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Potty Training Help

Why Is Potty Training Scary?

Why Is Potty Training So Scary, Anyway?

Because Baby's didn't come with a manual!

Our adorable little baby is now a toddler, checking out the entire world! Some of you may be at the point where your child is testing everything, including your limits!

Some of you may even be beyond that, where your child is digging in his heels and demanding or resisting. And so you find yourself in a place where potty training is essential and mandatory, whether it is now or in a matter of months. 

Why Is Potty Training Scary?

Why Is Potty Training Scary?

The scariest part of potty training is nothing more than the unknown; it is what doesn’t exist yet. How will you start? How will your child react? How long will it take? You may have heard some horror stories. Will you have one of your own?

The best thing you can do to help yourself is to prepare, plan, and take the time to understand all the intricacies of what is happening in your child’s physical and mental development. Learn the best planning practices for potty training and then decide on the method that’s right for you! We can also help demystify potty training. Just take our free How To Potty Train e-Course!

But, a secondary fear in potty training is definitely, “What if my child just won’t do what I say?”

Scared To Potty Train

Great question and one you should tackle before you start! In my seminars, I often teach parents to test their child’s compliance levels and work on those battles off the potty training playing field. I even write about how to fight with them! Testing compliance before potty training is the best help you can give yourself. A kid who listens and follows directions will be easier to guide through this process.

If You're Scared To Potty Train, Do This

Education empowers others through knowledge, and undoes fear. Laura Woj, The Scaredy cat Potty Trainer can help you "Punch Potty Training Fear In The Face" with her free educational series on How To Potty Train. That's it! 

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Is it time to potty train?

Should I Potty Train?

It is inevitable you will have to go through this. You certainly don’t have to do this alone or unarmed! You’ve got a great book here that gives you more than just how to potty train, and you have support.

If you’ve already gone out and bought a toilet and undies and have had that mini potty sitting around in your living room, go put it away. Just for now. Just until you’re sure you're ready at least. Even if your toddler has used it a few times, don’t hold on to the hope that it will happen magically. Just put it away for now. If your toddler sees you do this, great! Tell him or her that you two are not ready to use this potty. It won’t hurt to build a little anticipation!

Should I potty train now? 

Many people I come across tell me that they think their toddler is ready, but someone in their life says otherwise.

This is typically another family member, like Dad or Grandma. The other side of the coin is usually Mom telling her daughter it is time to potty train, but the daughter isn’t convinced (or more appropriately, she doesn’t feel adequate to get the job done).

The other common misconception parents have about not being ready to potty train is the age of their toddler. For so long, they have heard that you need to be two years old, and they look at their eighteen- or twenty-month-old and just think maybe it’s not time. Regardless of where you are on this scale, you are getting closer to potty training.

If you think it’s time, it probably is. If you have had the sneaking suspicion that your child is capable of potty training, they probably are. And if your mom or dad is telling you their grandchild is ready, then they are seeing something you aren’t seeing.

Need some more convincing? Let’s assess the young potential potty trainers skills


Is It Time To Potty Train? Here's How To Tell

Let’s do a little exercise. I want you to consider the capabilities of your child as we go through some of the following questions and exercises:

Can your child help carry clothes from the dryer to the couch? I am not asking if she can help fold them, but can she see what you are doing, or better yet, follow a verbal cue to take some clothes, follow you, and set them on the couch?

Let’s do some of these tests and see just how thick your child’s understanding really is:

Sit in a room at least ten feet away from the trash can. Take a piece of paper and tell your child to come over, take the paper, throw it out, and then come back. You can point to the trash can, if needed.

Ask your child to point to objects that you have around you as you name them. These should be things that are normally in the house, like a pet, couch pillows, the floor, and the refrigerator.

Put crayons on the table and ask for the red crayon. See how many colors they know.

Testing if its time to potty train

Start at one point in the house and have your child run from you to another room and back. Go from the living room to the bedroom and back, then from the living room to the kitchen and back.

These are simple tests that your child may or may not have failed, but feel free to use these tests as a teaching experience, as well. If you show them the different rooms in the house and then come back and have them perform this test, do you see how their understanding has already grown?

Is it time to potty train?

Just like that, in a matter of minutes, days, or hours, your child has begun to understand an abstract concept of a place having a title or learning colors. As I mentioned, if they aren’t capable of doing these things, were they capable of learning them? Take note of how fast your child learns. This will help you gauge if you should start to potty train.

