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Pull-Up’s or Not - That’s the Big Question

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

This question comes up over and over again: “Should I use pull-up’s during potty training?”
Here is the deal: Pull-up’s are very convenient – and they will delay potty training for most kids. It makes perfect sense: Pull-up’s are so absorbent that your child doesn’t feel the wetness. It “feels dry”, so why would your toddler want to use the bathroom? It’s really nothing but a diaper that is easy to take on and off, and it gives you the (false) impression that your child is progressing in potty training.
I know, I know, the commercials advertise that it trains your child to pull something on and off that looks like underwear. And it makes sense. But underwear feels wet; pull-up’s don’t.
Instead of using pull-up’s, I recommend you go straight into using underwear during the day. Use the padded training underwear such as the ones by Luvable Friends. They catch quite a bit of pee, unlike regular undies, while also letting your child clearly know that it is high time to get to the toilet.
Get a dozen or two and be prepared to wash frequently in the beginning, but it will save you a ton of time and money in the long run compared to pull-up’s.
I completely understand that it may seem more convenient for you as a parent to use the pull-up’s because it is less of a mess. Let me offer you a paradigm shift: celebrate the mess you may encounter in the beginning, because the more mess you have, the faster your child will be potty trained.
It won’t take your child long to catch on that wet or dirty underwear is uncomfortable, and sooner than you think you will be on your way to a diaper/pull-up free household.
The only times I consider pull-up’s a good alternative are during long car rides when you may not have easy access to a toilet, and during the first few weeks of night-time potty training. However, for the night, you can even consider using training underwear and cover it up with plastic pants, such as Gerber’s waterproof training pants.
Otherwise decide to hang in there with padded underwear. It is well worth the brief time of inconvenience – and with the money you are saving, enjoy a nice latte and buy a good book for yourself – after all, you deserve it :).

Make it a great day!

Marion Solis

P.S.: For more info on the use of pull-up’s versus real underwear, and many other great tips, tricks and insights about potty training your child, check out The Ultimate Potty Training Guide.

Celebrate To Speed Up Potty Training!

Thursday, September 24th, 2009



I am totally thrilled about the visual makeover of my website and blog. I had the great pleasure to work with Teevee Aguirre ( to create a brand new look for my site that really reflects how I feel about potty training.


Can you see the excitement of this little boy in the banner, how he looks so proud and happy to be in “big kid’s underwear”? Can you imagine how your child will soon, too, say “woohoo, I’m wearing underwear”?


It’s up to us as parents to create the fun, supportive environment that allows our kids to get excited about their accomplishments. Make potty training fun! Celebrate together, get silly, do whatever it takes to make this an enjoyable experience for all of you.


I recently attended the “Guerilla Business School”, and one of the presenters said “We don’t nearly celebrate enough anymore today.” I think he’s right. So how about we – you and I – change that?


Let’s show our kids that there are tons of reasons to celebrate every day. Show them the picture of the little boy on this website, tell them that they will be this excited very soon, too. Throw your arms in the air right along with them and say “woohoo, you are wearing underwear”!


From a physiological point of view, there is something powerful going on in our bodies when we engage like this. It helps lock in the experience and the learning.

So use that to your advantage, play full out when you celebrate, just like the boy in the picture! Sooner than you might think, your child, too, will say good-bye to diapers for good and be tickled to wear underwear.


By the way, keep an eye out for changes on my website I will soon have a whole new layout – the banner on the top is just the beginning… and yes, there will be pictures of girls, too!


To you and your child celebrating together,


Marion Solis 




P.S.: If you or someone you know needs a great graphic designer, I highly recommend Teevee ( He is creative, great at what he does, and fun to work with – go check out his website!




Hero Helps with Night Time Potty Training!

Thursday, September 10th, 2009



Did you know that you child’s hero or favorite character (from a book, movie, TV show etc.) can help her stay dry at night? And it’s easy!


