everything he knows, he learned from elmo {potty training part 2}

About two weeks ago we tried. And failed. Apparently the capacity of my son’s bladder is larger than my patience.

The following week, OBoy told me in time to make it to the potty for a poop. I congratulated him and was very excited, but made zero effort to encourage him further.

The week after that (so Monday of last week, now)… I don’t know. Maybe it was the mother’s guilt again, maybe I was delusional from a lack of sleep,  or perhaps a random bout of fearlessness overcame me, I’m not sure, but I went for it. Solo. We did a pants-less day of house arrest and I pumped him full of liquids, again. Only this time I didn’t feel like I had to hover like a bird of prey. I knew (much to my chagrin) he was perfectly capable of holding it for long periods of time so I didn’t stress it so much. Figured we’d do the usual morning thing and if we caught it, we caught it. If not, we’d spend some time on the potty before nap.

O, and we watched Elmo’s Potty Time. (Have you heard of it?)

It is the gospel according to potty training and I honestly can’t imagine doing this without it.


Monday morning last week we started watching it on my computer. There’s a “potty song”, a couple parts about trying and trying again, a scene about undies, wiping, washing your hands, a song about how accidents happen, a ‘dirty diaper blues’ song, and even a segment on all the different names for ‘it’. It is 45 minutes of the awesome (and the cheese), and I’d be lying to you if I said I haven’t laughed at some of the jokes they make.

We watched it once around breakfast time and once again around lunch – before nap. OBoy had been doing a good job with liquids and I was sure we would have a pee before naptime. SURE of it.


We ate lunch, then went upstairs and sat on the potty awaiting the pending pee. We read books, and waited, played with trucks and waited. Sang songs and waited.

{{Bless his heart, OBrother slept through this so that I was able to be with OBoy the whole time.}}

It was clear to me that OBoy was just going to hold it to the best of his ability (which is quite the ability, I’ve learned).


So I did two things. I queued up the main Elmo’s Potty Song on YouTube (O, boy am I thankful for the miracle of data plans and youtube apps for android) and we watched it while sitting on the potty. It’s not the whole DVD, just the main (and impossibly catchy) song about using the potty.

{{Let me say that you need to be careful when clicking around elmo potty clips on youtube. Apparently it’s funny to take the original clips and make them inappropriate and then re-post them. This video is posted by the official Sesame Street channel. Pay attention.}}

Then, when things still didn’t get-a-movin, I tried putting undies on him. I figured he was feeling uncomfortable with the idea of letting go without anything covering him (as he had grown accustomed to over the last 2 years), so I gave it a shot. We talked about how big boys wear undies, and we get to wear undies because we will be putting our poop and pee in the potty from now on.

{{O my heavens, you should hear some of the conversations we have around our house these days.}}


{{Is there anything cuter than a toddler in big boy undies? I submit to you that there is not.}}

The undies did the trick! Not 2 minutes after putting them on, OBoy started to pee.

“O! O, potty!” He said, and I rushed him over to it, catching the majority in the bowl.


I put a diaper on him for nap, and it has honestly been down hill from there. That afternoon he caught a pee and a poop (still pantsless). The next day I was actually busy when he brought me a potty with pee in it.

“Flush? Wipe?”

By Tuesday night I had been trapped at home so much that we needed to go out – but we also didn’t want to have to put pants on him (aka go in public) so we did the pantsless thing at Nana and Papa’s house on Tuesday for dinner. LOTS of reminding that “We put out poop and pee into the potty.” and “Tell us if you need to make poop or pee, k Buddy?”

We also ask on a regular basis “Where do we put our poop and pee?” (answer: potty) instead of the “Do you need to make poop or pee?” which is somehow ALWAYS answered “no”.


Before we left Nana and Papa’s for a 20 minute drive home, we had OBoy sit on the potty and – you guessed it – watch the Elmo’s Potty song.

SUCCESS! He made pee on the potty, flushed it, and washed up afterward.

Monday, Tuesday, Tuesday night at the grandparents’, and Wednesday were all accident free. ACCIDENT FREE! We did diapers at nap and at night, but other than that we went pantsless, even in the car on the way Nana and Papa’s house. (We put a plastic bag and a cloth diaper insert under his bottom for the drive.) We probably caught 9 pees and 3 poops in that time.

I firmly believe that it would not have gone like this if he hadn’t actually been ready. But, being on house arrest and being successful doesn’t mean that it will transfer to the real world… and we couldn’t stay home forever.

