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Monday, May 9, 2011

Potty Training Season

by Marcy Collier

The Preschooler Problem Solver
As the summer season approaches, so does the season of potty training. Yes, potty training. Talk about spring showers. Now you’re thinking, have I come to the right blog? Isn’t this a blog about writing? Hang on, you’ll see the tie in. If you’re a mother, you’ve learned patience, right?

I have received tons of great motherly (and fatherly) advice from my fellow Route 19 writers. But one of our members in particular has been my “go to” person for parenting advice. I was fortunate enough to meet Carol in a writing group when I was potty training my first child. At the time, Carol was the potty training expert for Nick Jr. magazine. Every Monday after group, I’d corner Carol with my potty training questions. With Carol’s expert help, I learned some greats tips on how to potty train my kids.

1. Summer is the best time to train your child because it’s easier for him to pull his pants up and down. For a while, I let my son wear only underwear and a long shirt to make it easier for him to use the potty.

2. Wear regular underwear. I made the mistake of wearing pulling ups on my son. He couldn’t feel when he wet himself, or he’d ask if he was wearing a pull-up and then go to the bathroom in his diaper. When I trained my second child, I wore underwear on him from the start and kept a change of clothes ready in case of accidents.

3. Allow your child to help buy new underwear. If he wants to wear the picture of a superhero in the front, let him.

4. Don’t push your child to potty train if he doesn’t seem ready or doesn’t show interest. My first child refused to try until he turned three. When we visited preschool, the teacher told him he had to be potty trained to attend. That incentive encouraged him to try.

5. Keep the potty close. Make it easy and convenient for him to use. Many times a child gets distracted with play and forgets he needs to go. Our potty stayed in my family room at home and next to my desk on a waterproof floor mat at work. If you have a dog, get to the potty before he does or train your child to close the lid immediately. Trust me on this one.

6. Find an easy to clean potty. The first potty I bought for my son had a detachable splash guard and a cushioned seat. It was hard to clean and the pee guard always fell in the pot before he finished. When I potty trained my younger son, I bought a simple, easy to clean potty that my son picked at the store. I LOVED the froggy potty. It had two pieces, a built in splash guard and was a snap to sanitize and clean.

7. Use small rewards right after your child uses the potty. M&M’s worked great for my sons.

I want to thank my friend Carol for all of her motherly advice and wish her and my fellow Route 19 writers a happy Mother’s Day!

Dr. Carol Baicker-McKee holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and has done an awesome job of raising her own three children. If you have children, Carol’s parenting books are a must have. The Preschooler Problem Solver sits on my night stand for quick and easy reference.

The Preschooler Problem Solver

FussBusters at Home: Strategies and Games for Smoothing the Rough Spots in Your Preschooler's Day

Fussbusters on the Go: Strategies and Games for Stress-Free Outings, Errands, and Vacations With Your Preschooler

Froggy Potty link and reviews


  1. It's definitely potty-training season at my house! Lots of extra loads of laundry, but I'm also in the underwear-not-pull-ups camp. Far more effective, if frustrating at times. I'll have to pick up Carol's book on vacation strategies prior to our two-week roadtrip to Florida this summer.

    Thanks for the timely article (for me, anyway :-)

  2. One more piece of advice. Check under the seat for black widows.

    When I lived out in Albuquerque, I would leave the potty on the back porch for my youngest to use. One day when I was cleaning it, I found 3 black widows on the underside. I promptly fainted (okay, that's an exaggeration, but there was a part of me that fainted).

    suenelkocarr, have fun! The whole thing is hilarious if you let it be. And yeah for underwear.

  3. I'm glad the article was helpful, Sue. I remember the extra laundry, but I also remember the first vacation without diapers or sippy cups. It was like I left an entire duffel bag at home. I hope you have an awesome time in Florida and maybe your little one will almost be trained! Definitely check out Carol's books.

    Cynthia, so scary seeing the black widows on the potty, although that was a great idea leaving the potty on the back porch for accidents. You could just hose off the porch!