Allison Jandu and I sat down to chat about potty training. You may not be at this stage yet. But I promise it will come faster than you expect.
Being prepared is key to handling parenting challenges, and potty training might land in that category for most of you.
I asked Allison what she thinks is most important to know when you enter into what I call potty training H-E-L-L.
Listen in as we chat about:
- Preparing to potty train
- Understanding child development & signs they are ready.
- Buying a potty (not the cute ones…)
- Reading Potty Books
- When should you start training?
- The down low on pull-ups and so much more.
More From Allison Jandu
Allison is helping to empower parents and toddlers to successfully go through the potty training process in a fun and positive way! She is a mom of two! Evan, 8, and Layla, 6! Layla has Type 1 Diabetes. When Layla was a toddler, she struggled with constipation, which drove Allison to quit her full-time job and become the potty training consultant full-time! She has now potty trained over 6000 children!!!
Follow Allison on IG: @pottytrainingconsultant
Connect w/ Trish:
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Trish: [00:00:00] My name is Trish Ware and I am obsessed with all things pregnancy and birth and helping you to navigate with the practical and the magical seasons of this journey called motherhood. I'm an all day coffee sipping mama of seven. I've had the amazing privilege of delivering many babies. And my 15 plus year career as a labor and delivery nurse, and as a mama of seven, I'm here to help you take the guesswork out of childbirth.
So you can make the choices that are right for you and your baby. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only, and does not replace your medical advice. Check out our full disclaimer at the
bottom. Of the show notes
Good morning everyone. I am so excited about today's topic It is not birth and it's not postpartum, but it is [00:01:00] very important today I'm talking to allison jandu About potty training.
So whether you're pregnant or you're sitting there nursing your sweet little newborn Trust me when I say this is a topic that is going to Become Everything at some point. So welcome, Allison. I'm so glad to have you here.
Allison: Hi, Trish. It's great to be here. Thank you. You're welcome.
Trish: Can you tell everyone just a little bit about why you do what you do?
Allison: Yeah, of course. I'm a mom myself. I have two little ones. They are older now. They're eight and six. But when I was potty training them, I realized that, hey, this isn't easy, and there just wasn't a ton of resources or science based information out there that was easily accessible to figure out how to navigate this milestone.
And my daughter in particular, who is the younger one, she struggled [00:02:00] with a lot of constipation issues and things like that when she was a baby, and we just needed help. So I, was able to work through it by myself eventually, but it sparked a little passion in me to figure out how to help other parents with this because in talking to people, I realized that I definitely wasn't the only one who was struggling with it.
And I was like, this should be a thing. There's support and, consulting out there for parents and so many other topics of parenthood and childhood that. I was like, this should be a thing too, so I decided to put all of my spare time into learning as much as I could about potty training early childhood development, human behavior, psychology, all the important factors that go into shaping the potty training experience and Here I am, five years later.
Trish: It's pretty incredible, and I know that I read that you have helped potty train over 5, 000 babies. [00:03:00] It's
Allison: actually over 6, 000 now, so yeah, super well received just through my online courses, my private consultations. It's been amazing.
Trish: That's incredible. And it, I'm a mom of seven. So been there, done that quite a few times.
And what I learned is that each one of my children, they were just vastly different. And so it's like, it's a learning curve and it's a constant learning curve, because just when you think you know exactly what to do with the next baby. No, it's not. Yeah. So today you guys we're going to talk about preparing to potty train How to know when it's best time to potty train and then we're going to talk about those initial potty training Months and that is just All consuming, honestly.
It really is. Let's just dive in. I want you to talk to these moms. Most of my [00:04:00] audience are pregnant or brand new mommies. I'd love for you to just give them some tips to be prepared. Yeah,
Allison: great. I'm so glad that you decided to have me on to speak to this kind of audience today, because it really is important to start thinking about potty training.
Before your child is at that age to actually begin the process, so that you can start some of those necessary preparations, not just from a mental standpoint, but just familiarizing your child with the concept of the potty. Giving them some exposure to the bathroom, starting to talk about their bodily function, all from a very young age.
So that way your child, when you do attempt to start potty training for the first time, it's not something that they're hearing for the very first time. And that can really make or break the whole experience, because Toddlers, when they're approaching that age of body training tend to start to get very comfortable with their routine, [00:05:00] they they thrive on predictability, knowing what to expect.
