Tuesday, July 24, 2012

First Stop On The Potty Train!

Welcome aboard The Potty Train!  Grab your gear and get ready for our first stop:

Intensive Potty Training

Conductor Cupcake on The Potty Train!
With each of our little passengers on The Potty Train, we have set aside one day to focus entirely on potty training.  Our first experience was a huge success when Darlin' went from diapers to underwear practically overnight.  I recall that we had a week or so worth of accidents after our Intensive Potty Training Day (IPTD) as she adjusted to the change during naps and bedtime.  I considered that a great success, because that was about all Mommy could handle of washing sheets and cleaning up messes.  Fortunately, Darlin' caught on quickly and was ready for nursery school at 2 1/2!

Unfortunately, Hubby and I have absolutely no recollection of potty training our son.  (Not sure if we were just so traumatized by the endeavor, if it was just a complete breeze or if the recent decade has dimmed those memories?!)  What I do remember is that we set aside a day to train him like we had done with Darlin' and, again, claimed success.  Based on our track record, we decided to embark on yet another IPTD with Cupcake.

Below is a tour of our first stop on The Potty Train!

Schedule Trip

Clear a day for your intensive potty training.  We set aside a Saturday when we would both be home, our older kids would be away and we could focus on the potty training process with Cupcake together.  I highly recommend having an additional adult present to help occupy your tot if a major mess occurs or just to give Mommy a break to go to the bathroom herself!

Check Baggage

Gather your supplies and place them in a handy spot.  After Cupcake's first accident, I quickly realized that everything I needed was all over the house.  I rounded up our necessary items (panties, clothes, wipes, etc.) and placed them in the powder room, where we had chosen to do most of our potty training.  I cleared the washer and dryer so soiled items could be thrown in the wash immediately and dealt with at the end of the day.  Our Swiffer mop, Lysol wipes, baby wipes and paper towels stood at attention in the hallway until they were needed.  I still keep flushable wipes and several of Cupcake's undies in the powder room just in case she doesn't make it to the potty on time.

Assess Amenities

Make sure the potty works!  I had assumed that the insert on the Disney Princess Potty would fit on top of our toilets - to great disappointment, it didn't.  I then tried the portable Disney Princess Travel Potty Seat. This fold up potty seat sat on top, but really required supervision for our little one.  Our goal, with IPTD, was to teach our tot how to go to the bathroom independently, so it was a bit of a shock that morning when we realized we had nothing that Cupcake could use by herself on top of a regular toilet.  Hubby ran to the store and picked up a new potty seat that has worked perfectly for us, Disney Princess Potty Seat.  Lesson learned - check to make sure the potty seat fits!

Cafe Car

Potty training works best when ya gotta go!  Cupcake got to have special donuts with juice at breakfast, so she would be ready to relieve herself soon after we boarded The Potty Train.  The first couple trips to the bathroom were unsuccessful, but she eventually went - right after leaving the bathroom.  The second hour brought success, however, as we continued to pump her full of liquids and snacks.

Whistle Blows

Set a timer.  At the beginning of our day we planned on taking Cupcake to the restroom every half hour, so we set our timer accordingly.  At first nothing happened in the potty.  Eventually, she was successful and we realized that she was needing to empty her bladder more often.  We found that stopping every 15 minutes for the first few hours helped Cupcake avoid accidents and gain more confidence on the potty.

Follow Route

Teach your tot a potty routine and stick to it consistently.  Many of the trips to the bathroom for the first few hours are really just establishing proper potty behavior.  In the beginning your tot may need assistance, but by the end of the day should be able to accomplish much of it independently.  Cupcake is able to follow her routine all by herself, with the exception of hand washing since she still can't reach the faucet.  Here is her potty routine:
  • She moves her stool in front of toilet.
  • She removes her potty seat from hook and places it on top of toilet seat.
  • She climbs up on stool.
  • She pulls her pants down and sits on potty seat.
  • She relieves herself.
  • She wipes herself and any drips on potty seat.
  • She pulls up her pants.
  • She climbs down from stool.
  • She hangs potty seat back up on hook.
  • She gently closes the toilet lid and flushes.
  • She pushes stool over to the sink
  • She washes and dries her hands.


Positive reinforcement is beneficial.  Stock up on a few prizes to reward your child for success on the potty. Cupcake picked out candy, coloring books, crayons and stickers for her prizes.  Smaller perks were awarded if she was successful when we brought her to the potty.  Larger prizes were awarded when she initiated going to the potty on her own successfully.  We restrict the majority of our perks to our Intensive Potty Training Day.  Of course we continue to cheer, clap, hoot and holler our excitement - especially when Cupcake initiates and completes the process all on her own!  An extra special surprise does await for going poop in the potty on her own (that always seems to take kids a little longer to perfect.)

Be Alert

Keep a close watch on your child for signs of urgency.  I have to remind myself that this potty thing is new to Cupcake!  We are not used to having to interrupt play time (or blogging or laundry or phone calls) to attempt to go to the potty.  It is very easy to get distracted by life, miss the signals and end up with a big mess on your newly mopped floor!  Continue to set the timer for a few days to help you both adjust to this new habit.  Also be sure to supervise the potty routine to help reinforce what has been learned.

Tunnel Ahead

Remember there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel!  Potty training is my least favorite part of parenthood and requires a lot of patience on my part.  Sometimes it helps to remind myself that it is a very brief part of child rearing that benefits our family immensely: no more stinky diapers, no more expensive diapers, no more diaper rash and no more overstuffed diaper bags!  Pretty soon Cupcake and I will be officially disembarking from The Potty Train! Whoo! Whoo!

< all aboard!                           next stop! >


  1. I absolutely love all of your tips! Thankfully I am through this time of my life but will share this info to those who need it! :)

    1. Thanks! I never thought I'd be in this stage again...yet here I am...and lovin' it!