Potty Training – Updated

A few years ago (I cannot believe this blog has been going for so long), I did a series all about my potty training adventures with my two daughters. I am thankful to say that my house is a diaper free zone, and that means that my littlest, the energetic little boy in our family, has finished his potty training. Since I have friends that are also braving potty training, many for the first time, I thought I would do an update post about potty training, along with specific tips for potty training little boys. If you want to read any of my original posts about potty training (which are way more detailed), click here.

potty training boys

When to Abandon Before You Begin

There are several instances when you should avoid starting potty training. If there is any major life change coming, for example. Our oldest daughter had been potty trained at 16 months, and then we moved. It was a disaster and back on the cloth diapers went. She didn’t end up being ready again until she was two. I guess she got over her irritation with the wet cloth diapers at some point after the move. That is just one example, but here is a quick list of times to avoid potty training (if you can).

-You are planning to move within three weeks.

-You will be traveling anytime in the next three weeks.

-The child has not exhibited any of the steps of readiness: waking up with a dry diaper in the morning, being able to go without liquids two hours before sleep, being able to communicate effectively to tell you when they need to go.

-You are not in a place mentally or emotionally where you can support them through accidents.

-You will not be able to be with them 24 hours for the next two weeks.

Prep Work

You will need to get the following items to prepare for your 2 week potty training adventure.

-2 waterproof covers

-Training underwear (7 pairs)

-Plain underwear (7 pairs)

-Character underwear your child would love (7 pairs)

-A reward system. I used gummy bears, but if you are anti sugar you could use craisins or something else that is tasty

-A reliable alarm of some sort (I use my iPhone)

-An extra sheet for their bed Read more

Far From Perfect

Today I wanted to let you in on something I try to be up front about… I am not a perfect mother (by any means!). Just because I drag my kids all over the place on trains, airplanes, and inside automobiles doesn’t make me a flawless parent. Part of being responsible for another person is making mistakes. To be honest, lately I feel like I’ve made too many mistakes. It’s hot, I’m 9 months pregnant, I’m cranky, and sometimes I take this out on the girls. It’s not fair to them, and it isn’t fair to me because then I struggle with guilt and condemnation.

Parenting isn't like math, unfortunately there isn't some equation you can use to get the results you want.

There have been times when other mothers look to me for advice on what they are doing wrong, or what they could have done better… and I have to be honest with them. The way I see it, they are doing everything right. They are consistent with discipline, they exude love, and they work hard to be a good example to their kids. Parenting isn’t some kind of exact formula like A + B = C. Being a parent is messy, and even if you are doing everything right, that doesn’t mean your kids will perform the way you want them to every time. Kids go through different stages and unfortunately they go through the stage of testing your consistency and ability as a parent.

Right now Kati is going through one of those “testing” stages, and it has been rough timing. Everything I do or say is an offense to her. She asks me to style her hair, but throws a fit because it doesn’t meet her standards. I suggest a movie for her to watch or a book for her to look at, my suggestion is appalling. Then she proceeds to throw a total fit screaming “Mama” at me for as long as she can get away with. And when Travis is out of the house (and he has been out of the house a lot more lately, which I’m adjusting to) she totally takes advantage of the fact that I’m a little bit slower in my pregnant condition. In fact, she is even using Potty Training against me by peeing on the floor in the middle of her fits so I have to clean it up. Thank God for hardwood floors! All that to say, I’m human, my kids aren’t perfect, I am definitely not perfect, and no matter how hard you try, people are imperfect and there will be struggles.

But I can’t end the post like that! That would be a dreadful thing to do. So I am going to make you a mutual promise, but you have to hold up your end, ok?

I promise to give myself a break, and stop judging myself so harshly if you will. Let’s take more 5 minutes breathers and give ourselves some grace as parents. Are you doing your best? That’s all you can do! And for me, I pray, a lot, as often as I can… because I really can’t do this by myself.

Happy travels!

Potty Training: The Finish Line

This is the final post in the Potty Training Series, to catch up on the other articles in their series, please check out the SER Series page.

You’ve spent weeks refining potty time with your little one. You have tested their abilities to communicate and control their tiny bladders by going out on short trips (or day trips with a travel potty). You understand that accidents happen and that potty training is a process that takes time. But when will this process be over? Where is the finish line?

Personally, I believe that the finish line for potty training comes when your little one can get on the toilet, go, wipe, flush, and wash their hands all by themselves when at home. According to this definition of successfully completed potty training, it can take between 3 months to a year. Don’t let this discourage you, because potty training is something you only have to complete with each child once. Of course, I still have to remind my 5 year old to go potty before naps, leaving the house, and bedtime, but that’s because she’s 5. I also have to remind her to brush her teeth and put away her crayons when she is finished coloring.

Remember that setbacks are going to happen. Last night at 8:00 pm, while we had a guest over, Kati snuck into her room and proceeded to drink her full water bottle along with her sisters. I wasn’t surprised when she woke me up at 5:00 am this morning all wet with a soaked bed to match.

