Parenting, Potty training

Potty Training, Decoded

One of the biggest and probably dreadful chores to do on a mother’s mind is Potty Training child. The question here is, what exactly is potty training and what does it mean when we say the child is potty trained? After talking to a lot of moms, I figured that most of the times, potty training really means that when you seat the child on the potty, he/she will go. But to me, it means that the child is mostly accidents free and can at a bare minimum tell me that he/she needs to go using verbal communication method. High expectations eh!

So how do we approach potty training? There are a lot of articles on the internet that talk about it. I read and re-read a lot of them, trying to pacify my quench for knowing the nitty-gritty details. But none of them talked about what the child will be able to do or what we should expect as mothers from our little ones at the end of the short training period. I decided to take the plunge one fine day and I am still in the middle of it, and I started learning a lot from my little-one. The plethora of articles that I read online and the number of people I talked to was all assimilated in my mind and as I progress into accomplishing this task eventually, this is what I have comprehended so far.

The term potty-training means different to different people. Actually, the term, “child is potty trained” is a misnomer. Let’s first decode potty-training stages that a child accomplishes during the process.

Stage 1: The lo is able to sit on the pot for a couple minutes and possibly pee/poo. Diaper is not recommended to be removed at this stage

Stage 2: The lo is able to sit on the pot until (s)he pees/poos. Diaper is still not recommended to be removed at this stage

Stage 3: The lo, when taken to the bathroom every half hour, can pee/poo. There can be accidents if diaper is removed, however it is recommended to remove the diaper.

Stage 4: The lo, when taken to the bathroom every 45mins-1hr, can pee/poo. Be prepared for occasional accidents

Stage 5: The lo may show signs of discomfort when (s)he needs to go, but will mostly not tell and may have an accident

Stage 6: The lo will ask to be taken to the toilet or provide some sort of verbal signal that (s)he needs to visit the bathroom

PS: The above stages do not include night training though it can be interlaced depending upon how ready the child is. Usually if the child stays dry overnight, the night diaper can be removed. If not, you will have to take the kiddo to the bathroom once in the middle of the night to get into the habit of it. I will cover that in another post when mine is done.

Stage 6 is the final one and once that is consistently achieved with barely any accidents, you can heave a sigh of relief and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Remember, there can still be accidents occasionally as kids get too busy playing and ignore the signals to go.

The next question now that comes is, how long does it take to go from Stage 1 to Stage 6. Depends on the child. Anywhere between 3 days to 6 months.

So how am I doing it now after my previous few unsuccessful attempts? As a mother of a 28month old toddler who does not care if he is dirty, I feel the sooner you start the better. We started putting him on potty seat every morning with books and toys whenever we had time. Starting about 23 months, we became fairly regular. We skipped a day or two but were not too harsh on ourselves for missing a day. Also, if he would poop, we would applaud and have him flush the toilet (But only on success). We never forced the child to sit too long if he had started crying. We would try distraction, but if that didn’t work, the child was off the seat. And everytime, the kiddo pooped in the diaper, we asked him where do you go potty and tell him to say “pot”. Soon he got the hang of the answer at least J

At exactly 28 months, on a warm summer weekend, the diapers came completely off during the day time. Day 1 and 2 were very hard. We followed the bare bottom method, where the child does not wear any pants, or underwear or socks. Mine didn’t like not wearing anything and insisted on having underwear. I put those on saying he should not wet them. We started visiting the bathroom every half hour. It was draining and extremely tiring considering I was the only one doing it. So mommies, please take help from your partner if you can, to watch the child and make trips to the bathroom.

Day 3 started and I heaved a sigh of relief because he had to go to daycare. I removed the diapers first thing in the morning and took the lo to bathroom. He peed and pooed and we left for daycare barely 15minutes away. Since the munchkin doesn’t like going to the daycare, the pressure of crying made him pee in the carseat. A disappointment, but I didn’t scold him. The caretaker put him in fresh underpants and took over from there. She was very cooperative and took the lo to the toilet every half an hour.

The half hour visits continued for a week and moved to 45minutes the following week. We did put the lo in the diaper when we had to go out for longer periods or visit someone Though we still continued potty trips every 45minutes.

