July Facebook Questions!

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C

How do you get over the almost potty trained hump?  (Maria K)  First, take stock of where you really are. Is your child overall doing well, but having a few accidents here and there? That’s normal! Ride it out with your regular routine and things should soon be on their way.

Maybe there’s been a little glitch, such as a regression where accidents are happening more frequently. If this is the case, try to assess what caused the regression. A change in routine, a new baby, a parent going back to work, anticipation of a big event… these can all lead to some pretty natural regression. Again, stick to your routine, or if need be, you can back up a bit. You might re-visit a reward system (such as our free downloadable chart) or go back to more frequent reminders, including something like the Potty Watch or a timer. Also, try to address the area of regression by offering some extra reassurance and attention around whatever is troubling. Sometimes there is no real tangible reason for regression, and that’s okay too. Again: routine-routine-routine!

Pretty soon that “almost potty trained hump” will be a thing of the past.

Undies or not during the first few weeks of potty training? (Sabine S-D): I think this is ultimately a pretty personal decision. There are some parents who really like pull-ups or need the reassurance of dry pants during a busy day. However, I also have many parents tell me that pull-ups just replaced diapers and weren’t a great help. Personally, I ditched all things absorbent and went for the undies. However, I kept a pack of pull-ups handy for things like long car trips (just in case!), and they did come in handy from time to time.

What about early potty training when they don’t talk much yet? (Jennifer B.): This is where our Potty Time program is very unique! Because we encourage signing while potty training, the actual words don’t even have to be there yet! Just consistently use the signs from our program (also available in free downloadable flashcards)  POTTY, WIPE, FLUSH, WASH (you can throw in ACCIDENT too), and if your child is otherwise ready for potty training, the signs can easily be used instead of the words. Oh… and don’t forget to CELEBRATE!

What to Expect When You Write All The Time

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C

I LOVE my job here at Potty Time. I get to interact with almost 5,000 Potty Time fans every week, sharing stories and advice on Facebook and Twitter, and blogging here. And even though my dad always told me I should be a writer, I’m still sort of surprised to turn around and find that his nudging in junior high and high school did eventually turn into a real thing. Honestly though, I always just figured I’d hang out here on Potty Time, and do some articles for the Signing Time Blog and Newsletter, and that would be good enough.

So, you can imagine my shock and excitement when What To Expect When You’re Expecting came knocking! After reading here at Potty Time, they asked me to guest blog for them and of course I jumped at the chance.

So… without further ado, I am happy to share with you my guest blog, which you can read by clicking the title here:  “Parenting a Boy is a Comedy”.

It’s not about potty training (not all of it anyway), but in some ways it is all about the crazy ride that is parenting… and that is something we can all identify with no matter what stage your little one is at. I hope you enjoy!


Community Questions in June!

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed, C.H.C.

Whenever I ask our Facebook fans what they are wondering about regarding potty training, I always get a list of great questions. Here are a few answers!

How do I manage toilet paper usage? (Naomi M.)

While pictures of your tot wrapping themselves and the bathroom in toilet paper will be priceless someday, you probably only need one or two of those photo opps! Here are some suggestions to minimize the paper use, and save a few trees.

  • Count squares: Show your child how many squares are acceptable for each wipe. If you need to, draw a little picture of just the right amount and hang it up for them to refer to and talk about.
  • Count time: Tell your child they can pull down toilet paper while counting to three. However much is down when they say “three” is what they use. You may have to coach a bit on how fast to count!
  • Sing: Sing the first three words of our jingle, “It’s Potty Time!” When the child says “time”, they stop pulling down paper and use what they have.

How do I get my toddler to sign “potty” to other people when she is being watched? (Kristen H.)

I think I would start with getting the adults to sign “potty” first! Kids learn by example and thrive on consistency, so if you can get her caregivers to take the lead on this and follow through with what you are doing at home, then that will help a lot.

We have a couple of resources on potty training when your child is in someone else’s care. Check out our articles in this link on Daycare and Working Parents

How do you help your child go poop in the potty? (Tammy E.)

First, know that it is very natural for some children to master pee before they can master poop. The muscles needed to control solid elimination can take a bit longer to develop. Once your child is indeed ready, there are a few things you can do:

  • Provide a base: If your child is on the big potty, be sure to provide a stool to rest little feet on. This helps not only with physical comfort, but is actually necessary so the child has a way to plant their feet so they can bear down on the muscles needed to release waste.
  • Ensure physical comfort: if your child has had a painful bowel movement in the past, they may have some fear around going again. Make sure they are well hydrated and have plenty of fruits and veggies for fiber to keep things moving along. If you are ever concerned about ongoing constipation, contact your pediatrician.
  • Take your time: You may need to have your child sit for a while in order to relax enough to try to go. Be prepared to sing songs, read stories, and just generally hang out for a bit. You can check out all our reviews on potty training storybooks for kids HERE to help pass the time!


