The Chart

Pictured above are Curly’s calendars which are part “potty chart” and part calendar of events. For the latter, we wanted him to be able to visually identify when certain things were happening, like our trip to the beach, the babysitter coming over, people’s birthdays (that’s grandpa’s face on July 15), and school events (today they’re having “Olympics” at school, hence the torch and rings). It’s nice that we can count the days together and he doesn’t ask when we’re doing something every day until it actually happens (ok, it lessens that behavior at any rate!).

For potty-training, we use a sticker/reward system. Every full sticker (star/Elmo/number) means Curly had a dry day. Every half sticker means he had one accident, most often during his nap, but that’s getting better. Every blank day means two accidents. He needs 6 full sticker days to get a present (this allows him one ‘accident’ day without getting him terribly upset). His first present was an electronic Leap.frog laptop to get him going. Every one since has been a Crocs jibbetz (Thomas or Sesame Street…I bought a bunch cheap on e.bay and he sticks them on a little purse or bracelet). We started putting him in underwear full time during the day at the end of May, so basically this is how he’s been doing since that happened. We are now averaging 5-6 dry days each week which is lovely. We’re not concerned with dry nights and would rather he sleep his usual 11-12 hours than worry about him staying dry. He does have a dry night every once in a while, but normally his night-time pull-up is a bit wet.

Other tips that have worked for us with potty-training, since a number of people in blogland are dealing with it…

  • When starting out, we would put Curly on his little potty first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. We’d keep him there for a few minutes, regardless of if he did anything or not. Doing anything resulted in an enormous amount of praise and a sticker.
  • We own at least 3 or 4 potty books. We’ve read them to him very often. They sometimes still make the rounds. Big Boys Use the Potty has been a favorite. We also have two videos.
  • Pooping in the potty means he gets 2 mini M&M’s. We started out with 2 chocolate chips, which was fine, but then acquired a tube of mini M&M’s and realized he LOVED the fact that they are different colors. So now he gets to pick his two colors of M&M’s, another big motivator.
  • Buying cute, colorful underwear and letting him pick out which ones he wants to wear is helpful. We especially love the 7-pack from Carter’s, as well as Gymboree.
  • We have one bathroom at home and it’s upstairs, so his baby b.jorn potty is downstairs full-time. He uses the upstairs toilet with a baby b.jorn potty topper every morning and night. Out and about we love the Potette Plus. More recently we’ve found that if the toilet is in someone’s home with a full ‘ringer’, he can simply sit closer to the front and not need a potty topper at all. Next step is more pottying in the upstairs toilet, which is much easier clean-up!
  • 95% of the time he pees sitting down. On occasion, he has gone standing up outside, usually while leaning onto a tree. He has gone standing up on a stool at home, leaning against the toilet lid, but needs help since his angle isn’t always good. He leans because…well…how does a 3 year old even go about holding his little penis (especially with a pot belly)? lol
  • Wiping…ah. We need to work on that with him. He does it after #1, but not yet for #2. When we do it, my preferred method is to have him touch his toes/”stand like a crab”, although if we’re out and the floor is dirty, he can lean against a wall, it’s just a little harder to do it that way. We use flushable Kandoo wipes.

It took a full year from Curly sitting on the potty regularly to him being day time potty trained. It helped that his daycare takes them on a 2-hour schedule and he sees some of his friends using the potty. Peer pressure can be a good thing! Good luck to everyone embarking on this journey!

13 responses to “The Chart

  1. I love the calendar

  2. One day are we going to have to carry around a travel toilet every time we leave the house?

  3. olive- Yes, one day you will have to carry around a travel potty…but you will have so much less in your diaper bag, it will fit right in (or it will come in its own little bag and that’s all you’ll need). Not sure how long we’ll have to continue to do this though…

  4. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

  5. C started to show interest in the toilet several months ago so we got a potty and started to have her sit on it (fully clothed) when we were in the bathroom and sans diaper before baths. Last night she actually peed a little! We were all a bit in shock! We are being fairly casual about the whole thing at this point in hopes of avoiding “potty trauma” but last night was encouraging.

    I will definately be getting a travel potty for when we ramp up to full on training mode! That or teach her to stand on the seat and squat in public restrooms!!

  6. Aw, I’m loving his sticker calendar! Go Curly! We are not having much success, so have backed off a bit. Sigh.

  7. Great post although now I’m super worried about wiping!!! I’ve been thinking about those wipes. Do they make it easier? S likes to unroll the entire roll of TP.

  8. mommaoak- We do think it makes it easier, since they’re damp. The problem with having him wipe himself in the back is that he has terrible fine motor skills and just getting him to reach to the right spot is hard enough. sigh.

  9. This is very inspiring, I must say. Curly is doing so well with this, my gods. I love that chart! We have just embarked on this path and it’s…an adventure. J is happy to use his potty but it’s all haphazard and random at this point and there are a fair number of accidents around the house. What I’m having trouble picturing is the day he pulls his own training pants down, initiates sitting on the potty, and voila. I like the idea of the travel potty. I had no idea.

  10. So cute – and it looks like Curly is doing a fabulous job! I think 3 is early to start wiping their own tushies, right? What age should we expect them to do that and do it well? 4?

  11. tumtum- Probably 4, or even 5, but he’s going to have to do it himself in school starting this Fall and I’m not looking forward to the results.

  12. Wow, so many stickers, it looks like he’s doing a great job. We had unfortunate timing at daycare. My kids moved into the toddler room just as a bunch of other kids were moving out. Now they are among the oldest in the room, and won’t have anyone to peer pressure them into using the potty! Thanks for sharing all of this information, it’s really helpful as we finally get started on potty training in our house.

  13. Nice work Curly! Funny how stickers are an incentive at that age…. Take it while you can!

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