They don't necessarily super well with train her transplants very easily. So by giving some background experience and knowledge and education and exposure from as young as. Infancy, really they can really, you can really make that potty training experience easier and more enjoyable for everybody.
And then it also helps the mom too, or the dad, or whoever's handling the potty training aspect of things, to mentally prepare for those upcoming changes so that it doesn't seem like such an overwhelming task to take on right when the time comes.
Trish: I Love that so much because I think it's really important that, that time of preparation for both of you because it's not Oh, all of a sudden Hey, here's this thing.
And this thing might look a little [00:06:00] scary to you, but you're going to use it. I think that's, I think that's great. So like in line with that, what are some of the things that tangibly. As they're preparing at let's go back a little bit because I guess how do you know? Like when you even start doing that, do you have an age frame that you tell them to start?
Familiarizing them. Would you talk about like maybe putting a potty in the bathroom? What are these things we would do? Yeah,
Allison: 100. So I usually suggest recommending introducing like slowly, obviously not forcing them into anything right now, but when your child starts being able to sit up stably on their own so somewhere in the six month range ish.
And that's exactly right. You can purchase a little potty. Obviously, when they're that small, you want to have the independent floor potty that's safer for them to use and sit on by themselves. You can give them some exposure to that in between diaper changes occasionally, before bath time.[00:07:00]
Like at six months? Yeah, if they're able to stop eating themselves, yeah. And obviously there's no expectation for them to pee or poop in it. But just giving them that exposure, getting them comfortable with being in that single position on top of the body, so that they're familiar with what it looks like and what It's intended to be used for that kind of thing.
That said, when you're looking to purchase a little tiny potty I do recommend getting something that looks as simple as possible, or something that resembles a regular toilet as much as possible, like just something plain and white is ideal. Avoid the ones that they're super cute, that look like, Unicorns or frogs or whatever because those can easily be confused with just another toy, right?
So we want it to have a clear purpose. And you can keep it in your child's room when they're when they're babies. And then once they start walking, I would recommend moving it into the bathroom so that you can have it either next to the toilet or across [00:08:00] from the toilet so that while you're sitting on the potty using it yourself, then your child can mimic you and they can see you.
there and it just helps them get more comfortable and it becomes more natural and it's more normalized instead of bringing it on them all of a sudden when you know they're two three years old and they're actually showing the signs of potty readiness and you know you think your child might be physically capable to actually start the process.
Trish: I love that because I'm in my head visualizing all the different potty chairs I've bought, for my kids because my kids are very wide range. My oldest is 32, my youngest is 7. But for my older two, my mom bought this wooden one that a crafter made and it had a magazine rack on one side and a toilet paper thing on the other, but it was so cute.
Like a little throne. It was so cute. So anyway, but we did have the plane ones too. And we had ones for the car. Anyway, so [00:09:00] now that we've talked about that, what are some signs that because you said, waiting on those signs? What are those signs? How do we know they're ready?
Allison: Yes. So usually Most kids, and obviously, there's variables that come into play that would shift this a little bit, but right around the time your child's turning two, somewhere between two and two and a half tends to be the ideal age to start the actual potty training process.
And at that point, we know that your child's from a physical standpoint, are capable of holding their bladder and nails for certain periods of time. You may notice that your child is having less wet diapers. Maybe they're going for, a period of an hour or more where they're dry.
And having more predictable times when they're having nail movements. They might even start to hide to have their brown movements. That's a really strong indicator of being ready because they know [00:10:00] that it's coming before they actually do the act, Yes, totally normal. So that's a great sign of having awareness of your body.
And certain kids may start to ask to have their diaper changed or start to show you. discomfort when they're wet or soiled. They may just have more of a general interest in the bathroom, wanting to follow you in there, really asking you questions about the process, wanting to flush the toilet, all those kinds of things.
So like from a potty specific standpoint, those would be some of the things that you could look for. But from more of a developmental standpoint, Uh, we would like to have the child be pretty well established with their gross motor skills. Things like obviously sitting, standing, walking, unless there's some, disability or something coming into play there.
