! Sometimes stickers, charts, rewards work. I think I did those with the first two. Whatever works.

So after they get it during the day, I find that they naturally get it at night too! It will take a couple more weeks than the daytime, that's why I put a diaper on at night. When they wake up with a dry diaper, I know I am done! BUT, I have to be very very careful of the fluid intake in the evening.

Some kids like to go in the big potty...that is the easiest. There are little cushiony rims that make the opening smaller and less scarier. I used those (although everyone else hated having to move it!) with Andrew and he did great. Some others, including boys, used the training potties. I taught all my boys with the "tuck in" method, not the stand up method...it's just too hard at this age...eventually when they are tall enough, they will get it.

If you need more help, I think I developed my method after reading Dr. Sears's Baby Book. Click here for a synapses of what he suggests. It's an excellent article...the weekend method is what I based my training on.

65 comments:

  1. my daughter does pretty good with going in her own little potty, but we are having trouble transitioning to an adult potty. when we're out in public we can't carry around a toddler potty, so she ends up going on her clothes b/c she is scared of the bigger potty. any tips on this? i guess we should've never introduced the toddler potty!?

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  2. You're getting me motivated. My youngest will be three in October, but I might have to might until then due to the "major change" coming up.

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  3. i guess i just need to be more strict with myself(?), because that is basically what i have tried (off and on for over a year) with my boy and, so far, we've not been successful...
    he'll be 3 next month, which makes me want to try again soon, but we are putting it off a bit longer, due to the new baby who could arrive any day now! but you've definitely got me motivated to try again :)

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  4. I hate potty training! I hve potty trained six kids and so far that has been my least fave part of parenting. I have had three kids who have almost killed me with refusing to poop in the toilet. For months. And months. I was always really mellow about it, but it just about did me in. There must be some sort of genetic disdain for going #2 in my family.

    But it eventually worked and now we're diaper free! Woohoo!

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  5. Thank you! I am bookmarking this post for a year from now. My son will be 2 and 4 months and the week school gets out will be perfect!

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  6. Thanks for writing about your method as I am in the process of training son #3. While I agree wholeheartedly that it is a process that requires patience and consistency, there are times when it may not "click" and it's better for everyone to stop for a month or two. We tried and tried with my eldest but he consistently had multiple accidents daily until his 4th bday at which time he suddenly stayed dry day & night. (Interestingly enough, his 2 1/2 yr old brother also potty trained at the same time. We called it "Read, Feed, & Pee" - I nursed a new baby while perched on the side of the bathtub and read books to son #1 on the big potty and son #2 on the little one.)

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  7. I did exactly this a year ago and it worked! My last child is only 10 months and I'm already planning when I'm going to start training him. It'll be next November when he's 2 years and 3 months like his older brother!

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  8. This is exactly how I potty trained my two, but I started at 18 months. And although everyone said how hard boys are, my son was trained in one week and my daughter took two to three weeks.

    Emily@remodelingthislife

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  9. i did this with my daughter when she was 26 months. prior to the nakey baby and prior to underwear shopping we bought fred rogers potty book and took out the girl potty video fromt he library. we watched it over and over again for a few days and then we did the potty training. it took her about 2 days to really get it and she's been in undies ever since. she was even dry at night and through nap time.
    i plan on doing this method again with our son. he'll be 2 in september but i'm due with baby number 3 in november... so he might be a bit older than she was.

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  10. I couldn't agree more with your system! It works! And pullups just prolong the agony in my opinion.

    Have you ever read any of John Rosemond's books? He calls this system "Naked and $75". The $75 is for getting carpets cleaned if needed afterwards :) I never had to do after potty training 4 kids this way - the couple of accidents they had always seemed to be in the kitchen :) All of mine were ready to head to the store or park with me within about a week or so with no need for pullups - ahhh, freedom!