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potty training pants

Potty Training Pants and Toilet Training Underwear

Do You Need Potty Training Pants?

No. Well, maybe. A parent who is savvy and ready for potty training—one who is confident, consistent, who knows what they’re doing, and is determined to get the job done quickly—may not need training pants at all. They will go commando and stay on it, no matter how long it takes. They will clear their schedules, stay home for a few days or more, and be ready to tackle any accident when out and about. They will be prepared. Their attitude will tell their child that they mean business, and they will have tactics in place to counter any usurping of authority. And they will potty train! 

However, there is a whole other side of parenting that does take transitions seriously and believes that children need time to adjust to this new, permanent way of life. Neither school of thought is wrong. You just need to determine what will work best for your family. 

Training pants are designed to be a transitional item to help children adapt between having an absorbent diaper to no protection at all in underwear. They are lightly padded, which helps catch leaks but will also leave a child feeling very wet and having to “deal” with the accident. They can be essential teaching tools in the transition between diapers and being potty trained. 

Potty Training Pants

Should You Use Cloth Training Pants?

Absolutely, because there is no other kind! Disposable pull-ups are not training pants. Disposable pull-ups can actually hinder your potty training process because they are so good at absorbing! In fact, a pull-up is nothing more than a diaper without the adhesive side tabs. If we wanted to teach our children how to pull their pants up and down, we could just let them dress and undress themselves. probably are already. Problem solved, then! There is no need for pull-ups! 

See, a child has a psychological bond to their diaper. They’ve been in it as long as they can remember. Since day one, it was there. As long as you have been there for them, so has their diaper. Giving them a virtually identical item to replace something and expecting them to learn an entirely different way of living because they now have a pull-up on (i.e., a diaper in disguise) is just not going to work. 

Pull-ups are crutches for the parent. And if you find that you would feel much better about potty training if only you could use pull-ups, then please consider the new, modern-day cloth training pants options that follow. I assure you that they are much more effective in potty training than pull-ups. 

Toilet Training Undies

What Do You Need To Know About Cloth Trainers?

In order for training pants to be an effective transitional tool, they must meet the following criteria: 

  • Trim fitting
  • Mildly absorbent
  • Underwear-like in appearance
  • Causes the child to feel wet when used
Examining the criteria above, you can see two things: Why disposables do not fit the bill in any form and that trainers must truly bridge that gap between diaper and underwear. Each criteria sits somewhere between a diaper and underwear—absorbent, but kind of, not fully like a diaper. The slight padding of training pants is very helpful to sensitive children because they mimic the same feeling that their diaper already has. Typically, the padding in a cloth trainer is the same 

thickness as an unused disposable, so the garment feels good to the child. The kicker comes later when he pees and feels it like never before!  This builds the brain body connection faster, and helps effectively potty train.

Potty Training Toddlers

Why I like Waterproof Potty Training Pants

Poop. There, I said it.  I don’t like the idea of fecal germs seeping out of anything and getting onto everything. But my second reason if even more compelling! 

I call it, “The Squish Factor” 

If a toddler pees in their pants they feel wet, wetness grows to the clothing and down the legs, maybe onto the floor, or couch... Your natural consequences are high!

When a toddler pees in waterproof Undies, that waterproofing hold ALL the liquid on their side, not letting it go anywhere else. That just transferred ownership onto the child. If the trainers didn't have enough absorbency that that kiddos duppa is not just feeling wet, it's WET. It's wet, and it's staying wet. Hello brain-body connection! 

Toilet Training Underwear

How Many Trainers Will You Need?

You want to consider your laundry ability and your level of activity outside the house when answering this question. For a child, often at home and potty training, you will eventually level out at around six pairs. In the beginning, you will have a few accidents that will cause you to go through them more quickly, which is fine. But letting some accidents happen outside the trainer is also a benefit. During your first two to three days or so, you may find yourself wishing you had ten pairs, but usually you can get by with a few and have one left over for the emergency car bag. 

If you are out and about often and/or you find your laundering capacity to be more limited than a load a day, you will want to have more trainers on hand. The same goes for day care situations. Many day cares like to be provided with the same trainers parents are using at home, which will look like two sets of six to ten. In any situation, ten pairs of training pants are going to be enough to get you through twenty-four to forty-eight hours and possibly have one on hold in the diaper bag. 