And then from a communication standpoint, we would also like to have that well established so that even if [00:11:00] they don't necessarily have the words or the vocabulary to use for potty specific things yet they can communicate through gestures or sign language or, grabbing your hand and pulling it to the bathroom if they feel like they need to go.
Just That's a pretty good sign. Yeah, just yeah. But we want them to be able to communicate their needs to us, and then we also want them to be able to understand simple one to two step directions as well. So if they have that receptive and expressive language present, then that's a great opportunity to start the potty training process as well.
Trish: Okay, so let's say you have this is, in my years of parenting, this is what I've seen most. You have a parent who is ready, but a child who is not. So what are some signs that you get it started and this child just isn't ready and you need to lay low for a little
Allison: while? Yeah, that's a great question.
So the main indicator would be like an extreme kind of, [00:12:00] Very obvious anxiety or fear surrounding sitting on the potty surrounding releasing their bladder and bowels without a diaper on, maybe having some withholding behaviors where they're just trying to hold in their puke for as long as possible as opposed to either having an accident or using potty, those were all these things that they're not quite emotionally ready for the process.
And unfortunately that's one of those things that you don't necessarily know until you start. But if you get it a couple of days into the attempt and you're noticing those behaviors, then it's probably a good idea to press pause. Take a couple steps backwards, take some of the pressure off, and revisit it again in a few weeks time or when we start to notice your child maturing a little bit from an emotional standpoint.
Trish: That's so interesting because my niece, Kyla, my son and my niece were born a week apart and my son was like completely potty trained by 16 [00:13:00] months. This kid was done with it, which if you knew him now, you understand he's doesn't, he just, that's him. But Kyla, on the other hand, was struggling with constipation and her very first poo on the toilet, or on the potty chair.
She associated that pain with that potty chair and come hell or high water, that kid was not gonna poop on the potty chair. It took my sister forever. So do you see that as well, if they associate a bad experience? Oh yeah, totally.
Allison: That's super common. Poop, poop issues is probably the number one reason why people reach out to me for help
Trish: with money training videos.
Oh, poop issues suck. Coming from someone who has IBS. I get it. Little ones.
Allison: I get it. Something that should be so natural is it can really cause so many problems. But yeah, you're exactly right. If they end up being a little bit constipated as a result of, maybe trying to withhold because they're a [00:14:00] little worried about what it's going to be like to poop without a diaper.
And then they end up being constipated and when they finally do go, it's uncomfortable or painful for them. All of a sudden, it's the potty that causes that pain. They just make that immediate connection between the two. This is what's different. So logic would tell them that is the reason why they were in pain just now.
And that can really disrupt the process a lot for kids. If you have a child that's prone to constipation, Or if, you've gone a couple days and you notice that your child hasn't gone to poop since you've removed diapers, you definitely want to try to be proactive and treat for the constipation before it gets a chance to develop and cause that painful experience for them.
That's what I always tell parents to look out for. If you have a child that's put on the constipation, start treating for it. before you remove diapers even to [00:15:00] ensure or just continue to poop comfortably and hopefully so that way it doesn't become a problem or it doesn't have as much of a chance to become a problem once they actually start using the potty.
Trish: Okay, so my next question would be, what are some things or tools or stuff that you could get ahead of time? And I can add this to the show notes, like if you have some recommendations just to make your life easier. So like I told you, we had the little toilet seat. guy that we would take with us out and about so he wouldn't have to sit on the actual toilet.
And then I had a little potty chair in the back of my SUV because that, yeah, truthfully, with boys, It's just so much easier. You can just
Allison: pull over and go. Stand up and just go wherever. Yeah.
Trish: It is much easier. And, we [00:16:00] had, we lived in, we, lived in Tennessee with most of the kids potty training.
They would just go out back. That's that. Anyway, but what are some things that you can have on hand that makes life easier or tips that you have for travel or day trips or going to grandma's house? What would you recommend? Yeah, absolutely.
Allison: There's not a ton of stuff that you are required to have for potty training, obviously.
You do want to decide if you want to do like a small floor potty. Or, um, like the insert that hits on top of the regular toilet, the seat reducer either one, they both have their benefits. I like to start off with a combination of both so that the child, you can take advantage of the convenience of the floor potty, and that's a nice option for them because it tends to be less intimidating than the toilet itself.