Great Potty Training Advice

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C

Potty training advice… it is everywhere! Some of it is good. Some of it is pretty bad. Some of it is good for that kid over there, but really bad for your kid right here!

So, what’s a parent who is ready to ditch the diapers to do? Well, first, you should spend some serious time on this blog! It is full of great resources, from free downloads, to tips and tricks, that will give you lots of ideas to get you started. You should visit our Potty Time store, and see all the cool stuff we have on hand to help you with the process (hint: some of it is on sale as of this writing!).

And, finally, take a look at this blog posted below. This is a mom who gets it. Enjoy!

Every Single Stinkin’ Thing I Ever Learned About Potty Training

A Blog Tour

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C

I recently compiled a document on all the things we’ve ever posted on this blog. Goodness, who knew there was so much to write about on potty training!?!

As we are always welcoming newly potty training families into our community, I thought it might be helpful to give you a little tour of what we have going on here.

If you look to the top of the page, you’ll see several options.

Shop: Here’s where to buy all things Potty Time!  We are always working on new ideas, so check back from time to time to see what we’ve come up with next.

About: Meet the people behind Potty Time! You’ll meet the contributors to this blog of course, but you’ll also get a behind the scenes look at the creation of this program – a program born out of love for kids, and a very specific goal in mind.

Tips: If you are brand new to potty training, start here. This page has several quick reference lists that will help you make some key decisions before getting started.

Resources: This is probably the page I refer people to the most. It is full of great resources! First, you’ll see our free downloads, including the innovative and very popular free Potty Time App. We have articles just for kids with special needs, articles on daycare, boys vs. girls, regression, and so much more. If you’re experiencing it, we’ve probably written about it!

Humor: If you can’t keep a sense of humor when potty training, look out! We love to laugh – and sometimes kids pull things during potty training when you can do nothing but. Enjoy the chuckle!

Success: Guess what – everyone potty trains eventually! Read about some potty training success stories and what it took to get there.

FAQ: Potty training raises a lot of questions! You ask. We answer.

Enjoy the blog! And if there’s something you hope we’ll cover, just reach out and let me know. I’m always on the hunt for new ideas.



Regression and Stubborn Kiddos… Your Questions Answered!

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed.

Our Facebook fans ask great questions! Here, we answer a few.

How do I handle regression? (Halley M.)

First, remember that regression is absolutely normal! The most important thing to do is to stay positive. Look for reasons for the regression that you can address: a change in schedules, feeding habits, family dynamics… sometimes the littlest thing can upset the potty training process for a while. Stay consistent where you can and ride out what you can’t. You may also want to look for some new motivators for your kiddo. Some new stickers, a new prize, a new and improved potty song… something that makes it fun again may be the boost they need.

I have a 3 ½ year old boy that is daytime peepee trained. He will NOT poop in the potty. I haven’t punished (yikes!) because I don’t want him to hold it… but how can I get him to transition. He isn’t scared. Stubborn! (Michelle M.)

And along similar lines, “My daughter is almost 4 and goes pee on the toilet great.. but when it comes to BM she still hides and goes in her pants. We have tried everything we can think of. Please help!” (Heather A.)

First, we’re glad you’re not punishing, Michelle. You’re right – that could have some unintended consequences for all involved. So keep on staying positive! Also, just double check and make sure the child is comfy where they needs to go poop. A small toilet on the floor works for some families (some kids insist on the big potty though!) and if the child uses the big potty make sure you have an insert that fits the little bum, and most importantly, a stool to rest feet on. This footrest is vital because the child will need to bear down and use muscles that are too hard to use when little feet are dangling.

To actually address the stubbornness problem, here’s what we suggest: At 3 ½ and almost four years old, they are old enough to start taking some responsibility for choices. If messes happen in pants or a pull-up, bring the child with you to the potty to watch you dump it in. Then have the child flush and wash up as normal. Make your message very clear – there is one place this stuff goes, kiddo, and you will help me put it there! Good luck!

Wet clothes, fighting to go, and training young… your questions answered!

Here are some more questions and answers from our Facebook community:

So, my question is how do I teach him he HAS to wear clothes and still use the potty? (Melanie M)

How about making a game of it? Maybe let clothes be optional at home and make that a really funny special time for him. Then when it is time to be in public, he knows that is “clothes time”. At this point, let him be the one to pick a favorite shirt or underwear, or superhero cape to wear to the grocery store…something that gives him a little extra sense of control over the situation.

There is something about little boys that makes them just delight in being without clothes… even my six year old still feels this way, as evidenced by what he did with his clothes upon arriving home from school recently in the picture here.

My son knows when he has to but at times fights to get on potty or toilet… What can I do? (Elizabeth P.)

Sometimes the trick is finding just the right motivator. Stickers? Small treats? Earning a special outing with mom or dad? What would make him really really want to try? You can check out our free downloadable chart here: POTTY TIME CHART

Keep it light. Toddlers will engage in power struggles, and the last thing you want is a power struggle over using the toilet.  Really talk up the “big boy” aspect, and point out all the big people and big kids in his world who use the potty and that is SOOOOO cool!

