A Denver Home Companion | potty training

now, obviously, all children are different. but this is how ramona learned to use the potty:

1. we (being my hubby and i) decided early on that we weren’t going to even think about potty training/learning (i’m going to call it learning from here on out as ramona was the one that decided she wanted to learn and did so) until ramona showed us she was ready. i didn’t even think about it that much as i have never had any problem changing and washing dirty diapers.

2. ramona started making obvious signs of when she was peeing or pooping. i mean, i could always tell when she was pooping by her poop face, but she started to make it more obvious when she was peeing now too. that got me interested.

3. so we talked about what we ourselves were doing on the pot a lot. if you could be a fly on the wall at our house you’d hear: “yeah, mama’s going potty,” “mama tooted,” “say bye to mama’s poops!”. TMI? trust me, i know i’m giving away some of my dignity writing these words for all the interwebs to read and maybe, if i run into you, quote. but trust me on this also: everybody poops.

4. and then, when she seemed to understand what we were doing on the toilet, we moved her into undies. and she was SO excited about them. and she totally wet her pants on the floor not two minutes after i had just gotten done bragging to my mom on gchat how ramona wear undies.

5. soon after, she started asking for a diaper whenever she needed to do anything. she didn’t like getting her undies wet. each time, we’d set her on the toilet and encourage her to pee. we bought one of these to help her feel comfortable on the seat. still, she’d refuse to do anything and wait until a diaper was put on her.

6. one day, miraculously, she just peed. so we gave her a chocolate chip. (there’s a photo on my phone of the first time she pooped in the toilet that jp sent me. i’ll spare you that).

7. we continued to give her one chocolate chip every time she went pee. and, if she pooped (which was almost never) three chocolate chips.

8. soon enough, she was looking for excuses to pee. she was so darn proud of herself and pretty slick about figuring out how to get chocolate chips (we never gave her any for just sitting on the potty. only for, ahem, producing).

9. now, besides nap time and bed time, this girl is in undies and usually dry. there’s maybe an accident once a week and it always coincides w long car rides where her mother forgot to offer her a trip to the toilet before they departed. for a while there she was reserving pooping for diaper time (nap time and bedtime) but as of today she seems to have gotten the hang of it (meaning, she seems to have understood just how many chocolate chips she gets when she does a #2).

10. for the record: more times than not, as of recently, she doesn’t even ask for the chocolate chips. that just seemed to get her excited about using the toilet in the first place.

as every child is different, i’d love to hear what worked for you. or what you plan on trying when you feel the time is ready for your little one. i’m also curious: when does the potty learning through nap time and overnight start? how does it happen? for those of you with older children, i’d love to hear how it went for you.



  1. courtney says:

    Emily, thanks for sharing this! We’re slowly starting to work on this at our house. How long did this whole process take you?

    • emily says:

      i’d say it was about 1 to 2 weeks. once she did her duty the first time on the toilet (rather than crying and saying “no!”) she just seemed to get really excited and take over from there.

      if L shows interest in what you’re doing on the toilet, i’d say that’s the hint we took from ramona to start encouraging her more actively. before that, it wasn’t really anything we’d planned on!

  2. Alli says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. We haven’t made any attempts to toilet train Lulu. Last Christmas Nick’s Aunt bragged about how all her kids were potty trained by the age of 1, so we bought a potty but it didn’t work because while her kids were obvious with faces when going to the toilet, with Lulu I never know. Not even with poops when she was younger. It’s good to know that the faces get more obvious & that it just works out, with a little rewarding. How many months old was Ramona when you started her in undies?

    • emily says:

      potty trained by 1?! that’s crazy. good for them if it worked out how they wanted! i could NEVER tell when ramona was peeing (now she sort of shivers if she’s holding it!). pooping, she’s always made faces but i didn’t want to interrupt the process so didn’t move her to the toilet.

      we moved her into undies when she kept talking about mama and papa peeing and pooping (ha!), and that was about 22.5 months.

  3. Wendy says:

    Thanks for sharing, my boy is only one year old and we have no idea when we should start or what to do when the day comes…I’m scared ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Rebecca says:

    We just wrapped on training Sylas. We did exactly what you did and offered some inexpensive curious george books, etc. as treats, especially for pooping. He was potty trained within a three day weekend. About three weeks after he was potty trained during the day he started waking up at night to go to the bathroom. It was bit tricky because we had to disrobe him all the way out of diaper and get him back into it and hope he didn’t wake up too much from using the toilet. He then began flat out refusing to use a diaper at bedtime. He would get super upset about it so we went with it and he has woken up dry and without a diaper ever since. It has been about two weeks without a night time diaper.

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