And but at the same time, having the seat reducer so that they're still getting exposure to the regular toilet might be nice. They're not going to have small store bodies [00:17:00] everywhere you go, right? Eventually they're going to have to use a regular toilet. Starting that off from as early as possible tends to be helpful.
And then the seat reducer is more portable. I do love the option of having a separate body just in the car for those emergency situations because you never know if the child's going to You don't need to go in the middle of the highway, or
Trish: if you want to sleep. Yeah, and it's never near an exit.
Allison: Ever. It's always when it
Trish: happens. Yeah, it's literally always after you've stopped and tried.
Allison: Yep. Always. Happened to me so many times. But at the same time, if you are in a public place that does have a bathroom, there's a lot of like sensory stuff happening in those bathrooms and kids might just freeze up and not want to go in there.
So by having, a travel potty or a potty in the car is a really nice option so that they know that they have [00:18:00] that backup. We don't feel helpless and just, hold it too long or have an accident or
Trish: something like that. Yeah. And here's a tip. From a mom of seven, make sure you also buy those like puppy training pads or similar and put it under the potty in the back of the car because I have had one of my toddlers throw a fit.
And the pee spills. Yeah. And
Allison: And then that smells in your car, right?
Trish: Yeah, it's not fun. No. So I would definitely recommend having something under the potty chair as well. That's only happened to me once, but it was enough,
Allison: Yeah. Any mess in the car makes it that much more challenging. And anything that you can do to help minimize and clean up, have a little basket.
With a handle that has your cleaning supplies in it so that you can easily carry it around the house if there happens to be an accident protect your mattresses, get some waterproof mattress clads and have them on your beds [00:19:00] before you start the process. They also work really well, like the crib size 1 specifically for couches.
So you can cover the couch cushions and protect those from accidents. Roll up your area rugs and put those away temporarily so that you can be on a hard surface as much as possible. I've even seen people take those same puppy pee pads and line their entire carpeted floor with the puppy pee pads to prevent them.
You can get a box of a hundred of them for twenty bucks. Yeah. So it's not Go Amazon. Yeah, exactly. It's not that unreasonable to do. If you're real concerned, but not having to worry about the mess as much because you're already Dealing with a lot as far as
Trish: or get a little green machine.
Yeah, just like when you have a puppy well So that kind of leads me into the next thing because I have strong opinions about this next topic just from my own Experience and I feel like I've potty trained six thousand children myself after doing it seven times Although my oldest he potty trained [00:20:00] number six or five because he was a teenager and sick of changing diapers, but pull ups.
So I am not a fan and I per, okay. I'm glad to hear that because I just felt like it was confusing. And part of that is because when I had my older ones, like I said, they're 32 and 31. It wasn't as much of a thing. The big thing when they were born, you guys, was they had pink and blue diapers. So Ian had pinstripe blue diapers that look like a little suit and my niece had pink flowered diapers and we just thought this is the coolest thing we've ever seen because back then you just had plain white diapers.
But anyway, I never really was a fan and then I don't remember when I didn't really have the option and so then with The child that I used them, that was one of my most difficult paths, and I blame it on the pull ups.
Allison: Yeah. They can [00:21:00] definitely prolong the learning process,
Trish: Because they feel like a
Yeah. They're marketed as a potty training tool, but they're really no different than a diaper. You're, the only difference is that it's the way that they go on, right? Instead of passing on the sides. Yeah, kids are smart. And exactly. Kids are smart. They know it. They know that it's going to contain the mess, like there's no real consequence or reason to not use the pull up.
The only time that I would say that it's a good idea to maybe use BLUP would be the interim before you officially start potty training. And maybe you start doing some standing diaper changes in the bathroom and that kind of thing. If you have a child who's a little bit on the older eminence spectrum.
So that they can start to get practice with the motion of dressing and undressing themselves a little bit more realistically. But when it comes time to actually start using potty, the pull ups are not [00:22:00] helpful. It's just gonna send mixed signals, your child's gonna be like do they want me to use the potty or is it okay to go in my pants?
They're just not setting a clear expectation. And as much as I think one of the biggest pain points of potty training is dealing with the accidents and dealing with the mess and the changing clothes and all that kind of stuff. That's important. That's important in the learning process. And the accidents are a real part of it.