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  11. You are so much like me! This is exactly how I have potty trained 8 kids, except I do use pull-ups at night time. I had only had one child that was 3 when we were completely potty trained, the others were at 2 1/2. My littlest guy has Down Syndrome and is only 18 months so I guess it will be another ball game :o)

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  12. Great tips! My first boy was VERY stubborn for training - he would go hide to poop IN his underwear!!! Little stinker -

    Soon after he started that business I gave him more responsibility of the clean up (had him dump the mess from his own underwear in the toilet and clean himself up with my supervision as well as put the dirty clothes in the wash AND find his new underwear) then he must have decided on his own that all that was too much work and he figured it out.

    Boy #2 will be training soon (we'll be moving soon sometime in August, so I'll be waiting until we're established in our new home before starting though) it's good to get in this mindset again - thanks for sharing - love your no-nonsense explanation. :)

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  13. I agree--all or nothing! I am weird because I actually enjoy potty training, it is so much time focused on one little child. In a large family, that time is precious for both child and mother. When they are successful, the look on their faces is priceless, totally worth the un-fun moments. Love this post.

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  14. Thanks so much for the tips. I like your approach. I've got a little man I'll be potty training in about 7 or 8 months.

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  15. I agree wholeheartedly!!

    Great post--especially about the pullups, which I have always said are glorified diapers.

    This is exactly how we trained our four. The only additional thing we did was that from the time they were 1, we put them on the toilet right before their bath. We made it a little game--get undressed, sit on the potty and talk about when they are bigger how they will put their pee and poop in there. It was just for 10 seconds, but I really think giving kids the vocabulary, letting them watch you, and giving them the understanding that that's what the ultimate goal is really helps.

    Another beef I have besides pullups is that I think busy parents wait too long to start potty training. Sometimes that window of opportunity (which is often a few months after they turn 2) is gone. Some children, when they start older, realize that what happens in the potty can be used in a power struggle and that they can win!

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  16. Alrighty, Maggie will be starting soon!! She just turned 2.5 today!!!

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  17. We are heading down potty training lane very soon here in the Kellen household. Wish me luck, because you have inspired me to get down to business now; at 2 yr 5 mo. he IS ready....it's the mama that is a bit lazy about it. :-/

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  18. Thanks for this! This is exactly how I trained my daughter at 2 years old. My son is currently 3 years and 4 months and we had no luck at all until now. Last week we started again and all is smooth. Although if we don't take him every 30 minutes he is just as content to pee in his pants--and pooping is a no go. I hope it will all come together soon, we have vacation in 3 weeks out of state and I sure don't want to take any steps back!
    Thanks for confirming that I am doing it right. :)

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  19. Great tips...my doctor shared these tips with me as well when I was having issues with one of the girls going poop on the potty. Tell them they can ask to poop in a diaper, but they need to do it in the bathroom and them move them to the potty with a diaper on. It worked here...she didn't like sitting on the potty with a diaper on to poop. And to help at night, he told me to keep underwear on and put a diaper or pull on over the underwear...it is all about getting them use to the feel of the underwear at night to help them stay dry.

    We are still working on the other one, and she is doing great.

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  20. I totally agree about the Pull-ups! When our next child is ready to be trained I will not make that mistake again :) Great post - we train alike - haha! AND - love the new header - so bright and colorful - very summer...

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  21. This is interesting reading. I have two kids, one with special needs and one without special needs. My son with special needs did eventually learn but it was much later.

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  22. Thanks so much! I totally needed this post today.
    I have a 2yr old., that just turned two on 5/7.
    I am wanting to start potty training but just wasn't sure where/when/how to start. I dig your method and will definatly give that a try!

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  23. Timely post! We are on day 2 of potty training my newly-turned 3 year old. This is my second boy to train and I agree that Pull Ups are awful! We use them at nap and night but it's underwear for the rest of the day. I bought small prizes (I call them "Potty Prizes") and they live in a clear bowl on top of the fridge so he can see but can't touch. ;-) He pees/poops and gets a prize. By the time we've run out of Potty Prizes, it has clicked and we no longer need them. We move to stickers or maybe some M&M's and that's it! My oldest trained in 1 week when he was 3 years 3 mos and the younger one is doing VERY well thus far! I hope to have him trained by the end of the week! Crossing my fingers.... ;-)

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  24. Thank you for this! We are just at that age over here and getting ready to get started!