Could you be potty training all wrong?

Great our guide 5 Ways You Might Be Potty Training All Wrong

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Potty Training Boys: What do I need?

Potty Training Boys: What do I need?

 Every stage of a baby’s life will come with its own unique set of challenges (breastfeeding, sleep regressions, teething, you name it), potty training boys for sure can bring on ALL.THE.CHALLENGES. 

Anything that comes after this? Bring it. We have potty trained and therefore, we can do anything.

I want to share all the things I have learned (the hard way), with the hope of saving others some of the stress that comes along with figuring it all out. Since the day we started potty training our first kid I’ve kept notes of EVERYTHING you need to be successful without it being stressful.

Potty Training Boys

So here’s the thing. Potty training boys really starts before you begin the actual act of potty training. Wait, what? Yes, and you can read all about how to start as early as 8 months here.

If you’ve passed the early introduction stage and are ready to actually jump in with a toddler then keep reading.

Now, for the biggest question that’s a little more specific…

Potty training boys

There isn’t a huge difference in potty training boys vs girls, though it’s common to hear that it does take longer for boys. Typically mom is the one taking on most of the duties and children learn best by example. So if dad can get in there and show how it’s done, then you may stand a chance to speed along the process. If not, that’s ok just have patience as every child will learn this at their own pace.

Potty Training A Boy

How to get started potty training boys?

First things first, go ahead and download this free book The Age of Potty Training to help you figure out when your little one is ready I’ve written this free book for you.

Where to Potty Train and What do I Need?

A few weeks to a month before potty training is a good time to collect supplies. I made up a list of essentials for boys and girls, plus a few things that simply come in handy.


How to potty train a boy

A closed-in space – reducing the area your son has access to can help you keep a better eye on things, and capture success!

A mini potty – Start with a small floor potty, especially if your son is on the younger side. Eliminating the dexterity it takes to climb up and balance on the big toilet can reduce their stress and allow them to focus on matters at hand. Urge sensation and quickly sitting on the potty!

Or two? – Having two mini toilets can increase your success. Giving kids options (like which one and in which space they want to use) can help empower them. Kids love choices! Having a second potty also makes traveling a breeze. Just pack the potty in the trunk or back seat when heading out! Your son may even “need to go” just for the novelty of using his toilet in the car!

A step-stool – Safely helping your son access running water will making handwashing a simple fun part of potty training


 Potty Training Hygiene

Potty training a boy

Wet wipes – These make cleaning easy and effective by teaching how to wipe with wet wipes. This will help reduce irritation of that delicate skin by keeping things clean. Try flushable ones for a more “real life” experience!

A faucet extender – Short arms will need help getting that water, so why not bring the water to them! Faucet extenders are the best way to help your son gain access to splashy hand washing fun!

Extra clothes – It’s a good idea to a few extra clothes for both of you within reach.



What do I need to potty train

Successful Potty Training

Trainers – Training pants may not be necessary for the first few days of the potty learning process, but expect potty training to take a few weeks or even a few months. Support your new-found potty training career with waterproof, mildly absorbent training pants to help reduce your anxiety around potty training. But don’t use disposables! They absorb too much and can give you a false sense of security that can delay the process. You can shop my favorite training pants here.

Stay & Play Ideas – Such as a remote control car – Well, this may not be essential to potty training, but having a plan to get your son to sit and stay long enough for the magic to happen is. A remote control car can let them play while sitting, and might thrill them so much that they will beg to use the toilet! Other ideas include fun books, stickers, action figures, and other stay-and-play toys.

Incentives – Don’t stop the incentives after the first few days. Map out a plan to help your child earn rewards for the behavior you want: potty use! You can try these free punch cards too! Click here to download.


potty training a boy toddler

Long term potty training follow-through

Support – Read some potty training books, and get in a community that can help you troubleshoot unexpected surprises! It takes a village! Looking for a community to join? We have a Facebook group for that.

Additional resources – Whether there is an imbalance of power in your home between child and adult, or you just need some really solid “how-to” advice, my book Potty Training Through Parenting is sure to help!


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Potty Training Early: How to and When to Start

Potty Training Early: How to and When to Start

Thinking about early potty training?

If you’re thinking about potty training early then I want to tell you a story about the time my eight-month-old pooped in the potty.  That’s right, this unheard of, surreal phenomenon actually took place in my bathroom! 