During the time when Julian learned to wake up at night to go potty, he loved the show “Dora the Explorer™“. So I started telling him: “If you need to go pee-pee tonight, Dora will wake you up so that you can go pee-pee in the potty.”
When I started this, I had no idea if this was going to work. But with my background as a personal growth coach, I knew that it’s possible to give one’s brain specific instructions, so I figured I might as well try.
The first few times when Julian woke up at night and needed to pee, I said: “Oh great, Dora woke you up so you can go pee-pee in the potty!” That way he (or better said, his brain) connected the fact that he woke up to pee with the statement that Dora woke him up. I repeated that statement several times while he was going potty at night.
Every evening before he went to sleep, I reminded him that Dora would wake him up if he needed to go pee-pee.
Just a few nights later, he woke up at night and told me he needed to go pee and that Dora woke him up so he could go in the potty!
Since I started using this, he had hardly any night time accidents.
And here is something funny: If he doesn’t want to go pee before he goes to sleep, he still today sometimes says “I don’t need to go pee, Dora will wake me up.”
You can actually start using this technique even if your child still wears diapers or pull-ups at night. The goal is that her diaper/pull-up stays dry and that she wakes up to pee in the potty at night. That way when you switch to underwear, she’s ready to go.
And if you are not sure which character would work best for your child, simply ask him: “If your favorite hero/character/person/doll/stuffed animal would help you wake up at night so you can go pee-pee in the potty, who would that be?” And let him tell you.
This may or may not work as fast for you as it did for us, but stick with it, be consistent, and soon the soaked sheets will be a story of the past!
To your good night’s sleep,

Marion Solis


P.S.: For many more ideas on how to make nighttime potty training easy, read pages 42-45 in “The Ultimate Potty Training Guide”.
P.P.S.: Dora the Explorer ™ is a registered trademark of Nickelodeon and Viacom

Regression In Potty Training - Part 2

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009


Last time we discussed possible reasons for regression during toilet training. Now let’s cover some helpful ideas what you can do to get your child back on track in a gentle way.


Here is the Cliff Note version:

 “Be patient, and love you child no matter what!”


Potty training is an important developmental step, and if your child is regressing, it can be incredibly frustrating - to both of you!

Rule #1: Be patient; this is just a phase, really! If you show your frustration, or worse, get out right angry with your child, matters will only get worse. More than likely, he already feels bad enough as it is.

Think about it: when you make a mistake, what works better for you: someone yelling at you, rolling their eyes because you messed up, or someone who is loving, patient and explains to you what you did wrong and how you can do it right next time?

See, it is the same for grown ups as it is for our little ones. Nobody responds well to criticism. Instead, be the kind, understanding parent your child needs right now.

In most cases there is a pretty feasible reason for his regression and putting your foot down will not help. Instead, look at the regression as a natural development your child is going through. Keep encouraging him to use the potty, and absolutely do NOT make him feel guilty.

If your child has been using underwear for a little while, I recommend you do not go back to diapers or pull-ups. That’s just going to wear on her self-esteem, and it conveys the message that she doesn’t need to try. Explain that you will help her by asking from time to time if she needs to go. That way she is prepared for your gentle prodding, and she’ll be glad to know you are there for her.

Remember: You are a TEAM, you are on the same side; make sure she knows that.

Every time she uses the potty, acknowledge her and cheer her on to keep it up. Consider going back to a rewards system, if that worked for you previously. And most of all: be patient.

You, as a parent, should be the biggest source of encouragement to your child. Be supportive and loving, and know that regression is usually short lived. Soon your child will go back to using the potty, and now he will also have experienced that you love and support him even when he messes up – and that lesson will be more meaningful than you may be able to imagine.

 I know it’s not always easy to be the loving parent we aspire to be - just to the best you can, and everything else will fall into place.


Cheering YOU on, too,

Marion Solis

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Regression In Potty Training – Part 1

Friday, July 10th, 2009


You are so excited your child has been using the potty reliably for a while, and quite frankly, you probably thought you were done. And then this: one accident after the next after the next….and you ask yourself “What in the world happened? Do I need to start all over again?”

The answer is: most likely not. Truth be told, regression is absolutely normal. I distinctly remember Julian having been “dry and clean” for months, and then suddenly he wet his pants at least once a day.

