Try Cloth Diapers Risk Free

Monday, January 12, 2009

Like Tweet

It’s Potty Time!

Potty training (aka potty learning) is a BIG deal for your little one! Of course, it’s an equally BIG deal for you. Cloth diapered children will usually potty train faster than their disposable diapered counterparts (especially those who wear cotton diapers as the wetness is more significant than diapers with stay dry liners – such as pocket diapers).

Things to consider when preparing to potty train:

1) Make sure you and your child are truly ready! Don’t feel pressured into potty training your darling son at 18 months because your neighbor’s daughter was potty trained by that age. Every child is dAmeliaifferent; some recognize their body’s elimination signals while other children do not recognize them for a long time. There are babies who detest any wetness and others who don’t mind marinating! *lol*

Look for signs of readiness such as: verbal communication, imitates you on the toilet – or shows interest in going potty on the toilet, stays dry for long stretches of time (usually 2-3 hours).

External signs of readiness include: squatting, crossing legs (as to try to hold it in), grabbing the diapers, retreating to a corner or a hidden place in the house. These signs are only indicators that your child may be ready – but not necessarily so.

2) Make it fun and exciting. Aside from making sure they’re ready – this is the next most important advice. Have a special rewards system in place for acknowledging their successes. Try not to emphasis the accidents and encourage them for success the next time they must “go.”

3) Chose the system that best suits your child. Some children prefer their own potty chair; others like to use the big toilet like mom and dad. If your Royal Highness prefers their own throne include them in the selection process. If your child prefers the standard toilet – consider (temporarily) decorating the bathroom to accommodate their interests. Keep a couple short books handy (potty books are especially helpful), some pictures of things they enjoy, etc… a step stool to make getting on the potty and washing hands more accessible/easy. Personalizing makes the restroom their special place to potty!

4) Remember – accidents happen. Do not punish your child for an accident – these areCamila & Doll Kaithlyn bound to happen. It’s difficult for our little ones to unlearn their previous potty habits; before it was completely acceptable to go potty in their pants. If accidents occur far too frequently – then take a break and try again later as your child may not be ready just yet.

The purpose of potty training is to teach your child to recognize the connection between feeling the urge to go and then ultimately going. I personally employed the bare bottom approach in the initial stage – as the child becomes more aware of their body and their elimination needs when there’s nothing on their bums. This is easiest in warm weather as you can let your child run around in a long t-shirt and nothing else. If they have an accident – they immediately feel it and recognize their body’s signals faster when bare bottomed. Of course, this is also a bit frustrating for clean-freak parents like me – it was pretty hard to mentally tolerate the idea of accidents on the carpet (hardwood floors are more potty training friendly). However, we had far fewer accidents with the bare bottomed approach.

Underwear or Trainers?

This is the million dollar question among parents when taking on the potty training challenge. Once you’ve taught youAliyahr little one to recognize their body’s signals – you must decide whether they should wear standard underwear or some form of trainers; this is entirely up to you and what your little one will respond best to.

True training pants are not diapers and are designed to contain accidents but are not typically waterproof (only more absorbent than standard underwear). However, not all trainers are created equal. Some trainers have no waterproof barrier – but are made with a thicker cotton than standard underwear while others do include a waterproof barrier such as the Imse Vimse Training Pants; other trainers are nearly identical to pocket diapers except they utilize side snaps or sewn sides and can easily be pulled up and down (these are usually best for overnight purposes) such as the Bumwear Pull Up Training Pants.

Evaluate how your child reacts to underwear and/or trainers. If your child treats the trainer like a diaper, then it would be best to avoid them. I used “pull-ups” on my youngest daughter for trips outside the home just so I wouldn’t have to deal with any potential accidents (which always seem to occur at the most inopportune time). However, after awhile I noticed she wouldn’t bother going potty in the toilet or telling me when she needed to go potty while wearing her pull-ups - she’d just reliever herself in them; if she wore panties – she would always tell me when she needed to go potty. Naturally, I stopped using the pull-ups when going outside and she rarely had an accident.