And the, actually the more accidents your child has, most likely they'll start to learn a lot faster. So
Trish: by using the Oh, this is a life lesson 101. This is for all of us. The more you face your consequences, the quicker you learn the lesson.
Allison: Yeah. And it's scientifically proven, right? Like Your brain starts working harder to prevent you from making the same mistake again.
So the same thing applies to potty training. We want your child to have accidents, it's going to help them learn so that they can feel what [00:23:00] happens between the feeling they had in their body before they went, when they went, the end results of being in their clothes or whatever, and it not being contained and the pull ups really diminishes that.
Most of the time, the pulps are so absorbent that they can't even feel that they've had an accident. It's it's not necessarily helpful in the potty training process itself. I
Trish: love that so much because I just as a mom of lots of children, I learned that myself because I saw the difference between my kids who didn't have the option of pull ups.
And I also tended to lean more towards just regular underwear and not those thick ones. I personally felt like the thick ones made like, it was just. Not, it just absorbs so much that sometimes what I found is they would pee and then not tell me and then maybe pee again or something to that effect.
But another tip that I would tell you [00:24:00] guys is that they discover their bodies real quick when you take off those diapers and put underwear on. So don't be surprised when you're out in public and they have their hand in their panties or touching or whatever. I was like,
Allison: what is
Trish: happening? It's so funny.
Totally normal and no shame there. It's fine. We all need to discover our bodies, so this is normal. So one thing that I always recommend to moms is that those initial couple weeks don't overschedule yourself because I feel like the more you do Things and go out and about the more likely you are to get more overwhelmed and react emotionally to your child.
This is not the time where you're doing tons of play dates or going to story hour or going on a road trip or whatever. It's like potty training is it? Would you agree? Yeah,
Allison: to a certain extent, I do agree with that. I don't feel like you should have to feel like you're held hostage or [00:25:00] anything just because you're potty training, but you're right.
You definitely don't want to have too high of expectations and overscheduling yourself with a bunch of stuff that would be stressful with a toddler without the potty training involved, it's definitely important to put potty training at the forefront and to, I think, understand before you even start the process that It's not just a couple day thing, necessarily, it is a process.
There's gonna be good days mixed in with the bad days, and vice versa. It's gonna be something that takes time. There's a lot of talk about these potty training a day, or three day potty training, and
Trish: I haven't heard that talk. That is not true, y'all. You did.
Allison: There are a handful of threads out there that be like, Yes, they got it, and then they're good to go.
It's not the norm. Yeah, just plan that it's gonna be probably two to three weeks where your child is really learning and really mastering everything. [00:26:00] And you can still do outings here and there, I would keep them more low key. Try to avoid birthday parties, bounce houses, things like that, where your child feels
Knowing yourself, because if you're potty training, you don't want to go back and forth to diaper because you're going to be like at the library or whatever, if people still do that, I don't know. If you know that if your baby pees in the middle of the library and you're going to lose your mind and be super embarrassed, then don't go there because they, you need to know yourself.
And I will tell you that. Out of my children, two of them never once had an accident. Not one time, not at night, not anywhere. The rest of them, we had a handful of them. But I, besides my oldest, who basically did it to himself. Like he, he was just, did it. So young. The rest of them, I really waited.
I didn't push it and I wasn't stressed out about it. And I let them Lead it and we didn't [00:27:00] have accidents like I think it's really important that like you started this saying Watch their developmental cues. What are they telling you because I know from you know Having a very you know wide group of friends as I was raising the older kids Not as much now because I'm the old lady with the young kid now, but back then I had a circle of moms that were in the same boat as me, and I saw the consequences of pushing a child who is not ready to be potty trained, and it is way worse on everyone.
Allison: For sure, There's a fine line, right? Because there are parents who, um, maybe they're waiting for that obvious sign that, yes, my child is ready to do it. Or maybe they're waiting for their child to just come out one day and be like, I don't want to leave. fOr a lot of kids that doesn't happen.
If you take time to, [00:28:00] like I was saying in the beginning, introduce the concept to them. Without putting any pressure on them to do or change anything themselves, so that they can get familiar with it, so that it's normal to them, and they start to see that it's just something that everybody does as they get older, they'll be more receptive to the time when it comes to for you to initiate the process.
