Mary-ed Life

Thoughts on love, marriage, children, and random trivia.

Potty Play by Play: Part One – Before the Beginning


Call me ambitious. (Ambitious!) Call me crazy. (Crazy!) Call me what you like, but my daughter is nineteen months old and I’m ready to start potty training.

It’s not that I have anything against changing diapers. They honestly don’t bother me. I use cloth diapers, so expense is not a problem either. Really, potty training comes down to readiness, and Ariana is showing some of the signs of readiness. So why not give it a shot? Anyway, I decided to keep a record of my experience so that other mothers can learn from my successes and failures, both of which I’m sure I’ll have plenty.

So where exactly do I begin? Here’s what I’ve put into practice so far:


Currently, Ariana can say words like Mama, Dada, ball, book, meow (cat), all done, etc. She has not yet learned to say words for parts of her body or for what comes out of it. So, I’m working to teach her these words. I’m also trying to teach her to verbalize when she needs her diaper changed.


I checked out Once Upon a Potty For Her (DVD) from the library. It is an adorable animated version of the popular book Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel. It also features live action shots of toddlers that are my daughter’s age sitting on, dancing around, and playing with a potty while a catchy “Potty Song” plays in the background. I played the DVD for Ariana and she loved it. She really enjoyed watching the cartoon and dancing to the music. Now, when I do decide to buy her a potty, it won’t be a completely foreign object.


Most people know by now that I use cloth diapers. Of their many benefits, early potty training is often listed. This is truest of the old fashioned cotton diapers versus the more modern “stay-dry” cloth diapers. I personally prefer old fashioned cotton prefolds, but have used a fleece liner with them since Ariana started eating solid foods. Fleece liners make cleaning up easier, but also take away a lot of the wet feeling. Now that I’m starting potty training, I’ve taken away the fleece liners. Ariana is wearing only cotton prefolds next to her skin, allowing her to feel wetness and hopefully teaching her to associate it with the need to go.

So what is working?

Taking out the fleece liners has definitely made a difference in Ariana’s awareness. The other day, I was in her room getting something out of her closet. When I went to leave again and called for her to follow me, she refused to leave. Instead, she stood by her changing table. I asked if she was wet, and she gave an affirmative “Dah.” So I changed her and we went on with the day.

So what is kind of working?

I’m pretty sure Ariana has no clue what Once Upon a Potty For Her is about. Still, the main character, Prudence, has no idea what her potty is either. That’s all part of the story. I do believe the DVD explains things very well and on a child’s level, so I’m planning to go out and buy myself a copy after I return this one to the library.

What’s not working?

Ariana doesn’t seem interesting in repeating the words I try to teach her. She’s more interested in playing with the dog (also called “meow”), or playing with her toys, or discovering new way to assert her independence. So I’ll keep repeating without being pushy and hopefully she’ll come around.


Author: maryedlife

I'm a neurotic stay-at-home-mom, formerly a middle school English teacher, trying to survive parenthood. I am married to a soldier, Dale, and we have two daughters, Ariana and Lorien.

2 thoughts on “Potty Play by Play: Part One – Before the Beginning

  1. Fantastic and good for you! I think the principles of elimination communication will help your process. A baby sign for potty/toilet might be of use to you, too.

    • Thank you very much for your comment! I have taught my daughter to sign a few things. I’m not sure I know the sign for potty. I’ll have to look it up. I have a friend who does EC with her children and reading her blog has helped me a great deal when looking for “cues.” I’ve also started taking note of my daughter’s body schedule and I’m planning on using that definitely.

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