Lastly, overnight dryness may take some time. Therefore, it’s highly recommended not to tackle nighttime training until after your child has mastered daytime dryness. Even then, some children have issues with bedwetting (a condition called enuresis); this is more common in boys than in girls, and is considered medically normal/acceptable until approximately 6 years of age. Both my children are still heavy night-wetters and not ready for nighttime training. Until they’re ready we use waterproof pull up training pants and one size diapers (for my slender almost 3 year old) for overnight and they work great/ I haven’t experienced a leak yet as opposed to the disposable overnight pull-ups which leaked more often than not!
- By Serena


Angela said...

I completely agree with the bare bum training, it is very visual and helps with the laundry pile.

Overnight, my children were overnight trained about 12-14 months after there were completely potty trained.

Really let your kids guide this, for my children, starting at 12 months, I would set them on the toilet before baths and in the morning. Nothing big, just to get them use to what that big thing was for.

one day in the life of me said...

We are still in diapers at night and it's been over a year since she has been trained during the day. I am not sure how to approach the nighttime thing since she is still soaking a pocket.

My younger dd 22 months shows no signs of interest. I tried doing part time EC with her had a little success early on but she just doesn't want to sit on the potty. She's a very busy girl.

Denise said...

My 19 month old is dry at night, this has been the main sign of readiness with several of my kids (boys too, she's the youngest of 6). We are currently using her fitted diapers as trainers during the day & throwing on a cover to leave the house. I've also had trouble with using pull-ups, my 3 yr old didn't fully train until we took away her pull ups, as soon as she was in regular underwear we had no more accidents.

For those who's kids have been dry during the day, I would recommend trying to figure out WHEN at night your child is wetting. One of my son's would wet just before waking every morning, we started waking him up 20 minutes earlier & taking him right to the potty, he never wet the bed again. Another child would cry in the middle of the night, then go back to sleep, when I realized that was the time of night she was wetting the bed, I started going to her & taking her potty as soon as she started to cry....she was too sleepy to get to the potty, but aware enough to briefly get upset, after a few weeks of me getting up to take her potty she started getting up on her own.

Kelly said...

My daughter is almost 30 months and we've been trying to work on potty training since before she turned 2 years old. It is slow going and I'm concerned that even if we did get her to use the potty during the day, that she might revert...given that we're having a baby (her little sister) in another month. Does anyone have extra advice or experience potty training a toddler with a newborn in the house - does it necessarily mean my toddler may revert a bit on the potty training thing?

Serena said...

One Day in the Life of Me:

Approaching nighttime training is definitely trickier for most parents as opposed to daytime training. If your little one is still soaking a pocket overnight then she may not be ready. Usually the sign of readiness for nighttime dryness is staying dry for the most part. Both my DD are heavy wetters at night and although we attempted nighttime training - we had to take a break because they're both not ready - their brains aren't telling their body to "wake up you have to pee." =)

You can test the following:

Cut off fluids (or foods containing a lot of fluid such as soups, watermelon, etc...) 1 1/2 hours before bed. Take them potty right before going to bed. If you go to bed later than they do - check on them before going to sleep and see if they have any wetness. Check again in the morning - try and get to them before they wake up to see if they have any wetness - usually most kids will pee just before/at waking. If they've soaked their diaper before the morning then they're more than likely not ready yet.

Momto3LittleFlowers said...

Great comments girls... Keep them coming!!

Kelly: Answering your question, I think every child is different... Many kids will revert with the birth of a sibling, but my oldest was the opposite!! We started training her at 2 as she was showing signs of being ready, but she continued having accidents, so we decided to put her in diapers again thinking that she simply wasnt here (and I still think she just wasnt ready)... Exactly a week after my middle girl was born (my oldest was 2 and half), she actually asked us not to put her a diaper anymore. She said that she wanted undies, and she was trained that very same day!!! She said that the diapers where for the new baby and that is she used the diapers, the new baby was going to be naked!