You will get the cues as to when to increase the time as the lo will not pee when you take him/her. So we slowly moved to an hour, and then hour and 15minutes and so on. By the end of the month, we were making the trips to the loo every hour. As parents, we were also confident enough to take him out shopping in his pants only. Lucky for us (And funny), the lo would tell he wants to pee whenever outside. For some reason, toilets outside are more attractive? Good for us, saved us a lot of possible embarrassment 😉

At the end of 3 months, the lo was going every two hours, however still not telling. We did have accidents every now and then, but mostly because we forgot to take him or he had a lot of water and we were not paying attention. I remember complaining that he still doesn’t tell. But just a week or so later, he started telling us when he would need to pee/poo.

Right now, he is 32 months, and has been telling us 99% of the times that he needs to go. I still keep an eye on the time, which is about 2-2.5 hrs (Considering cold days and water intake into determining the timings), sometimes even 3. We also keep asking him. Usually the answer is no, but we nevertheless visit and he does it. At this point, I can proudly say my lo is potty trained (ok ok almost). We no longer use diapers for afternoon naps. We do take him to pee right before sleeping and right after he wakes up. Nigt time diapers are still there but because we still haven’t been able to get rid of his drinking milk habit just before going to bed. Also, with a lot of changes happening on a personal front, I will just let it happen gradually y reducing fluid intake after dinner and as he enters 3 years, they will come off too (hopefully, fingers crossed!!!! J )

So, now for some Common Issues:

P: The child is scared to sit on the pot.

S: Sit the child facing backwards.

P: The child doesn’t want to sit on the potty

S: Use some toys or books to keep them seated. Don’t force them to sit. Try to go as long as possible and then just take them down. The sooner the child is started to be made to sit on the potty, the better it is. I recommend starting at about 15-18 months. It doesn’t have to be consistent. Occasional sitting would do too.

P: The child does not want to go to the bathroom.

S: To lure the lo to the potty seat, add food colors like blue or red to the water. Additional benefit of this is that if they pee enough, the color of water will change to green or orange respectively and they may be eager enough to go again and again

P: The lo is not bothered by wet pants

S: Patience, Really!

Also, for any of the issues, start talking to child about where the pee/poo is done. Tell him at every opportunity or when doing diaper changes. Start at about 18months. Talking does help a lot.

I will update the questionnaire above as and when I encounter more questions. Till then, happy reading and enjoy the training process. Good Luck!!!


Potty training

Potty Training – The easy going way (2)

Every mother has her own style of parenting and mine is quite relaxed. I don’t worry too much or have very strict rules about most things at home. Sometimes it works and some times it doesn’t but we are all learning and fixing each issue as and when we face it. My ideology is that we should let a child be a child (well, most of the times at least) and should not burden them too much about reaching milestones and developing certain skills. Having said that, I do have little tolerance for misbehavior and my LO is not allowed to hit or throw things especially food, EVER!

Anyway, coming back to potty training. With toilet training, we followed the same approach. We just practiced our intuition to time our LO’s nature calls instead of threatening or putting much pressure on her. She did get a scolding when once she peed on the sofa… thankfully I had placed a mat where she was sitting, but that’s about it. In the last 10-12 days since we started the training, there have been very few accidents, and barring one or two all have happened while she was watching TV. We have completely stopped making her wear diapers during the day time, she is wearing her big girl panties even to her school and to the park in the evening. She still doesn’t tell half of the times but if we see her uneasy and ask if she needs to pee, she does hold her pajamas and runs to the loo… hehe… funny sight it is! 😉  I consider it a major feat as 10 days ago she used to cry when I put on her big girl panties and not a diaper.

Most kids pee soon after they get up from their nap or in the morning, and during the first couple of days of our training VMJ peed on the bed itself as soon as her sleep was broken and cried because she did not expect to get all wet. On the third day she got up and came to me in the kitchen… dry! I took her to the loo and she relieved herself. Since that day, though she still sleeps in diapers at night, when she wakes up in the morning she tells us she has to pee and pees in the bathroom.