My daughter will be 3 soon, she will use the potty if she has NO bottoms on, but the second you put on a pull up, underwear, or pants, she goes in them instead of the potty.. How do we break this habit? We’ve been training her for months now, and its generally always the same thing..

Also, my son is 16 months and has been showing interest in the potty, maybe because his older sister goes on it? My question is, how do I go about training him… the same way I did with my daughter? (pantsless?) I feel like he’s so young to be using the potty, but in retrospect he likely could be now It would be great if they were both potty trained at the same time lol! (Heather M)

With your daughter, I would suggest making her responsible for the wet messes. She needs to wipe up, change, and wash her hands. (You will need to handle solids for sanitary reasons). It’s probably also time to get rid of the pull-ups all together. They don’t really let the child feel the wetness and you want her to have that feeling to help her learn to respond to her body’s signals.

Can you get her some underwear with a favorite character on it (princesses, Dora, etc.). Tell her the character doesn’t like to get wet!

For your son – no, 16 months is definitely not too young. In fact, my nephew is training about this age (lucky parents!!). I say if he’s willing then strike when the iron is hot! Go ahead and let him try along with her, and if he starts to build success you are ahead of the game. If he’s not quite ready, the practice and praise will be great!

Facebook Questions!

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed.

I recently asked our awesome Facebook family to hit me up with some potty training questions. The response was fantastic! 45 (and counting) questions later, I have my work cut out for me. Perfect! That’s what we are here for. So, without further ado, the first questions, with more answers to come!

How do I know when he is ready to go with just a pull-up or underwear during naps, or over night?

Potty training during sleep can seem pretty daunting! I know I put it off for as long as possible! However, it may not be as big a transition as might be anticipated.

There are a few things you can do. First, minimize liquids before sleep time so your child is more likely to not have to go at all. Next, as soon as they wake up, take them to the potty.

As for readiness, you may want to watch for times when he is waking up dry. That’s a good sign he has begun to develop the ability to hold it in his sleep.

Don’t be discouraged by some wet accidents during sleep time. Stock up on a few extra sheets and a protector for the mattress and give it a go. My son took over a year to really potty train during the day, yet night trained in a week. Go figure!

Omg I can get her to potty??

I had to giggle a bit at this one. Yes. Yes you can!

Children don’t enter college not potty trained, so it’s a pretty safe bet to say they learned somewhere along the way.

Patience. Consistency. A sense of humor. Extra cleaning products. You’ll get there!

My 3 year old son is doing great at home in just his underwear but as soon as we put pants on him he pees in them! So he goes around in just his underwear at home but when we leave the house he needs to be in pull- ups all the time.

I swear there is something about little boys and the love of as few clothes as possible!

Kind of a random idea, but what if at home you also put a pair of underwear OVER the pants, to give him a visual of what he wants to keep dry? Make it a game, and have a good giggle together while you try. It’s worth a shot, and if anything, you can get some very amusing photographs.

Also make sure he is taking responsibility for the wet accidents, from cleaning up the floor (or helping to do so), to putting soiled clothes in the wash, and then washing his own hands.

For leaving the house, I suggest maybe trying very short outings. Perhaps as short as a walk down the street and back at first, and then maybe a quick trip to the nearest store, and so on. Tell him if he stays dry on these very short trips, big things are in his future… whatever reward you deem as a good one.


Book Review: Even Firefighters Go to the Potty

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed.

Even Firefighters Go to the Potty

By Wendy and Naomi Wax Illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

I’ve done quite a few potty training book reviews on this blog, so when the author of this book contacted me and asked if I’d like to take a look at her new book, I thought I’d take a little bit of a different spin.

I took my six year old to a friend’s house to read with her 22-month-old twins.  My son is like a cousin or big brother to these boys, and I thought it would be a lot of fun to see what they did. After all, who better to REALLY review a book than the kids themselves?

This book is charming, showing all sorts of childhood heroes delaying an event because they need to go potty, from the titled firefighter, to baseball players, to conductors and astronauts. My son giggled through the book as he read, and the twins, generally super active little guys, stayed well tuned in the entire time.

The twins sign "train" because, "Even conductors go to the potty!"

The twins sign "train" because, "Even conductors go to the potty!"

The illustrations are bright, bold, and engaging, and I particularly like the facial expressions on the characters. Thankfully, the missing waiter is shown washing his hands! We grownups might not want to dwell on it, but even waiters go to the potty too! It’s also a great time to practice the “I Wash My Hands” song, or perhaps talk about how how the characters are practicing “Stop and Go!” (click on each song title to hear clips of these Potty Time songs).

My very favorite part of this little activity though had to be when we were done reading and put the book to the side. One of the twins climbed up to the table to read it again, gleefully saying POTTY as he turned each page. I lunged for my video camera and caught a bit of it. Enjoy.

Click on the picture to open the video.

Click on the picture to open the video.