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  25. I agree 100% - we were terrible about training our first three and they took forever.
    Our fifth was two and no I need to pick a week to do it with our 2 year four month old - it is time. He goes on the toilet, just no consistency - but it is time. After our guests leave next week.
    Thanks for this great post.
    Warm wishes, Tonya

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  26. i am so glad you stated NO PULL UPS! i never bought a single package with all 4 of my kids! I tell people all the time..its a delaying method!

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  27. I hate potty training. My baby turns 2 in August so I guess that means I'll start training sometime between Nov. and Feb. Yuck. I wish he was the magic age during the summer. You are not the first person to mention the magic age. Maybe there really is something to it. My oldest two boys were trained at age 3. The first got it on day 1 and the 2nd took forever, and it was pure hell. I'm starting earlier with the baby.

    Oh and I firmly believe that peeing standing up is a privilege and not a right. A privilege that has to be earned. Good luck.

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  28. I just want to back up what you said. My son was pottied trained in 2 days doing it exactly as you just described. He was 2 in May and pottied trained in Sept. That would be 2.3 years old. If you wait till 3 they are too smart and will fight you and drag out the process. My mother raised 6 children and she was the one who told me to potty train my son it worked for all 6 of us and nobody took more than 5 days. Like you said dedicate yourself to the task, stay home and do it before they turn 3...Great advice.

    Erin

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  29. LOVE the new header Sarah!!

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  30. My son is only 16 months old and I find myself agreeing with you on so many topics. I am a parent educator and this is the method I suggest for clients. I don't have much personal experience in this area but have read about several methods and feel that this makes the most sense. It's logical and you explained it perfectly.

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  31. Ugh- this so does not make me excited to have kids ;) I have a friend who has potty trained her baby since birth. It is crazy. He still gets to wear diapers, but most of the time he goes in the potty, but he isn't even a year old! She just holds him over the toilet and he goes. Crazy.

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  32. I am starting to potty train my 2 year 4 month old next week. I hate PT so much and he is my #5 also! Ugg, he is so stubborn. Wish me luck. I like everything you said. Last time I had to do it was with my 6 year old daughter with autism and that has been infinitely more difficult than this will be. :)

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  33. I have practically the same potty training technique. My first potty trained soooo early 18 months. She did not like the feeling of a poopy diaper. It was miraculous. My Abby just turned 2 Feb 26. At 2 years 3 months she was ready. She basically trained herself. She was so easy. 48 hours later she was fully trained. No diapers is such a blessing. :)

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  34. Yes! This is exactly what I did with two exceptions. I absolutely should have started earlier. I waited until he was three + and that was a big error. The other thing I should have known was he hated me telling other people and hated me jumping around. Once he told me to "zip it" with the praise, and I did, he went on a regular basis.

    Now, onto number two....

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  35. In my experience (I have 4 kids, and we have been diaper free for almost 2 years now), trying to potty train too early is a mistake too. I can't tell you how many times over the years I have had friends tell me their kid is potty trained at 2, or by 2, and then every time they come to my house they have an accident! My 3 older kids all potty-trained right after turning 3 and for me that was the magic age. They NEVER had accidents after the initial week or so of all-out potty training. My youngest REALLY wanted to start using the potty, even though she was barely 2, and so we potty trained her...and until she was about 3 she would have random accidents anyway!! SOOOoooo, the take home lesson for me (if anyone has made it this far...sorry for the uber long comment), is that kids may have their own timeline and earlier isn't necessarily better!

    Also, I learned to talk to them about it a LONG time before beginning to officially potty train. When I would change their diapers I would tell them that when they were a little older they would go to the bathroom in the potty..read them books about using the potty, etc. I think all of that helps with the kids learning all those new things they need to know to use the potty.

    Thanks for the great blog!

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  36. Sarah~
    I love your new header. My favorite so far. I so agree with the biting the bullet and just staying home and putting your heart and soul into it. My 3 yr old is still using pullups at night, but yes, they are not good for the training...

