Get tips from the trenches with this information-packed blog from the authors of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know, Heather Flett and Whitney Moss.

Tales from the Potty Chair…


My little guy is in the early stages of potty training now, and this phase has already lasted six months. But believe me, I’ve been through it all before. Here are the stages as I define them: Consideration, Ticking Time Bomb, and (finally) Success!

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I like to put a potty chair in his bathroom and just make it available on his terms. I might also offer him a choice of underwear or diaper when we have no place else to be. Sawyer has shocked me by being willing and able to use the public toilet at a Wendy’s and an airport (!) during this phase. Since I’m no rookie (heh), I don’t feel the need to rush him through the process.

This is also a great time to work in light reading on the subject of toilets, farts, and poop. I wish I were joking. If this were a PR campaign, we’d be focused more on awareness than conversion.

Potty training has a way of becoming a power struggle under the best of circumstances, so I would also add this little tidbit of advice: You can lead a toddler to the potty but you can’t make him pee.

“Ticking Time Bomb”
Once the little person is reliably choosing to pee and poop in the potty, it’s time for some big kid undies. Choose ones that are fun—whether they’re covered in princesses, stripes, or robot skeletons. I’ll be honest: This phase of basic training terrifies me, because the child often shows no warning of when the bodily function is about to occur. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself on a bridge in traffic when nature calls. (Ugh.)

Pro tip: Prepare yourself with a calm demeanor and a change of clothes no matter where you go.

You’ll know you’ve reached potty training nirvana when days go by without having to reach for a diaper. Hooray for you! Unfortunately, I’m not there yet. Nighttime may be a different story for a while, but don’t stress about it. And remember: nobody goes to college still in nighttime pull-ups; so this phase is bound to end at some point.

My favorite tools of the trade:

  1. Other kids. Peer pressure potty training is the best. God bless preschools and playdates.
  2. BABYBJÖRN toilet trainer. This potty seat insert is the BEST for fitting inside most adult-size toilets so your little-bottomed one can do his business and you have less to clean up. I even toss it in a garbage bag and bring it on trips.
  3. BABYBJÖRN safe step. Though any stool can do the job, this number is lightweight and easy for a two-year old to carry to the commode and back to the sink.
  4. BABYBJÖRN potty chair. I like this model of mini potty because the bowl comes out for easy rinsing and there’s a splash guard. When choosing one, pay attention to ease of cleaning, I beg you. And just say NO to the iPad holder – eww!
  5. Fun underwear.

**Full disclosure: I received the BABYBJÖRN potty paraphernalia as a gift when my oldest was training and it has lasted more than seven years. I heartily recommend every one of these items!

About Heather

Heather Gibbs Flett co-founded to inspire moms to have more fun after her own challenges with rookie motherhood. Together with her BFF Whitney Moss, she also wrote "The Rookie Moms Handbook" and created a local site for parents in the Bay Area (

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