Toilet-Training... a long drawn out process for the Tips Family

When Tips Jr. was about 7 months old my Romanian neighbor told me it was almost too late for me to start toilet-training him. So I bought a lime green IKEA's L√ĄTTSAM Children's potty for $5 and started putting him on it at diaper changes. Sometimes he went pee and sometimes he didn't. I even dragged that thing to Europe when TJ was 9 months old because I didn't want to miss this 'window of opportunity'. 

That amount to not very much, except for maybe the fact that TJ was accustomed to peeing in a toilet at a young age occasionally.

Last May/June when I was pregnant with Miss Tips I decided, "Now is the time to toilet train TJ so I don't have to wipe as many butts when this baby comes." My cousin had recommended Toilet Training in Less than a Day which I bought used. I tried that system. It wasn't a pleasant experience for TJ or me. It worked great with other kids, but maybe they were more ready than TJ was at the time - or maybe being pregnant and tired I wasn't really ready. 

When we moved into our new house 2 months ago I said to myself, "Okay, this is it. TJ is going to toilet train."  

So I started putting him in the Scotty Potty training pants but those offered him a false sense of security. I'm sure he felt they were just like his diaper and he could pee in them whenever and where-ever, which he did. He never even attempted to run to the toilet to pee in it!

Then I remembered the awesome toilet-seat my parents had bought and my brother and sister-in-law also had.  It is the Mayfair Next Step Built-in Potty seat. I told Tips we should buy it. Initially Tips bought it at Home Depot but they didn't have any regular seats in stock and so he bought the elongated seat. That didn't work too well. I returned it and in the meantime Tips looked it up on and we found a refurbished one (read: returned product with no defects, just bad repackaging job) that shipped for less than we could buy one new at Home Depot. Obviously we made the frugal decision and ordered it from

Here it is installed with the toddler seat down:

And here it is with the toddler seat up: 

Tips Jr. took this seat so well! He was quite excited about it when I showed it to him. 

Then, on LDS General Conference Sunday (3 April) after the afternoon session was over, we gave the kids their baths because we were going over to a neighbor's for dinner. When TJ was done with his bath and dry and while I was lathering Miss Tips up in lotion, diapering her and putting clothes on her... TJ ran around the house and ended up on the sofa playing on the laptop. All of a sudden he came running back to the bathroom saying, "I peed! I peed!" and then sat on the toddler part of the toilet seat and peed some more. I went out to the living room and saw the huge pee mark on the sofa cushion (good thing I reupholstered those myself and know I can wash them!). 

It was at THAT moment that I KNEW TJ was ready to toilet train. He had started to pee but then stopped himself, ran to the toilet and peed some more. He obviously had control over his bladder.

The next day I decided to take off his diaper and NOT put any toilet training pants on him or a diaper and just let him run around in a long t-shirt (Tips t-ball shirt from when he was 6 - TJ got to really being excited that he was wearing "daddy's shirt" which was like a dress on him!) and his Babylegs since it was still chilly here and I didn't want to wait until summer to toilet train him - he was ready now!

The first day at different times of the day (after a meal, when he woke up, before naptime) I would suggest to him that he use the toilet and he would say, 'Not now.' Then I would physically take him to the toilet and set him on it. He would break down crying and was so unhappy and still he wouldn't pee! I was afraid it was going to turn into what it was like last June. (Perhaps our experience last June is what triggered his response when I tried to initiate him going pee on the toilet? Probably.) I was also afraid that what I had read was true, if one parent had tried to toilet train the child and it was unsuccessful, then that parent wouldn't be able to train that child, the other parent or another adult in the child's life would need to take over. I really didn't have anyone else to do it since Tips was at work and I don't think the other adults in TJ's life would be willing to toilet train him for me. 

I actually prayed about it because I did NOT want a repeat of last year's experience. After praying about it, the idea came to me that I shouldn't say or do anything, but let TJ decide on his own to use the toilet. So all that day as he was naked save for his shirt and babylegs, I never asked, mentioned or suggested he use the toilet. It also went along perfectly with the Montessori train of thought, to demonstrate or show a child what to do and where to do it, but then to leave it to the child to initiate the process.

He peed once or twice on the carpet (but I was mentally prepared for that) and once he realized there was nothing to catch his pee, he took the initiative to run to the toilet and climb up and pee on it himself. 

Then, to encourage him to use the toilet more often, I used Pirate Reward Chart with a picture of french fries taped to #5 and #10 to encourage him to use the toilet. Once he got to #5 we took him to get french fries off the McDonald's $1 menu. It would take him a couple of days at first to get to #5 and then another couple of days to get to #10 (other prizes incentives didn't work on him because wanted he really wanted at this stage were french fries!).

When it only took him one day to get to #5, I stopped putting the french fries picture on #5 and just kept it on #10. Eventually I stopped reminding him to move the pirate and he didn't think about it anymore so we only bought french fries maybe 10 times total - and half of those were at In-n-Out so I could have some too!

After a full week of no diaper or underpants on during the day (but definitely his cloth diapers at night), I took him to Target to buy some underpants and he chose a Pixar underpants. The next morning we put on the Buzz Lightyear underpants and he was sooooooo excited he ran around the house yelling "yoo-hoo!" We did a week of wearing underpants and 'daddy's t-shirt' so he would only have to pull down the underpants. Then the following week we introduced regular pants and his own t-shirts and he has been so successful!

It helps us now when he does the 'potty dance' as he is trying to hold it in while he keeps doing what he wants to do. But when we remind him and take him to the toilet he will sometimes cry we are taking him away from what he wants to do, but he pees and then is able to go back to what he was doing.

It was a much pleasanter toilet-training experience and obviously successful! Tips Jr is fully daytime toilet trained - he will even hold his pee when we are out running errands and he will honestly tell me if he needs to go or not when we are out and about so I can take him to the restroom.


Jenna said…
I trained Audrey with the "naked bum" method. It really works! I think that until they get the sensation of going with nothing to catch it, they can't really learn. That's why most kids don't have that breakthrough until they are in real underwear (vs. Pull-Ups).

I also prayed about how to potty train and got that same inspiration. It was actually a huge learning experience for me, the Ultimate Helicopter Parent. I learned a lot about agency. It was a good lesson. One I'm glad I don't have to repeat for at least another year!

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