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  37. My little one (she's two) is just now starting to get interested in the potty again. She snuck into the bathroom and fell bottom first into the potty two months ago while I was washing dishes. She's been terrified of the toilet ever since.

    I had to wait until something "clicked" with my older daughter. She was two and a half when she did the whole potty training thing. We had tried and tried at home with no results, but she saw some other girls doing it at Vacation Bible School and decided that was it. No accidents or anything after she made her mind up! We used pull-ups at night time for awhile b/c she couldn't stay dry at night, but undies all the way during the day time. :)

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  38. My middle son is finally potty trained - except he can't wear underwear?? Help!

    Has anyone had this problem? He goes cammando during the day (wearing elastic waist pants) and has no problems going in the potty, but if I try to put underwear on him, he has an accident within 20 minutes. It's as if the feeling of having something tight on makes him go.

    Will my kid never wear underwear? Should I buy him loose boxer shorts? I'm trying not to stress about it, at least he's done with diapers!

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  39. i agree 100%.
    i was just lazy and waited till 3 years old.

    i love your new header.
    :)

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  40. I wish I had had this advice when I was potty training my twins. We did okay, but it would get so frustrating at times. I'm sending this link to my sister. She will appreciate it when the time comes.

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  41. This post came at the perfect time!! Our 2nd is 2 yrs and 2 mos and I am expecting our 3rd in December. I think we will train her this month and I needed a refresher!

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  42. I wondered how you did yours! I love all of your motherly advice and wisdom and we're at that stage with our daughter now. Have you ever stuck the big kid panties inside a diaper and tried it that way? A friend of mine recommended it and I am a little weirded out by that, but I guess it would work. Thanks for posting this!

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  43. I wish you had been my friend when I did this. You really have a great attitude. Best of Luck. I'll be looking forward to hearing the results.

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  44. I agree with it all...awesome!
    We waited a bit in our home too and it went so much faster then some of our friends who started much earlier and had to drag out tons of M&M's!:)
    Enjoy the night!

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  45. I agree with almost everything you said! I'm done with potty training #3 and only have one more to go (but he's only 6 mos old!) Here is where I disagree:
    1. We use pull-ups but only at night (rather than diapers).
    2. Not all children will do the night-time thing so easily. My 3yo who potty trained VERY easily (surprisingly enough b/c nothing else has been easy with her) is still in pull-ups at nap and bed!
    3. We had anal retention issues with both girls. The second one I allowed to poop in diapers for a while. She still had to tell me she needed to go but b/c she was afraid/resistant to go on the potty we'd put a diaper on her just for that. It saved us lots of trouble. Our first had fissures and held it for days, etc, etc. We ended up at the GI dr...it was bad.
    Just my 2cents worth though. ;) I love your blog. The real-ness of it.

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  46. Did you find that there was a big difference in boys and girls? My oldest, a boy, was not potty-trained until he was almost 3 1/2!! In his defense, I was way too freaked out, embarassed, upset, mad, etc about it and he realized that he had "controlled" Mommy.

    I was a totally different Mommy with my girl, 2, and she was potty-trained in about 3 days. You are right, I started her potty-training at about 2 years 7 months and she caught right on. We've had a handful of accidents but nothing major (all pee). I kept her naked all day long and made her go in to sit on the potty quite frequently. She was so easy.

    I have one more boy to go (he is only 11 months now) and I am wondering if boys are just slower or Mommy is??

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  47. Potty training my last one right now...this is a very helpful post.

    What happened to your post about answering questions part 3? When I click on the link it tells me page not found.

    I'm really soaking up all this advice. :)

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  48. all this is great information and I am thankful for it. Does anyone have carpet spot cleaning tips?

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  49. I'm so going to have to remember this post when the time comes for Henry to potty train! I'm spoiled so far with two girls, one who completely on her own potty trained herself at 18 months and then two years later completely on her own potty trained her sister. No kidding.

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  50. I've been thinking about this, and realized I have a question for you:
    What (if any) role does your husband play in the potty training of your kids?