Yes, I said that correctly. No, we weren’t doing elimination communication.

Now, I want to be very clear: I did not have a potty-trained baby. Early potty training was never my goal. The truth is that I was done changing crappy diapers. There, I said it. I absolutely hated it! I also hate laundry, always have. Oh, and I’m really cheap. See? I have a few things stacked against me in this crash quest to become some domestic goddess.

Getting my baby to poop in the toilet meant that I could avoid crappy blowouts (you know what I’m talking about), laundry from cloth diapers, save another disposable diaper (we were half and half) and save me money.

Did I mention it could also save me from having to change another poopy diaper on a five-hour flight?


My son was eight months old at the time and I was game to give this method I learned about a shot.

Years ago as I was just beginning to explore healthy options for my family, I was at a natural parents meet-up when I met a woman from Belarus. As we mingled and talked about all things baby, she revealed to me that she was surprised to see how long children stayed in diapers here in the U.S. She then went on to tell me that her 11 month-old son poops on the potty all the time and never in his diaper…

Of course, I had to know how?

“It is common in Russia to begin training our children to use the pot early on,” she said.

She went on to explain that it used to be an actual pot on the floor. When the baby woke up, the baby was sat on the pot until he eliminated. Parents typically start this around six months old. In her case, she transferred this behavior to the standard toilet. Every morning, right after her baby would wake up she took him to the toilet. She sat him on the front of the toilet seat and pulled his torso comfortably forward while holding him steady.

That’s it. That is how she started. She added that as her baby pooped in the toilet, she would make a sound to help him correlate the two. Like language. She has named the action with a sound. Within a week she could then put her baby on the toilet, make this sound (i.e., tell him to poop), and he would release his bowels.

No more crappy diapers.

This just sounded too good to be true!

The next morning I wanted to try, but I was too late. When I heard him wake up, I went to put him on the toilet, but he had already gone in his diaper. I wasn’t attentive enough to the pre-wake up phase of babyhood, I suppose.

potty training toddlers


However, the next morning I was ready! I listened intently for his little noises that meant he was in the process of waking up. Then gently picked him up and talked to him while I took him to the potty. I sat him on the edge of the toilet, facing me and pulled him forward. Feel free to let your baby lean into you as well. It’s just like hugging each other.

We sat there for a few minutes and within the first minute, he peed! I was super excited and almost whisked him off to find the phone and call Grandma, but then I came back to my senses.

There could be more!

Somewhere around the third or fourth minute, my eight-month-old pooped on the toilet. I just couldn’t believe it!

Later that same day, after lunch, he peed on the toilet. No cues, just mommy-hunches that it would be about time for him to go. We caught a few pees on the potty, changed another poopy diaper, took note of the time he pooped and went to bed. The next morning he pooped and peed again on the toilet, this time more quickly. Remember, within just twenty-four hours this little guy now had six experiences with using the toilet.

His little brain was perfectly primed and optimized for learning because that’s its job!

I began experimenting with other times to put him on the toilet and discovered that we didn’t even need to add in a sound for him to know what to do. I’ve learned that babies don’t tend to fight and struggle as toddlers do. They pretty much hang out where you put them. Since babies naturally eliminate as they wake up (or just after), it became very easy to catch some potty action like this.

Are you planning on potty training with training pants? Click here to shop cloth training pants in all sizes and prints.

Potty Training Toddlers

At that point, my son did not necessarily hold his pee or poop until we sat on the potty. He did still wear a diaper, and I was free to change it or not. He did not argue or make any fuss when wet. But sitting him on the potty did elicit an elimination response in him every time. If there was something in there, it would come out. If there wasn’t, we knew in the first few moments.

When my son turned two, we were using about four diapers a day, and they were all wet. I decided to potty train at that point and began explaining what he would have to do. We said we would start Monday and that he would not have a diaper anymore after that point. Since he was so familiar with the toilet already, he was truly potty trained in 2 days.

I have heard so many perspectives on the readiness of potty training.

Whether you look for signs of readiness in your child or take on a parent-led approach, I just want to encourage mothers out there that potty training doesn’t have to be complicated.

By introducing the toilet early, it becomes a common tool in the house and pooping in it just isn’t a big deal.

If you have a young child, you don’t need to start potty training, but you certainly could try to make potty time a natural behavior in the house.


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