The most important thing in potty training is to establish a pattern of behavior, so keep going, be consistent, and I promise it is going to pay off in the end.

I hope you enjoyed this series, as it was extremely interesting to write and experience personally. If anyone has any tips they would like to share on potty training boys, I would love to post those and hold onto them myself as we are expecting to add a little boy to our family sometime in July.

As always, happy travels!


Potty Training: Tidy Tots Potty Chair Liners Review

This post is part of the Potty Training Series, to see more posts from this series, check out the SER Series page.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Dinah over at Tidy Tots, a company that makes disposable potty chair liners so you don’t have to deal with the fun job of washing out your potty chair after your little one uses it. She asked me if I thought it would be something that might interest all of you traveling parents out there, and shipped me a box of 16 liners to try out for myself.

It was perfect timing because I had been thinking about what to do on an upcoming road trip where I knew we wouldn’t be able to stop and find a toilet as often as Kati might need one. So we bought a little potty chair at Ikea for 3 euros and voilà, a travel potty for Kati.

Unfortunately, the package didn’t get here until after our road trip, but that’s ok… Kati decided she wanted to test out her travel potty on our front balcony for all of the neighbors to see, hahaha. The bag doesn’t fit completely over the Ikea potty because there isn’t a separate pot area like on a lot of other kids potty chairs, but it still worked great. We just made sure the front was covered because that is where “stuff” is likely to escape from. The coolest thing about this product is the little absorbent pad that comes with each individual bag that will last up to 3 potty times. The bag also has a draw string around the edge so it is easy to dispose of.

I plan on putting the potty and the box of liners in my car and leaving them there in case we are out and need a quick potty break. When we travel to the US I am going to bring my box along for our road trip from California to Colorado.

Overall it is an interesting idea, and I know it would benefit a lot of parents who get grossed out by dealing with cleaning out potty chairs. I specifically think this would be awesome for a pregnant friend dealing with morning sickness and potty training at the same time! One box of 16 liners and absorbent pads costs $7.99 (USD). I don’t know if I would actually purchase this product for home use myself, because we put Kati on the normal toilet, but I will definitely be using it as part of my travel potty system. This is a clever product to keep in mind!

For more information on Tidy Tots and their Disposable Potty Chair Liners, check out their website here: http://tidytots.com

Happy travels!


Tidy Tots provided me with a free sample of their Disposable Potty Chair Liners in order for me to review them for the lovely readers of Sprouts En Route.

Potty Training: Setbacks

Welcome back to the exciting world of potty training. If you missed the first three articles in this series, go ahead and check out the SER Series page to catch up on what you missed so far. And now, full speed ahead. The next in line for this series was taking a bus, plane, or train with a newly potty trained child, but I am going to push that back a week because I am going to be reviewing a product (as soon as it comes in the mail) that I believe will help out in this area. So this week we will be looking at setbacks.

Once you have successfully established potty training behavior at home and when you are on outings, you feel like doing a victory dance. Go ahead, dance it out, you deserve it! You have been working hard and your consistency has begun to pay off. Pretty soon you get into the flow of not having to change diapers (Another cause for dancing? Absolutely!) and potty training no longer seems to be at the forefront of your mind.

If that explains you, then watch out, because you could have a setback coming on at any minute! But don’t worry, there are ways to guard against these setbacks that are simple and effective.

When we visited friends in Poland about 3 months after potty training Ksena, we were so excited when she made the 14 hour car and bus journey without one accident. As soon as we got to our friends’ house, where Ksena was surrounded with her friends, and we were relieved to be in our final city of destination, it happened. Ksena had an accident on our friends’ couch. It was the first one in a long time, and it could have been avoided if I had thought about the excitement we were all placing ourselves in. Ksena knew she had to go to the bathroom, but she was too busy having fun with her friends to go until it was too late. But, you can learn from my mistake!

We set several alarms to remember to get Kati on the potty in the morning when she wakes up and after her nap. This can easily be carried over into exciting events where you and your child might be distracted and forget about their potty breaks altogether.

3 Ways To Avoid A Potty Training Setback

1. Be aware of exciting and distracting events and places that distract your child from remembering to go to the bathroom.

2. Think ahead and set alarms on your phone or whatever else you have to remind you to take your child to the bathroom if you think you will be distracted. This is especially important at busy events when you are likely to be just as distracted as your child. A family reunion, a birthday party, the zoo, you get the idea. Make sure you set your alarm about every hour.

3. Pick a potty buddy. If you are with good friends or family and there is a child that is a little bit older, you can ask them to take your child to the bathroom when they go, and to encourage your child to remember to go the bathroom. This worked wonders in Poland with our daughter and our friends’ 5 year old daughter, and Ksena didn’t have anymore accidents for the rest of the 30 days we were there.