Real Life Potty Training STories

About This Series

This is the fifth installment in our series of real-life stories about how real parents helped their children move from diapers to fully potty trained. We created it in recognition of the fact that all kids are unique and that no two potty training journeys are exactly the same. There truly is no better way to grasp what needs to be done (and to motivate yourself) than learning how other parents tackled this major milestone!

Introducing Annie and Quill

Our fifth story is from Annie. Let's find out how she potty trained her son, Quill.

Question #1 - Please Tell Us About Yourself and Your Family!?

Hi, Annie here! I’m an actress living in Los Angeles, CA and the mother to a four year old boy named Quill.  I do not have a set schedule or office, so Quill often has to come with me to auditions all over town — which can take hours in LA traffic followed by seemingly endless waits (to a toddler) in casting offices. This dynamic definitely made for an interesting potty training experience!

Question #2 - When Did You Start Potty Training?

Boy Inspecting Potty Chair

For me, timing was everything and the right time with my schedule happened right around Quill's second birthday. This is because Quill's birthday is in December, which is typically a slow time for the entertainment industry at least in terms of auditions. I figured we should take advantage of the opportunity to stay at home for a few weeks.

Question #3 - What Helped You The Most?

I love to research and study pretty much everything, so I read ALL the books and blogs before I started.  While these were a great resource, my biggest source for all things parenting is actually my community of mom-friends in a local Facebook group. It truly takes a village and it helped so much to have a trusted group who was always ready to commiserate, advise and recommend.

Question #4 - How Long Did It Take to Click?

We did a Three Day Method (which definitely took longer than three days . . . ) where you start with the kiddo naked and watch for the 'tells' that they need to go. That was really helpful because Quill’s tell was pretty obvious. Unfortunately, he caught on to the game that first day AND he is mischievous, so then he’d try to mask his tell or fake me out because he thought it was funny. So that first day I’d say he got it and . . .  he “got it”. Yay. 

Question #5 - When Were You Really Confident They Were Trained?

Like I said, Quill got the concept that first day but it still took us around three weeks to really trust the system. It helped to stay home those first few days — we rolled up the rugs and brought his little potty to each room we were in, or in the yard so he could see it and make it to the potty in time. Then, we worked up to keeping the potty in the bathroom so he had to make it there. When we went out, we had a travel potty in the car or in my backpack, or we would point out where the restrooms were in stores / restaurants / friends’ houses. 

Only once did he tell me he had to pee while we were grocery shopping and I just couldn’t get him to the restroom in time . . . neither one of us enjoyed that situation but I think having that experience was a good  lesson in the long run. Long story short, we were pretty comfortable with his 'training status' after about three weeks.

Question #6 - How Did You Tackle Poop?

The hardest part of getting him to poop was just teaching him that it takes a little more time. Patience is a virtue he was not born with. What worked for us was having some fun “potty time only” books that we got to read while he was waiting. Also, I’m sneaky and determined so I geared his diet toward poop-friendly foods (prunes, dates, mango) and lots of physical activity to help the process along.

Question #7 - What About Training Outside Your Home?

Boy Inspecting Potty Chair

We had a compact travel potty seat kit (the seat, extra liners, baby wipes, backup undies & hand sanitizer) in each of our cars. Bonus that it fit in my backpack or purse for when we were out and about.

More than once though, we used my 'In Case of Emergency-Emergency Plan': I carried tiny red solo cups in my purse and stashed some in the arm rest of my car should Quill really have to go and there was no time to set-up the travel seat.

Question #8 - How About Nighttime Training?

Oh, we ripped off that bandage! Since we had the time off, we did day & night at the same time. It really helped to cut off liquids after dinner. I tried to do the “dream pee” thing where you take them to pee a few hours after they’ve fallen asleep . . . low lights, no talking . . . that didn’t work for us but I liked the theory.

What DID work for us was double making the bed: fitted sheet, waterproof liner, another fitted sheet and another waterproof liner. That way, if there was an accident late at night, we just stripped off the top set and the bed was ready to go, again!

Question #9 - Any Potty Training Hacks You Can Share?

Know your kid — do they respond well to praise, rewards, bribes, preparation, experience . . . ? Use that to your advantage. Also have a few bottles of wine on hand (for yourself) and plenty of patience.

Question #10 - Any Last Words For Parents Just About To Embark On Their Potty Training Journey?  

Boy Inspecting Potty Chair

It may sound strange, but in the end I really enjoyed potty training. Why!? It was the first time I got to teach my son something. Kids do so much naturally: roll over, crawl, walk, talk — but potty training was a team effort that included communication and trust. I learned who Quill is on a deeper level and we connected even more going through the process together.

More Interesting Reads

smiling toddler showing diaper bum happy

Real Potty Training STory No. 1

The first installment in our new series showing how real parents potty trained their kids. Learn how this mom potty trained her two year old.

toddler smiling in onesie

Real Potty Training Story No. 2

The second installment in our series showing how real parents potty trained their kids. If you think training one child is a challenge, imagine training two at the same time!

toddler sitting on potty chair

Real Potty Training Story No. 3

The third installment in our series showing how real parents potty trained their kids. See how this family potty trained their son during the height of the pandemic in New York City!