It did took us until the birth of my third daughter (13 months later) to train her for the nights.... We actually didnt put much effort to it and let her be.

For my second daughter, we started when she was 2 as she started staying dry at night.. We first started taking her to the bathroom while still using her diapers. That was for a couple of weeks, and after she started going, we got her undies... We made a big deal out of it and give her "training gifts".. She got an Elmo Potty DVD, undies, and a ring for the regular toilet... She is now fully trained (day and night) after a few months....

My youngest is 19 months old and showing ALL signs of being ready.... I think IM not ready to potty trained my last child!! LOL... Where has the time gone???

Serena said...


Yes, some children do revert or have multiple accidents when a new sibling is introduced but not all. I haven't had time to research why this may be - but it does happen. However, this may not be the case for your little one.

My oldest daughter is only 15 months older than my second daughter. I attempted potty training at 18 months because she showed signs/interest but I determined she just wasn't ready yet so I waited... Just after turning 2 she essentially potty trained herself. I left her bare bottomed for 2-3 days and voila - she was done (of course we still had accidents from time to time and we had to work on daytime nap dryness).

Try to focus only on her and her readiness/interest. Make it as fun as you possibly can - maybe if she understands the baby is coming you can encourage her to learn so she can show the baby how it's done. Some kids respond positively when they are put in charge.


Katrina said...

We did the bare bum training for my oldest son Ian as well, and it worked great. He was only 2 1/2 when he started showing signs of being ready to train, so I jumped right in and amazingly he pretty much trained himself. I definitely attribute his early potty learning to cloth diapering. He would watch me clean the diapers in the toilet, and realized that that is where the waste should go. He is now completely day trained, but still uses a Fuzzi Bunz at night - he is no where near ready for night training yet. He's young, so I'm in no rush to push him if he's not ready yet.

Momto3LittleFlowers said...

Serena: The reversion happens sometimes because some kids think that they may get AS MUCH attention as the new baby if they act like her/him. They think: "Mom spends lots of time changing the baby's diaper... Why dont I start having accidents so she may come and clean me and spend more time with me".... This could happen EVEN if you do everything to make the older child involved... The truth is that it doesnt matter how much you GIVE to the older child, he/she is still getting use to the fact that he needs to "share" his/her mom and dad....

There are experts on the subject that actually asks parents to postpone the training if the mother is about to gift birth. If you read my previous comment, in my case was the opposite.. My daughter was worried that we may run out of diapers if she were using them!! How cute is that???

Serena said...

Anelys - I love when you have the time to post your comments (you are one hard working webdesigning mama)! You're absolutely right - every child is different (even our very own children). =)

One other suggestion came to mind that worked for us but it didn't seem to fit in the post when I wrote it:

Although we don't have a TV - my kids LOVE Dora the Explorer and the Disney princesses (they watch it at my parents house)... My second daughter really responded to the opportunity to wear Dora and Princess panties. I told her, "Don't pee-pee on Dora (or the princess) because they will be very sad!" It worked EXTREMELY well because she didn't want to make them sad. =)

Serena said...

Anelys - Mommy might run out of diapers so I need to use the potty! Que preciosa! That goes to show how thoughtful your little one is!

I suspected that might be the cause - little one wants attention (even when they're getting plenty of it). Thanks for filling me in. Children are definitely a balancing and juggling act all-in-one!

Personally, I was incredibly overwhelmed at the thought of potty training at first because I am a huge neat-freak and I thought there was no way I could handle accidents all over the place. Thankfully that wasn't the case!

Momto3LittleFlowers said...

Serena: Awwww... Thanks!! You know that it gets easy to do what you love! Plus the potty training subject is a VERY important subject for me.... I used to teach 2 years olds, and the requirement for them to pass to the 3 year old class was to be POTTY TRAINED!!! Imagine how it was to train toddlers where some of them were not even ready!!!!

