[Potty Training] 11 More Tips for Early Success

As promised, here are more tips for early potty training success. There’s really no definition for “early”. Personally, I prefer to have my kids on underwear by around 2 years old, at least when awake. The reasons for early potty training have been mentioned in 18 Sure-Fire Tips for Early Potty Training Success. Of course, you may have your own preference.

The tips below are more for toddlers aged 1 to 3 years old. Older preschoolers aged 4 to 6 years old may need other (more “aggressive”?!?) methods to accelerate progress.

General tips…

1. Set no expectation: Without an expectation on Vee’s progress, I avoided disappointment and frustration. We simply moved a little week by week, and enjoyed each progress. (This “no expectation” attitude actually applies to many aspects of bringing up a child.)

2. Choose suitable diapers or training pants: These are the main choices for potty training:

  1. Cloth diapers or training pants with feel-wet fabric, with waterproof layer
  2. Cloth diapers or training pants with feel-wet fabric, without waterproof layer
  3. Regular underwear

(Note: I left out disposable diaper or pull up pants from the above because the ultimate goal is to help the child wear only regular underwear, so she needs to get used to wearing cloth next to her bums.)

Just in case you were wondering, training pants are optional for potty training, especially if your child is already on feel-wet cloth diapers. You may progress from cloth diapers straight to underwear, like how our parents and grandparents did it.

And if you’re looking into getting training pants, there’s a small section on how to choose suitable ones at the end.

3. Observe progress then decide when to go diaper-free: I want to minimize wet messes (and frustration), in case Vee-the-super-heavy-wetter pees on toys and mattresses that can’t be cleaned easily. So from 7 months old, he has been wearing modern cloth diapers while being potty trained.

To accelerate success at the last lap during the day, I let him wear thin cloth diapers and non-waterproof training pants. Once he pee-ed, they’d leak and wet the floor, giving him a shock. After 2 very wet accidents, he started telling me consistently before pee-ing. Then we were finally confident enough to go diaper-free. The key is to observe when the child is almost ready.

4. Try different toileting options: A child who doesn’t like the potty may be excited at using the “big” toilet like Mummy. At different locations, I let Vee pee in the potty, on a toilet seat, and portable potty. I let him pee sitting, while hubby prefers to let him pee standing. This way, he’s also very versatile wherever we go.

Potty training when outdoors…

5. Visit the toilet before the next destination: This prevents accidents while in the car or public transport. Sometimes, we still forget and have to stop somewhere convenient to let him pee. Oops!

6. Have a portable potty in the car (or even diaper bag): We love to use Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus*. Once, we were driving along the Singapore-Malaysia highway and Vee needed to POO. We stopped at the nearest rest station, pulled out the portable potty and he poo-ed while sitting along a corridor! The toilet was too far away. It was a hilarious sight indeed. 🙂

Potty training for naps and overnight…

7. Visit the toilet as part of bedtime routine: Vee takes up to an hour before falling asleep. So if he has a big bowl of soup for lunch, he may pee up to FOUR times before nap!

8. Before waking your child up to pee, consider her sleeping pattern: Vee’s a super light sleeper. Sometimes, he wakes up to request for a diaper change after he wets himself. That abruptly marks the end of his nap or he’d need 1-2 hours to fall back to sleep again! This is no fun at all. So I don’t wake him up to pee, and let him wake up by himself or hold till morning.

If your child sleeps well, then you may try waking her up to pee at night. A suitable time is when she shifts from deep sleep to light sleep cycle, and starts stirring.

9. Place a protective layer on mattress:

– When wearing diaper / training pants that is expected to leak in case of accident:

In the earlier stage of nap / night-time training, I reduce the absorbency of Vee’s cloth diapers. We use a soft waterproof mattress protector (by BabySafe) under the bedsheet.

On his bed, he sleeps directly on a piece of water-resistant fleece blanket folded into several layers. (I bought this from Aussino.) It’s much easier to change and wash the fleece blanket than the entire bedsheet, especially at night. Do note that sleeping on fleece feels slightly warm, so it’s more suitable in an air-conditioned room.

– When wearing only underwear:

In the later stage of nap / night-time training, Vee wears only underwear to bed. To protect the mattress, we use a super-absorbent bed pad, such as Brolly Sheets reviewed here.