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  51. He helps when he's home of course, and on weekends. But I find that I am the one who has the whole system going all day...and since I'm in the thick of it, I'm more aware of the when, what, where and why of how it is happening for each particular child.

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  52. Thank you! My son was 3 on Monday. Read your potty training blog Wednesday. Thursday- 8 underwear changes, Friday- same DRY undies all day! It's a miracle! Pull-ups are an invention of the devil!

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  53. I had 5 girls. Girl #1 I fought with at about 2. Wouldn't poop for a LONG time. Many struggles. The rest of the girls I just let them do it on their own when they were 3. I think boys at about 4. One daughter I caught trying to change her own poopy diaper. That's when I knew it was time for her.

    Clean-up: Pee--I use water with a little vinegar--pour it on the place and put a folded up towel on top and dance on the towel to pull the liquid into the towel. Poop--you'll need soap and water/or some cleaner to get the germs up. Wet and dance on a towel at the end.

    I love that idea of little boys' just tucking it to pee. I know a 10 ten year that needs to do that now, before the privilege of standing again. ; )

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  54. Sarah, I had to come back and read this tonight...I'm going crazy trying to potty train Lucy. It's killing me! Thanks for the reminder that it'll all be ok and to be patient!

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  55. we're now in full on potty traing mode 'round our parts - I linked to this post today - thanks!

    ~heidi

    www.wonderwomanwannabe.com

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  56. I couldn't agree more with your tips! I potty trained my son using these same tips (Just Say No To Pull Ups!!) Potty training definitely takes ALOT of patience and I think it's one of the hardest parts of parenting.

    My son was fully potty trained in days once I got rid of the pull ups and went to underwear. Pull Ups are confusing and a waste of money (and they leak!). After we switched to underwear, there was no more diapers, except for bedtime. He was potty trained at 2 years, 4 months.

    Today is Day 1 with Potty Training my 2 year old daughter! Wish me luck! : )

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  57. Thankyou for sharing this! Because of this, I think I might try training my 2 year old boy sooner than later. He's 2 and 4 months. I was going to wait till he was 3.

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  58. I just came back to refresh myself on your method… today is day 1 of potty training my second boy, who will be 2 yrs 3 mo tomorrow. I didn't train his brother until he was almost 3, but I know this one is ready now. Thanks so much for your tips!

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  59. Just want to thank you again for this post! I used this with my second and it worked like a charm, now I am re-reading as I am in the trenches with my third little boy. Its very encouraging!

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  60. I am forever indebted to you! My daughter is 3 years and 5 months and it has been a battle to get her to go on the potty. Out of frustration, I searched for "potty training tips" on Pinterest. Your article popped up. I immediately changed my approach and guess what? She pottied on the potty chair seven times that afternoon! She only has had accidents upon waking in the morning. I don't have to pester her to go, she just does! If someone would have told me that she'd be nearly completely potty trained within a day or two, I would not have believed it! Your method works! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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  61. Thanks for sharing your tested methods! We've been talking about potty training for months and my 2 1/2 year old decided she wants to. The trouble is there aren't any weeks we don't have anything going on so she has been in pullups b/c I'm not going to be the mom that lets my kid have an accident at piano lessons or church and whatnot. Anyway, I'm going to try underwear in the pullup on Thursday. She has managed to take care of her business a few times, which is encouraging, but not consistently. Thanks for the reminder to be patient!

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  62. Our long weekend of the cold turkey switch to underwear (we were so excited!) -turned into a loonnngggg six months of poop in undies....some pullups ensued due to lack of new furniture budget! And no stickers or over the top praise for this stubborn boy (#3)....only gumballs. And that -plus a whole lot of nonchalance- only gets us #1.

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  63. Dear Sarah, you've inspired me too. Many many thanks!!!
    http://www.blue-jeans-girl.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-we-did-it-potty-training.html

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  64. So glad i found this post! Im wanting to potty train my little girl - shes 15 months old now - and i had no idea where to start but this has helped me loads. Thank you

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  65. How do you know when to give up? It's been one week and it's awful. I'm giving it another week. I bought a carpet cleaner.

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