View Full Version : Potty Training--how?

12-22-2003, 02:48 PM
OK, we've got the potty, a video, some books. The question is, HOW do you do this? We have the book Potty Training in Less Than a Day, by Drs. Azrin & Foxx. This was recommended by a couple of my friends, but it doesn't seem to be the right approach for DS or for me. Right now DS just likes to play with or on the potty. He has sat on it several times, but tends to pee right after he gets off it and gets dressed. I have trouble keeping from laughing when he takes the seat off the potty and plays peek-a-boo by holding it up to his face, or puts it down around his neck like a necklace. No, I'm not kidding. He sort of looks at me like I'm crazy when I try to get him to "train" the doll, and the food-and-drink rewards don't seem like a good fit for us. We usually don't let DS have candy or soft drinks so, when I've tried to use them as rewards for potty training steps, DS gets so excited by them that he loses all focus on what he's supposed to be doing. Also, DH and I (having battled weight problems throughout our adulthoods) don't really like using food rewards. Any advice or other book recommendations for us? Thanks!

Helene, mommy to Joseph 12/29/01

12-22-2003, 09:35 PM
First off, your son is not quite 2. Unfortunately as much as you may wish it he MAY not be ready. It varies from child to child.

I tried Azrin & Foxx with my daughter. It didn't work for us for 2 reasons. First she didn't understand the food rewards. She would get a small candy but then ask for more and throw a tantrum when she didn't get it. The verbal and hugging rewards worked much better. Also the treatment for an accident didn't work too well. She would tantrum and the book says not to let that stop you from having the child go to the potty. Well I ended up dragging her around the house to and from the potty every time she had an accident. Since it was 10 times it took awhile (at least 15 minutes) during which time she would invariably have ANOTHER accident because I was loading her up with so much juice. She was 27 months when I tried it.

Instead I went with another book: the Parent's Book of Toilet Teaching. As in Parent's magazine. Unbeknownst to me we had been doing the 'pre-training' the book recommends for months already. I tried to move on to the next step repeatedly but my daughter didn't really make serious progress until she was ready. After 6 months of wearing Easy-Ups and putting her on the potty during every change one day I asked her if she wanted to wear the big girl underwear and she said yes. She was 33 months and it was only then that potty training REALLY began, and since then she has basically been trying hard, interested and had few accidents. A month later she was daytime trained.

I should point out that during these 6 months we were reading some books and verbally talking about the potty. When we saw people on TV or on the street we would talk about how they kept their underwear clean and dry. When she said she wanted to be a firefighter then I told her that firefighters wore big girl underwear because they kept it clean and dry. I knew this had taken hold because one day we were watching Star Trek and she started saying, "That's Data, he keeps his underwear clean and dry. That's the captain, he keeps his underwear clean and dry, that's Mr Worf....." etc. etc. I'm sure the Trekkies would love that analysis. :) What really tipped the scales for my daughter was reading a book where the girl got kitty cat underwear when she was trained. I had some Gerber cotton training pants with cats on them. The day she decided to wear underwear I showed them to her and asked her if she wanted to wear kitty cat underwear like the girl in the book. I know that she made the connection.

So my recommendation to you would be to do the pre-training. This most importantly includes having your son go to the bathroom with you when you use the toilet and watching you do it. Or your husband (make sure DH sits down for demonstration purposes). I showed my daughter that pee and poop came out of my bottom, that I wiped and flushed and washed my hands. When she expressed interest I started letting her flush for me and she washed her hands as well. Never underestimate washing hands as a reward... kids LOVE to play in the water. When he is interested, put him on the potty with ot without clothes. We started a routine where my daughter would sit on the potty naked right before bathtime (while I was filling the tub) and often the sound of running water itself was enough to make her pee. Of course when she did we would get all excited and hug and praise her. And this was ALL for MONTHS before we even tried Azrin & Foxx.

I don't know if this helps you or not, but it was my experience! Good luck!

12-23-2003, 04:34 PM
Helen, thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed response! I know that Joseph is a little young, but he has been showing what I thought were readiness signs for quite awhile, and I wanted to start trying before he gets deeper into the "terrible twos". We don't have too much trouble with tantrums or oppositionality right now, and I just wanted to try and strike while the iron is hot. Tell me if you think this is "pre-training." He often watches me in the bathroom, and is interested in toilets, bathrooms, and other people's toileting habits. He is interested in his potty book and video, and enjoys playing with the potty. He hides and squats when he poops, then quickly announces that he has done so and needs a diaper change. He says "pee-pee diaper!" when he feels wet. He loves to stand up and pee in the bathtub (yuck!). I'm not sure, maybe these aren't signs of readiness after all. What do you think? Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll take a look at that. The Azrin & Foxx book really doesn't feel like a good fit for us. We have a similar problem to yours with the candy, and he doesn't tolerate the pants inspections very well. We haven't even gotten to the point of having an accident. I think I'll try a few more different things, then put it off for a little longer if we don't seem to be making progress. Thanks again and Happy Holidays!

Helene, mommy to Joseph 12/29/01

12-23-2003, 08:03 PM
Well from what you say it certainly sounds like he is capable of training! He is aware of when he pees/poops and doesn't like feeling it on his bottom. Watching you in the bathroom is a big part of the pre-training, so it sounds like you've made some good progression there.

You MAY be lucky. Sometimes kids who are more fastidious can be trained realatively quickly. Some friends of mine had kids like this. They put the child in real underwear (not even the cotton trainers) and when the child wet they freaked out because they didn't like the cold, wet, messy feeling. This in itself was serious motivation to train. Perhaps this might work for you?

Of course my daughter didn't care at all when she was wet, so even though she was physically able/ready I had to wait until she was mentally ready before we made significant progress. However when she was ready to do it one thing that helped a lot was to put her in tight leggings or pajama pants. Then when she wet her pants wet too and she was cold and clammy all down the legs. It just made it that much more obvious to her that she hadn't done it correctly.

Just because he doesn't get the doll doesn't mean that he might not be ready. Why don't you try spending some time with him running around in real underwear and just see what happens? The worst thing is that he has lots of accidents and you go back to a diaper. Good luck!

01-04-2004, 11:57 PM
My DS is 3 1/2 (born 5/12/00) and is just now potty trained. To be honest, I waited it out until he was 100% ready and made the decision on his own. Yes, it was a long time coming, but he was literally potty trained in a day -- straight from diapers to underware, even at night with very little effort on my part. It's been just over two weeks and we've had a total of 3 accidents (one about 2 hours after he decided he was going to potty train, another when we had a house full of guests and 'his' bathroom was in use by someone else and one in the middle of the night).

Prior to DS's decision to be potty trained, we used Matchbox/Hotwheels type cars as his reward and sometimes small suckers. ToysRUs often has the 5 packs on sale, buy 1 get 1 free, so I stocked up on them. In the beginning, he got one car each time he went potty, then it was less frequent -- like one a day or one every few days.

Sarah.....Jason & Devin's Mommy