Check out this video of my youngest (who was 18 months old at that moment)... I asked her to take her doll to do potty... Check her out:

Katie said...

My first son was 2 1/2 when he was completely potty trained. I was lucky, he would be dry overnight from a very young age, so that helped things to go faster. It was very easy with him. I took him to the store to have him pick out "big boy underware" and that was enough incentive for him.

My DS #2 is a bit tougher. He is soaking in the morning and is NOT interested on going on the potty. I hate to do this, but he is food motivated, so I offer M&M's as an incentive. I am using training pants with him, but we are not trying too hard yet. When asked, he says that he wants to go in his diaper, not on the potty and since most people have told me not to push it until he is ready, we are just taking our time.

EdenSky said...

Thanks for this very timely post! My daughter is almost 18 months old so potty training is fast approaching. To tell the truth, I'll be a little sad when our cloth diaper days are over!

Angela Sundara... etc said...

Thank you thank you thank you thank you! I have three in diapers (just graduated the fourth a couple months ago) and, you know, I'm getting tired of it! But I don't really know how to potty train. My first baby was easy- just told her to go in the toilet, so she did from that point on. But my second was a multiple-month-long ordeal. UGH! This post helped me a lot.

Jenn B said...

on the reverting topic, my first (now 4) was trained at 18mo & 2 months later my daughter was born, he never reverted or looked back. all was well. we started training my daughter this summer at 21 months & it was rough-going & she never really got to the point where SHE was consistently telling ME that she needed to go (really it was more like EC) and then i started nannying my niece, and she started reverting, wanting to "be a baby like Skye". Then we moved & she 100% reverted. However, we just revisted it at 29 months & after 5 days she stopped having any accidents & she tells me, vs. me just putting her on the potty randomly trying to guess when she needs to go. So...probably a combination of "really" being ready, and letting the dust settle on the big changes that happened. so even if you DO have reverting, at least you don't have to start from square 1 (this is pee pee...this is a potty...), and it will go quicker the second time around.

the momma said...

We use both the adult toilet w child's seat and the portable child's toilet for training. We have found great success with both- it's esp. nice when solids are delivered in the adult toilet and not the child's toilet... although I use the diaper sprayer to clean it out on the rare occasion when it does happen. In the early stages of training, we would put the portable child's toilet out in our open kitchen/dining/living room so that it was always visible and the child benefited from being able to see it, as well as not feeling like she was missing out on anything while she was leaving to go to the potty. We also used the bare bum/ real underwear during the day except for naps, and after 2-3 days of infrequent accidents, there were none! My husband has initiated the potty training of both of our older daughters- taking them to use the toilet before they tell us they need to -and after a couple weeks/months of parental prompting they easily made the transition to self-identifying when they have the urge to go. DD#2 has always been aware of passing solids, so getting her to use the toilet for that was very easy- she hasn't had a poopy diaper since 18 months! (DD#1 took longer than that... but she didn't have the same sort of bowel awareness as DD#2 has had since birth.)

Jess said...

All kids are def different! This is my third time potty training (all boys) & they all learn differently. My 5 yr old still wets the bed yet my 3 yr old has not wet the bed since he trained (& he trained extremely quickly) my 2.5 yr old will only go if he's bare bummed *sigh* oh & I cut off all drinks at 7pm just to ensure a dry night ;)

Serena said...

Awesome feedback mamas! It's reassuring to see that the posts are helpful - and I love the exchange of ideas!

Amanda said...

I have done allot of reading on early potty training (fully trained by 18-24 months) and I was wondering if anyone on here has tried and succeeded w/ it. If so, how?

Serena said...

Hi Amanda!

I initially started trying to potty train my oldest/first darling daughter when she was 18 months because she showed some signs of readiness. We even bought her a special potty which she was very excited about... she loved to sit on it and I initially thought she would be successful. However, for her, she just wasn't ready. She could recognize her bowel movement body signals but not when it came to pee - she would just wet herself. So we took a break and tried again when she turned two as she again started showing more and more interest.

