Night Training

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

I get a variety of questions about potty training, but they often follow a few specific themes. One of these themes is that of night training – when to start it, how long it takes, and what to expect.

First of all, know that it is perfectly normal for night training to take longer than day training. Yes, there are children who will do both around the same time, or one right after the other, but there are also many who may need longer to develop the bladder control while they sleep.

This is especially true for heavy sleepers, who may be in such deep slumber they don’t feel their body’s signals and thus wake up wet.

Also be aware that some night wetting is considered common right up until about age 6. No, this doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a couple of more years of bed-wetting, but if by chance this does occur, it is still considered biologically normal. Of course, if there is ever any concern, please check with your pediatrician.

There are a few things you can do to try to ease the transition:

  • Make sure your child is going potty just before going to sleep.
  • You may also want to limit liquids in the hour or so leading up to bedtime.
  • Some parents elect to wake a child late at night for a quick trip to the potty. This works well for some, and in others can actually just encourage energetic night waking, which nobody wants. The trick is just to know your kid on that one!
  • You can also try a rewards system for dry mornings – but do not scold or punish for accidents.
  • Keep extra sheets and clean pajamas handy so they are easy to access in the middle of the night or early morning.
  • Finally, know that in time this too shall pass.For more information on night training visit our TIPS page!

7 tips to start potty training

1. Gather information

Before you start, talk to friends, consult with your pediatrician, and read up on different approaches.

2. Trust your instincts

You are the expert on your child, not your mother-in-law. Go with what you think will work best for your child and for you.

3. Give yourself time

Many preschools require children to be diaper free prior to enrollment. Start well before your deadline to build wiggle room into your timeline.

4. Aim for consistency

Set up your potty training schedule, but don’t worry too much if you can’t stick to it every day. Life happens.

5. Celebrate every step

Potty training is a process. Start by celebrating the little things, like sitting on the potty for a few seconds at a time.

6. Allow for do-overs

If there’s a major interruption in your family’s schedule and your child needs the comfort of the old routine, it’s OK to hang up the undies for a while.

7. Encourage independence
Help your child set a timer to remind him to go. Give stickers or rewards when he remembers to go, whether it’s with the help of a timer or all on his own!

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!

Potty Training While Traveling

By Colleen Brunetti, MEd

So you’ve started the potty training process and everything is going pretty well. And then a holiday rolls around, or it’s time for vacation, and you’ve got to take this show on the road! The idea of potty training while traveling can be quite daunting, but thanks to our Facebook community, we’ve compiled some great tips to help you make it through. Continue reading

New Potty Time Board Book!

Potty Time Board BookSamples pages from the Potty Time Board Book

In this charming story, Hopkins the Frog goes from wearing a diaper to “Fly of the Loom” big frog undies! He isn’t sure about potty training at first, but he learns to listen to his body, stop what he’s doing, and use the potty – all by himself! This book, Hopkins Uses the Potty, addresses common potty training concerns, like having an accident, in a positive and playful way.

Potty Time You Can Do It PackSAVE when you purchase this book in the Potty Time – You Can Do It Pack with four great resources for potty training success:

  • Potty Time DVD
  • Potty Time Music CD
  • Hopkins Uses the Potty Board Book
  • Potty Watch (in green, pink or blue)

Buy the Potty Time You Can Do It Pack

Get the Potty Time App – it’s free!

The Potty Time App gives you 8 new ways to add fun to potty training:

  1. Have Rachel call your child to say “Good job!” or “Try again – you can do it!”
  2. Read the e-book Hopkins Uses the Potty together.
  3. Watch a variety of Potty Time videos with your child.
  4. Play a fun Potty Time matching game.
  5. Chart your child’s progress with a virtual sticker chart.
  6. Print a chart to motivate your child at home.
  7. Print a certificate to celebrate your child’s success.
  8. Click through to brag about your child on the Potty Time Facebook page.






Click on your phone’s store to download the free App!   



Four Decisions to Make Before Potty Training

By Colleen Brunetti, MEd

So, you’ve decided to officially start potty training! This is an exciting time for you and your child, but it can also feel quite daunting.

There are many methods and philosophies out there on how to potty train, and they range from promising a diaper-free baby in a few days to letting the process be completely child-led, from advocating for pull-ups, to insisting that going cold-turkey and using only underwear is the only way to go.
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Potty Training 101

By Colleen Brunetti, MEd

Potty training can be a little bit of trial and error. One method may work for one child and not for another. That’s why we created the Potty Time program to support whatever method you use. It is so easy to use on the My Signing Time app – on the go watching for anywhere in your home or away.

In this list of tips, our wonderful Signing Time fans share their thoughts on what worked best for them. Continue reading

Don’t sweat the small stuff in potty training

by Kristy Simons, ECE

As a mother of two beautiful little girls, a private in-home daycare owner and operator, and an Early Childhood Educator, I find myself in the unique position to be able to give families potty training advice based on my personal experiences, my professional expertise, and my overall perspective.
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5 things no one told you about potty training

By Colleen Brunetti, MEd

Not only are you training your child, you’re also training yourself as a parent. You are learning to tune into your child’s cues, react to her temperament, and integrate her into the family routine in a whole new way from how you did when she was a baby. Look at this time as a chance for increased bonding and understanding with your precious little one.

This is one of those times that will make you both more relieved and proud than you could have imagined. Be prepared for a mix of, “Well, I’m glad that’s over!” and “I can’t believe how big he/she is now (sniffle)” range of feelings. Potty training is a fantastic milestone when accomplished, but it also signals the end of the baby days. Sigh.

It takes much more time than you anticipated, or maybe it is easier than you thought! Kids are really very good at surprising us. The most willing to please child may initially completely balk at training. The most active and hard to day-train child may night-train in under a week. Honestly, you just never know. So, roll with it.

The method you choose may not be the method you end up with. Isn’t this just the way with kids? You are so sure you are going to breast-feed or bottle feed, (cloth diaper or disposable; sleep train or co-sleep; count to three, use time out, don’t use time out…) or whatever it is you are so sure you are going to do as a parent, and then it turns out your kiddo has a whole different set of needs and agendas. But just as you have adjusted in the first two years or so, you’ll find the right thing with potty training, too.

At some point, you are going to be embarrassed as all get-out by something your child does while potty training. It may be his tendency to drop his drawers in public places, or his sudden use of a word for a certain piece of anatomy that scandalizes a relative. Laugh it off, and quietly and gently coach a more appropriate choice for your child to make for next time.