10. Limit fluid intake before bedtime: I decreased Vee’s milk intake from 1  to 1/3 cup before bed; and increased it during snack time. He gets some bread during supper to last him through the night. This has successfully helped him wake up dry on some mornings.

11. Expect regression and deal with it positively: Vee regressed just after Baby Jae arrived. He pooped twice on his diaper (without waking me up) and pee-ed once on his highchair. Of course, I was upset at first and spoke to him firmly after these incidents. Upon reflection, I realised he needed more attention from me, so I ensure he gets sufficient attention during the day.

How to Choose Training Pants

Nowadays, there’re many types of training pants or cloth diapers that can double up as training pants. These are some factors to consider:

  • Feel wet fabric: It’s important to let your child feel wetness and discomfort to wish to progress from wearing diapers. Generally, cotton and bamboo feel wettest, followed by microfleece, then suede cloth.
  • Suitable absorbency: For daytime, underwear-like training pants with extra layers of fabric in the wet zone is appropriate. For nap and overnight, having the option to stuff additional inserts would be good.
  • Fits well: If the training pants are too loose, the rise is too long or thigh circumference too big, leaks are more likely to occur. It should also fit comfortable on your child.
  • Easily pulled up and down by adult and child: Ideally, the training pants should be pulled easily by your child when she needs to use the potty. This also depends on her motor skills development. For instance, Vee was day potty trained before he could pull his pants down. It took another few months before he could pull them up. That’s one reason why we could skip training pants and move straight to underwear.
  • Waterproof or water-resistant layer: This helps to keep moisture away from sofas, beds, wooden floors, etc. PUL and TPU are commonly-used waterproof fabric; while fleece is water-resistant. More important for outdoors, nap and overnight, less for daytime so that you know immediately when your child pees.
  • Attractive colour or design: Depending on the child, she may want to wear attractive training pants and not wish to wet them.
You may also read blog posts by these Mummies for more ideas:

All right, that’s all for now. When Vee’s 100% potty trained for naps and overnight, we’d share more with you. All the best to you in your potty training journey!

P.S. Do share your potty training tips in the comments box too.

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13 thoughts on “[Potty Training] 11 More Tips for Early Success”

  1. I use the Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus too and I like it cuz it’s so portable.

    I’m still in the midst of potty-training my girl and I find that it really helps to go slow and like you said, set no expectation. It helps you to celebrate each success for what it is. 🙂

    I started my girl when she is 8 months and now, she’s 17 months. We’re trying to achieve dryness in the day. I just hope she is more or less completely potty-trained by 2.

    1. Hi jen, yes, I prefer the slow and steady method like you. The whole potty training process becomes part of our daily routine (like bathing, brushing teeth, etc.), so there’s hardly any stress involved.

      All the best to you! It feels great the day you’re confident enough to remove diapers completely. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Potty Training | Bed Wetting | Brolly Sheets REVIEW | Mummy's Reviews

  3. Hi,

    My elder son was diaper free daytime before 3. Now he’s coming 5 and he still needs diaper at night(heavy wetter). I naively thought his body will automatically mature physiologically to hold urine at night. I was wrong or plain lazy haha. In between these years, didi came along so I also couldn’t risk much routine changes.

    2 months ago, I tried decreasing his night milk to 100ml(usual 200ml) and waking him up during the night to pee but realised this actually disrupted his sleep badly. Plus, he also resisted to pee as he was tired and put up a struggle at times. Should I continue this battle at night? or wait till he is ready?

    Every night, he drinks his comfort milk from a measuring jug with straw…probably I need to decrease his milk further? Not sure what else can I do…

    What do you think?

    1. TsueyShya, we’re facing the exact same situation with Vee! He’s day-potty trained just before 2, and turning 5 in Feb but still on diapers at night. Super heavy wetter. He drinks a bowl of soup at dinner (7-8p.m.). For many months, I’ve decreased his milk intake at 8.30p.m. to half a glass (about 100ml). He sleeps at about 9.30p.m. Ideally, limit the last beverage to at least 1 hour before bedtime.

      Before bed, he must pee, or at least give a serious try. At about 12a.m. (after I feed #3 baby El), I’ll check his cloth diaper. Then I’ll gently stroke his body, get him to stir a bit.

      If he has wet himself, I’ll simply change his diaper.