Because Kids aren't always going to do that the most like you were saying your oldest kind of, just did all on its own That doesn't always happen. So just plan on that not happening with your
Trish: child That didn't happen anyone else so but I like that because and I like normalizing and letting your Todd like we all complain about not getting free bathroom time once you become a mom, but part of that is showing them your modeling to them what you do in the bathroom.
And I used to when I had to go to the bathroom, cause of course they all, were in [00:29:00] there, I would give them a little book to sit on their potty, even though they weren't actually using the potty. But chances for me was that because my kids were, Born in clumps, someone was being potty trained while the baby was watching.
They would sit on there with a little book and hang out. I can just see some of them just swinging their little toddler legs, but not doing anything. So I like that. There's no pressure. This is just the normal thing. And then when it's time to use it, they're so familiar that they're not fearful.
Exactly. Because we all get scared about new things.
Allison: Yes. Every change brings a certain level of discomfort, right? You have to step out of your comfort zone into something new. Especially for somebody who's only been on the planet for two or three years. That's Yeah, and they have to learn a lot.
Trish: That's a lot of newness. Oh I love this topic and I'm so glad that you came on and shared this with my mamas because there's just so much for us as well as new moms to learn. And it's like here we've been using the bathroom my whole life and now we have to teach somebody how to use [00:30:00] it. It's what, why is that?
That's so mind boggling, but it is what it is, but so thank you so much for coming. I'd love for you to share with my listeners where they can find you and what you have going on. And for those of you guys listening, I'm going to have some links in the show notes so that you can access Allison and her incredible potty training courses.
Allison: thank you. So my first recommendation would just be to give me a follow on instagram at potty training consultant. I'm always sharing a lot of free tips and information over there. As Trish was saying, I have a whole suite of online courses for all different topics. From just getting started with the process all the way through troubleshooting certain issues like nighttime training and poop training.
Yes, of course. That
Trish: is the, that's the tough one.
Allison: It's a hot topic, and then I also have my children's book, which is How Do You Poo? So it's a great opportunity to, like we were saying, start normalizing the concept of not just using the [00:31:00] potty, but Talking about poop itself so that if your child doesn't feel like poop is something that you have to keep lucrative or Painful or something that we don't talk about it can make them more comfortable with pooping when we don't have their diaper on anymore So
Trish: I love that so much because like my girls listening know that I am such a poop foe Not for anyone else and I always have to preface this because I don't want my patients to think Oh my gosh, if I poop during delivery trish is gonna freak out.
I don't care if you poop I do not care. Don't bother me. But I don't poop. And my husband knows I don't poop. If I have to poop, he goes out the bedroom, out the bathroom, out the bedroom, out the hall, downstairs. He is not upstairs at the same time. I don't know why. I must have been traumatized. It's my mother's fault, I think.
I think I was traumatized as a child.
Allison: I think you and I might come from like more of the same generation where it was just one of those things where it's oh my god, you don't talk about that. It's just very Hush, hush, and like taboo almost, [00:32:00] especially for a lady
Trish: to, yeah, poop and gas. My daughter on the other hand absolutely.
It's really funny because my mom is very like she's from the country. She's not, she doesn't care. She'll talk about it. She'll go. She has gas, whatever. Doesn't care. I think that she traumatized me so much that I went though. other extreme. And it's so funny because my daughter went back to my mother's extreme, like she doesn't care, doesn't bother her.
And I think you're right, like that generation, they talk about it on TikTok and Reels. But it's really funny because every like I do travel nursing as a labor and delivery nurse and every assignment, somehow we end up talking about whether or not you poop with your husband nearby. Or have gas or whatever.
And I'm usually the most extreme of that one. So little guys that are learning to potty train and feel phobia about poop. I feel ya. I get it. Poop is such an [00:33:00] interesting topic. But that being said, if you're pooping while you're pushing, you're pushing right. So don't worry about it. We're okay with it.
Thank you so much, Allison. I really enjoyed this conversation.
Allison: Me too. Thanks, Fresh. You're welcome.
Trish: Wow, what a great talk about potty training. This is such a great episode. I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know if you want to hear more about potty training or toddlers or things that you can expect in the years to come. We love empowering you through education. Knowledge is power. Hit subscribe, leave a review, and as always, I will see you again next Friday.
Bye for now!