To be continued…

{{You never thought potty training could be so suspenseful, did you? Next up, a road trip!}}

18 Responses to “everything he knows, he learned from elmo {potty training part 2}”

  1. Mrs. MidAtlantic

    I’m am reading this like a potty-obsessed pyscho because my daughter is showing interest in potty training – at 18 months! I thought I had years before we needed to go down this road. Help me!

    I’m just curious – how old is OBoy now that he is so receptive of new language and concepts? I am terrified of trying mine without a diaper since she’s so young!

    • Sarah M.

      Don’t be afraid! My daughter was able to go diaper free around the house from 19 months on. Since she is so little, pulling pants up and down is tough, so go pants-less. MP was pants-less at home for about 2 weeks and then wore pants without anything underneath. Just go with the flow (ha!). If you feel yourself getting frustrated or upset, put the diapers back on.

      It definitely takes a bit more work on your part (helping pull pants up and down, wiping, etc.) when they are so young and interested in training but it was SO nice not having to argue and fight over diaper changes.

      Also, I read somewhere it can take 2 minutes for a child to start to empty their bladder when on the potty. The book “Have You Seen My Potty?” is entertaining and the perfect length for sitting on the potty to see if she needs to pee.

      Good luck!

    • AllisonO

      He’s been pooping in the potty since 23 months – he’s 25 mo now. But! Babies can do sign language much earlier than they can verbalize (which means their heads and hands grasp the concepts but their tongues take longer) so if you needed a method of communication for potty related things, try signs!

  2. molly

    These updates are hilarious! Well, to me anyway. Probably because we went through potty training and I’ve got a small amount of perspective.

    I pretty much went for it at 27 months and put him in undies. It worked like a charm! I didn’t follow any sort of program. Just followed my gut :)

    Sure he had accidents here and there for a few months and we still used pull ups for naps and nighttime. But just like anything else in this crazy toddler world the issues seem to work themselves out with time.

    It took a couple months but were fully potty trained by 2.5! Fine by me!

    And just so you know, his little brother might be easier. My youngest follows his big brother to the potty and tries to get on because HOW DARE WE leave him out. I forsee this being easier the second time around :)

  3. Jenny

    Wow. That song IS extremely catchy. I was just playing it from your blog and little man (2.5) came over to watch it. Hopefully he will be inspired. ;-) I did get the video when we came back to MN for our visit this summer–so maybe I will have to whip it out. But, just not sure if my little guy is ready yet. You are a lucky mama!! (well, I think…but I think I saw something on Twitter that makes me think you are)…

  4. Cole

    Way to go, OBoy! Mommy is not looking forward to potty training – especially with baby Squishy joining the family in January… I don’t think I’m quite ready yet.

  5. Tiffany @MomNom

    Omyword, the big boy undies. (I can’t lie, I almost wrote panties. Sorry obrother!) They are the cutest most adorable wee little clothing items EVER.

    Bubbette shows interest every night at bathtime, but no luck. I think we may be watching the elmo show tonight – did you buy the DVD?

  6. Nicole

    We watched that movie with my son when we started training him. He still sings the songs..accidents happen and that’s OKAY!

    We are currently working on my daughter about a week older than Micah (i think), it isn’t going very well but my son still sings her the songs and lets her know that accidents are okay!

    He is convinced that a sticker chart will help his sister, that’s what we did for him and because he never forgets ANYTHING, he tells me on a daily basis to make a sticker chart for her!

    I agree, toddler booties in underwear can’t be any cuter!

  7. Sarah-Anne

    oh yes, the supsense is killing me. for serious.
    also…have you seen the blues clues poop song? youtube it; it’s flippin hilarious.

  8. Kate

    Seriously! Elmo was a BIG hit on our house too. And he worked! That monster is amazing. The DVD is now ‘visiting’ the third friends’ house. He’s making the rounds!

  9. Tonya

    Two kids and Elmo both times and it worked! ♪♫ Accidents Happen ♪♫ My 4 year old even asked to watch it again not too long ago when she saw our neighbor watching it on a playdate.

  10. Elizabeth M.

    I LOVE the picture on the potty with his cute little crocs on but no pants :) Congratulations on potty training.

  11. Elaine

    :”go with the flow” – ha ha ha! Elmo and his Dad are such rock stars! Love that you’re having success. Hope it continues!

  12. Michael

    Haven’t heard or thought about the Elmo potty video in a while! We used to play that for our oldest daughter all the time in the car, with the hopes that it would some how spark an interest in sitting on the potty to go. Not sure it ever did…but we eventually got her trained…


Leave a Reply to Elizabeth M.

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>