Try to find out the cause behind the regression. It may not be obvious, or you may not directly connect it to the potty accidents. The first thing is to simply ask your child. He just may tell you – as long as he feels safe with you, so make sure you are loving, patient and understanding.


Here are some possible reasons for regression – see if any of these apply:

  • Did you move recently?
  • Have you changed daycare or started her in a new program?
  • Have you had a new baby?
  • Did you separate from your partner or do you have a new partner?
  • Did anything traumatic happen in your family?
  • Is something exciting coming up that she may be looking forward to?


If you can pinpoint the reason, address it with your child so that she feels you understand her.

In the next post, I will share helpful ideas how to get back on track – so check back soon and hang in there :)!



Marion Solis


P.S.: For an extensive discussion about regression and the solutions, check out "The Ultimate Potty Training Guide" at


A Parent’s Role in Potty Training

Friday, June 26th, 2009



Of course you know that it is your responsibility as a parent to show your child how to use the potty, how to know when to go, what to do when she has an accident ….and while those are all true, it is essential that you remember this:

For you as the parent, potty training is about learning how to help and support your child in her quest for independence.

Think about it: Potty training goes way beyond “staying dry”, going to the bathroom in time, recognizing the feeling of needing to go. It really is a gigantic step in your child’s independence. Up until now, she relied on you to keep her clean, to change her diapers. Now she is learning that she can take care of her needs on her own, and this is HUGE.

First and foremost, remember that you are on your child’s side. This is not a fight to see if he will do as you tell him. This is not “him against me” (although sometimes is may feel that way, especially with a very resistant child J). He is learning a new skill, and he absolutely needs you to help him, so be there for him, with lots of love and patience. It’s imperative that you choose to support him so that his self-esteem can soar.

The real job during potty training lays with you – not your child.  When you foster a supportive environment and couple that with lots of praise and encouragement, you will have a child who is eager to go on the potty and will train easily in the long run, even if you hit some bumps in the road along the way.


Sending you lots of love and patience,


Marion Solis

Prepare Your Child For Potty Training

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Whether or not your child is ready for potty training right now, there are a number of different activities you can naturally incorporate into your daily lives to introduce the concept. If you have read my story, you know that Julian went to the potty way before he showed any “readiness signs”.

Here are some things you can do:

  1. Take them to the bathroom with you and let them watch while you “do your business”. Making simple statements such as “mommy is going pee-pee in the toilet” explains the process and satisfies their natural curiosity. Casually mention “very soon you will go pee-pee in the potty, too, just like mommy and daddy”.
        To some parents, this is the most obvious suggestion, but others are very much concerned about their privacy and are horrified by the idea that their child would watch and start asking questions.
        If you consider yourself to be in the “I need my privacy” category, think about it this way: you have the opportunity to give your child the gift of growing up with the feeling that going to the bathroom is completely natural and that the elimination process is absolutely normal. You may not have been raised that way, but you can step outside your comfort zone and allow your child to feel okay about her body. 
  2. Read potty books with them or watch potty videos (there is a list of resources in the Ultimate Potty Training Guide and also in the resources listed below).
  3. Comment on signs you notice, such as your child’s pausing in play or walking as if she is uncomfortable after elimination. Use statements such as, "You are going poop," rather than asking the general question, "What are you doing?" 
  4. Here is a tip I got from Ingrid Bauer’s book "Diaper Free", which is really aimed towards infants, but it worked awesome for our son Julian when we first tried it at 13 months: Most kids make a grunting sound when they poop. Imitate their sounds while they are doing their business. When they go pee, make a sound like "ssss". Then when it is later time to go on the real potty, you can use these sounds as a cue for them to go - it worked like a charm for Julian.

These are just some things you can start doing today, and they will make potty training much easier when the time comes.

See, you can start today!

Best to you,

Marion Solis



The Potty Training Product Resource Guide (FREEEEE!)

Ingrid Bauer:
Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene
This is not a potty training book for toddlers, but if you are curious how to get around the entire diaper affair from the get-go, check it out!