It was good that I just waited until she was absolutely ready because she essentially trained herself. Every child is different. I have a friend who insisted on potty training her daughter when she turned 18 months old... she ultimately learned and was probably fully potty trained by 2 years of age - but I personally didn't see the point in being so aggressive with the potty training and dealing with the plethora of accidents that come when the child isn't quite ready.

I would say try it and see how your little one responds. If, for the most part, they respond positively - then keep at it. However, if they have repetitive accidents or don't seem too interested, it would be best to hold off a little and try again another time.

Kelly Wels said...

Awww...What an adorable video. I know I am going to refer back to this post when Riley is going thru that stage (won't be for awhile)! My other son, Hanz, trained completely at 2 1/2 years, my daughter at 2 (she was early- 2 weeks before Hanz was born).

brietta said...

I second the importance of waiting until the CHILD is ready. My first was easy. He learned SO fast. I took his diaper off and we never looked back-- not even at night. Totally textbook in the way he learned, and quick, too.

My second child is a girl and everyone told me girls learn younger and fast. So I tried teaching her before she was 2. It was a disaster. She was NOT ready. Her communication skills weren't there yet, nor was her understanding.

In the end, my daughter was more than 6 months older than my son when she was potty trained. Just goes to show you that what "they" say isn't always true-- and it's more important to watch your child him/herself. :)

Thanks for another great post!

Matt, Sara and Kinsley :) said...

Potty training is one of my biggest fears. I feel many people judge parenting skills on this one milestone, which as you said sooo different for each child.

Cecile said...

My daugther just turned 2 1/2 and has decided that she would use the potty during the day. She refused to go near the potty or the toilet for months and went through some regression after her little brother was born (they're 20 months apart). But one day, voila, she's okay with peeing in the toilet! No idea what made her change her mind... But she asks for a diaper to poop and will hold it if I say no. I wonder if that happened to anyone?

We're doing the bare bum training (her favorite), and we use Ariel or Elmo underwear when we have company or we're going out.

Other question: what kind of diaper is best for nighttime, considering she's quite tall and thin. The one-size BumGenius don't fit her well at all.

Kelly said...

I had to comment on this post. I have one DS that is now 4 1/2 and fully potty trained but what a story. I, as did another commenter, read all about training early and quickly and thought I would be doing that. Around 18 months, I thought "Let's get this done" well it didn't happen so after a few weeks I gave up. Then at two, after hearing that toddlers in cloth diapers, especially those that can feel wetness, usually potty train early. So here I go again, since DS had always been in cloth and prefolds his entire 2 yrs. This time I just get frustrated that nothing I do works. As so many others say, it's all about timing, and not mommy's timing but child's timing. It wasn't until DS was 3 and wanted to go to "school" that I said, only big boys that don't wear diapers can go to school. (At least the preschools I had looked into) So it still took a few months, but I let him determine how and when he wanted to try for a while. Then at 38 months, I made the commitment to stay home for the entire week, watch every little move DS made to watch for signs and put on underpants instead of training or pull ups, and three days later, we were potty (pee) trained and looking at signing up for preschool. This happened to be one month before DS#2 arrived and I was afraid of DS#1 reverting but he didn't. it is another story on getting him to poop in the potty or toilet. But I wanted to give mothers hope that each and every child will eventually potty train, some just take longer than others. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would have a 3 yr old still in diapers, but I did and lived through it. Good luck to all. And I hope my DS#2 does it sooner but I won't worry so much this time :)

jaimee khan said...

I have been searching for an overnight trainer for my two kids. I have one that is 4 and still a heavy wetter and a 2 year old that is still not trained even during the day. My eldest (8 now) was not trained for overnight until he was almost 6. So, the problem I am having is that the happy heiny trainers are not holding up. I have tried all kinds of stuffings from prefolds to inserts and I am still waking up wet 2 out of 5 nights. Any suggestions? I thought the Happy Heinies were the best rated for overnight, but should I try another brand or something else all together?