      If he’s dry (which is often the case at 12a.m. since I’ve been doing trial and error from 2a.m. for 3+ months), I’ll carry potty to beside his mattress, undo his diaper, and carry him to sit on the potty. He’ll then let go a HUGE pool of pee. After that, put on diaper again and he can be dry in the morning. He’s usually very drowsy throughout, no struggle, and sleeps right back.

      You’d need to try different timings of getting him to pee at night. If he’s upset, it may be during the “wrong” part of sleep cycle. In between sleep cycle changes would be easier, that’s when he’d stir in bed a bit.

      If the child struggles / resists, then I’ll try something else or stop for a while. For instance, #2 Jae is day-trained but still on nap / night diapers. He’s only 26+ months though. He’s sleeps through when I change his diaper at night but turns upset when I try to get him to sit on the potty. So after trying for a few nights, I stopped; will try again after a few months.

      I read that bedwetting may last till 7-11 years old. So I’m not that concerned yet, just continue to get him to pee once at night.

      Hope this helps and all the best! 🙂

  4. Dear MieVee,

    Thank you for your sharing. I really admire your determination in helping all your boys achieve dryness throughout.

    Dinner time is usually 6.45-7.20pm, followed by quick shower clean up, milk drinking, tooth brushing and last step just before bed will be emptying his bladder. He usually cooperates and try to squeeze out his last drop of urine( haha can see from his facial expression). We can be in Bed by 8-8.30pm depending on his level of tiredness.

    Maybe I can shift my son’s dinner time earlier so he can have his milk much earlier than bed time? However, waiting til his father gets home and have a quick 15 minutes outdoor “boys only” playtime is something he looks forward everyday. That’s why I’m not eager to change the dinner time…

    He also drinks water well in the day, Probably one of the reasons why he’s still having so much urine at night is his high fluid intake throughout the day under my close supervision. Meanwhile, I can consider incorporating milk drinking session at tea time 4.30pm and decrease his night milk to 50 ml. Hope that will help…

    1. Indeed, we stick to the 7-8+p.m. dinner time so that the boys can have more time with Daddy, who often works late. Somehow, mums just got to balance out the various factors. 🙂

      My boys drink milk in morning, tea break & before bed (1/2 glass for Vee) and 2 bowls of soup during meals. Water intake isn’t much unless no soup when we’re out. This is enough to create 2 heavy wetters at home. Haha…

      I also read in a forum that can try getting the boy to pee every 2 hours upon waking up till bedtime. This is supposed to help him stay dry at night, don’t know how it works though. (With 3 boys, I’ve no time to track pee timings through the day.)

      1. Thanks for the useful tips. 😉 During the weekends, I can try out the 2 hour pee routine to see if that will really keep his diaper drier at night.

        My younger son is coming 15 months old. Initially, when he turns 7-8 months old, he often pees upon “sshhing” and poos upon “nngg -nngging” after his breakfast. I’m elated thinking that he can be potty trained sooner than gor gor so we can ditched those diapers early.

        Eversince his mobility improves( now he’s already walking well and semi-running, dashing dangerously around the house with an adult holding to his collar like a puppy), exploration and play become his number 1 to-dos hahaha.

        Putting him down on the potty( he will resist and scream) or just making the “nngg nngg” sound (he will make an unhappy grunt to tell you to stop) became a uphill task. Even when I try to make it predictable(after breakfast), make it fun, sing merrily, give him toys to hold, he still can’t sit there long without fussing and with No pee or poo output.

        Of course I understand that toddlers are obsessed with Playing and moving around. However, his potty usage ability has regressed tremendously. I will have to keep on trying when his mood is good and maybe stop for a while if he continues to put up a fierce struggle…..

      2. Ha… Sounds like my #2 Jae too, super-duper active! We only did potty once a day before bedtime when he’s calmer, then within a few days at about 24 months old, suddenly day-trained with his willingness to sit on the potty. Just let him do what he likes at this stage, kids have their own timing. 🙂

      3. I’m a boring mum… It’s simple vegetable stock with carrots, potatoes and tomatoes plus water. Cook 2-days portion, drink half today and freeze half for following day. 1 bowl each for lunch and dinner for each kid. Can pour over their stir-fried noodles / pasta / rice if they prefer soupy dish that day. Boring but they like it, Vee has been drinking it since a baby. Easy way to fulfil their fluids quota for the day. Haha! 🙂

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