I have also realized that kids are more in love with the idea of getting a treat than the treat itself. At least with VMJ, we have given her a promised candy only 2-3 times, the rest times she’s just happy sitting at the pot and chanting “chocolate milega (I’ll get a chocolate)” and forgets to ask for it when she’s done. So, parents, if you are delaying toilet training your child because you don’t want to bribe them with sweets or toys etc and nothing else seems to work, please give it a shot. It is not as bad as it looks. My daughter doesn’t even want to flush as an incentive, she gets happy enough when we clap and applaud her. Another thing that I feel one should refrain from is using props to keep them seated in the bathroom. See, when you use books, toys and gadgets like iPad and phones while they wait for nature’s call, you are giving a message that the bathroom is a place for all those activities too. In the long run, children feel it is ok to ONLY play or read in the bathroom and this adds to another task for you. So, its better not to cultivate a habit you don’t want your child to keep.

Having said that, all kids are different and each behaves in his own unique way. As a parent you need to have the knowledge of the various tricks you can use and then try those one by one with utmost patience and love. Sometimes threatening is required but make sure you scold then within a few moments of an accident. Their memory is quite short for such matters and if you scold after a gap they may not be able to relate your words with their action. 

Try not to start training when your child is undergoing any major change in his surroundings – guests coming over or leaving, new school, new session with new teacher, shifting houses, sickness, a new sibling. Little things have a big impact on a child and it won’t help stressing a child who is already upset with a change in his immediate environment.

Lastly, be prepared for accidents long after your child has been fully toilet trained. 

Would love to know what are the tricks that worked for you.



Potty training

Potty Training – The easy going way (1)

My husband is a sort of hygiene freak. When our DD turned 1, I told my hubby its time to start toilet training her, especially because summers were just beginning and by the onset of winters she would be completely trained (well, one can at least hope!). My cleanliness freak literally freaked out…

“You mean, there will be pee and poop on the floor and bed?!”

I said “Yes, some accidents are bound to happen.”

“Isn’t there a better way to toilet train kids?”

“I think not”

“How can this be possible? What do people in western countries do where the houses are all fully carpeted?”

“Umm… I think they wait until the child is old enough to understand and follow instructions.”

“Ok… lets do the same with our daughter. Moreover, what’s the point of stressing her unnecessarily”

And so we postponed training her and she stayed happy and snug in her diapers.

Few months later people started asking us… “Is she still wearing diapers?” “She is not trained yet?” which, though made us uneasy, failed to result in any action because monsoon had already started and everyone knows monsoon and winters are bad bad times to start with the training. We held back all thoughts on the topic again and waited impatiently for winters to get over. 

Soon after VMJ turned 2 we, very enthusiastically, started with her training. Taking her to the toilet every hour and telling her she’ll get a chocolate if she pees or poops in the toilet. We failed miserably. She wouldn’t even sit on the seat. I let her see me pee so she knows its ok but it didn’t help. Then a friend suggested that we shouldn’t rush her and let her pee on the bathroom floor to start the process and then gradually move her to the seat. We tried that too but again… no luck. She would not pee when we made her stand in the bathroom and waited there with her but peed all over the moment we came out. She knew all theory… kept saying “Pehle se batana potty aayi to (when you want to poop, tell beforehand)” “Susu bathroom mein karte hain (we pee in the loo)” but sucked at practical. We gave up after trying for few days, thinking we’ll start again after a while.

Then yesterday I was chatting with a neighbor whose younger daughter is a couple of months younger to VMJ and she said “You need to keep her off diapers at home at least… in 1-2 months she’ll get the hang of it”, and I went “What?! 1-2 months?” 

When hubby got home I told him the same thing and he geared up once again. We took off the diapers and made her sit on the seat. Hubby sat with her on the bathroom stool and kept talking. After a long time she peed in the pot! Ahhh…. the sweet sound of success… 😉

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We had to step out to the local market area for a while so the diaper was back. Soon after we returned I saw her making her potty face and rushed her to the bathroom. It was a little too late but I still made her sit on the seat where she finished her business which started in the diaper. 2 successes back to back gave us some confidence but our joy was short lived. She peed in the bedroom, barely few steps away from the bathroom the next time nature called… 😦

Lessons learnt:

  • You can’t let few successes or even many to let you lose grip on the situation. A child is a child after all… the parent needs to be in control and lead the training all the time. 
  • You will have to be very very patient. Experienced parents know it takes 1-2 months for a child to just get the hang of peeing in the loo… first time parents need to remind themselves over and over again to give the little ones more time.
  • It should be instantly gratifying for the child to pee or poop in the pot. Give them the incentive you promised, if you did, immediately after the business is done, else it loses its significance.
  • Don’t let meal times, play times, milk times or TV times distract your schedule… any deviation will only result in accidents as children get too caught up in these activities to realize the need to pee/poop.
  • Identifying the exact moment to take your toddler to the loo is easy when the child is active as I have noticed VMJ would just pause for a moment right before she lets go. (last night she was playing with us and suddenly just paused, we rushed her to the loo and had a success. Similarly when we were setting the table for dinner, she paused for a moment and taking the cue we rushed to the bathroom and had another success).
  • Get a potty ring, preferably a cushioned one with handles so the child can sit comfortably and hold the handles if he is too scared of sitting on the pot. The independent potty seat is too heavy and needs to be cleaned every time the child does his business. And if you do succeed in training your child on the independent seat it could be another task to make him sit on the actual pot. The ring looks like this and is available easily at all stores selling kids equipment. We bought ours for around 400/- lu0496_1

I will add more to this as I learn myself… until then…. Happy training everyone! Good luck!



Potty training

Potty Training: Day 2

Results first: It was a failure. LO did not want to sit on the potty at all. For some reason, playing was more important. the efforts continued till afternoon, and then had to be given up. Stickers, candies, colors…nothing worked to attract the lo to the loo. Takeaways from today: If lo is not in a mood, its better to try some other day.

We finally gave up, had lunch, and after the nap, went out for shopping. It was fun to be outside and made us both happy.

Day 3, begins tomorrow!


Potty training

Potty Training: Day 1

Day 1 of toilet training ended on an encouraging note (LO pooped in the pot-finally in the evening right before bed-time, just before being confined to diaper again), though the whole day was full of ups and downs. Thought of quitting happened pretty much every hour but the perseverence stayed put. At the end of the day, success rate was at about 40%.

The day started right after breakfast. The diaper was trashed and came along pull-up pants. Trips to the bathroom were made every half hour. Drinking juice threw the timing off, and the trips were adjusted to every 20mins. By mid-day we had 50% success. Though sounds like a big number on first day, but it was more of a training for me to know when the next nature call is coming ;), than it was for the lo.

The training continued after nap-time, with the duration of sitting on potty being 20mins at times. With each failure, confidence dropped. However, following were the takeaways from the day:

  • There should not be any distractions in the potty room (like toys or books etc) At this age he pees when told to, but cannot yet tell just before needing to use the toilet
  • Flushing toilet right after a success was a lot of fun and enough incentive
  • With increase in fluid intake, trips to the loo should be more frequent (sometimes as soon as 15mins)
  • I slacked at keeping a chart. It should be done, more so for our own sake so we know the pattern
  • And the most important, it is a mother’s training to know when the lo needs to be rushed to the loo and not the other way round… Phew!

Day 2 continues tomorrow… Will it be a success on Day 3? Seems like a far-fetched dream right now. Only time will tell!


Potty training

Gearing up for potty training

Potty training: One of the most dreaded tasks for a mom. I have heard poles apart experiences from mommies. For some it is  a cake-walk and for some, it’s a never-ending battle. Some mommies feel that it should be started as early as possible, while some say the kid will do it on his/her own when he/she is ready (around 3-4 years). I am planning to take up this daunting task over this long weekend. My LO (~2 year old) knows he need to go pee-pee/poo-poo on the pot. [I have been a little lucky that my parents have been here since past 3 months and are making him sit on the pot pretty much every morning and he has done it on the potty 4-5 times. Very  low success rate but it’s a start] So now I am planning to go all in and removing his diapers and making him throw in the trash. I will graduate him to big boy pull up pants (under wear) and just wait and watch…

Day 0, my gear for tomorrow:

  •        -Pull up pants (lots of them, phew!)  [Check]
  •      –  Resolve carpet cleaner (skip them if you don’t have carpet) [Need to pick up from Walmart tonight]
  •        -Confidence [Not sure]
  •        -Persistence [Check]
  •        -Treats [Not in favor]
  •        -Toys and books [Check]

Currently, I am attempting only day training and not night. That will need to happen at a later day as my LO drinks milk right before sleeping. I plan to wean him off in a few months and then will do night-time too. But first things first. Watch out for Day 1, 2 and 3… 🙂