Last Call

I’m discontinuing Diaper Telemetry in the near future. There are a bunch of reasons, but the biggest is that Trixie is getting better and better at using the potty. Recently there have been several times that we were able to put a ‘used’ diaper back on because it was completely dry. Therefore the diaper count no longer corresponds to bathroom habits, which undermines its previous usefulness.

I’ve also decided to leave a little bit of ambiguity in the system. I used to think it would be funny to know exactly how many diapers we went through, and ruthlessly exploit that number in the future. Trixie would grow tired of hearing “Because your mother and I changed [Total_Diaper_Count] diapers when you were a baby — that’s why it’s my turn to play PlayStation 5!”

However, I now think that Trixie might appreciate it if the final number is never nailed down. It’s true that we’ll know the minimum, but beyond that it will be anyone’s guess and not a numerical constant of the universe.

Additionally, right now I don’t have any plans to post Potty-training Telemetry. It’s my current opinion that potty-training is an art (and it seems to vary greatly by child.) We first introduced Trixie to a little, baby potty back at 10 months. Over the last 8 months, there have been tiny success stories followed by weeks/months of nothing. In short, progress has not been linear. Most of our success has been a function of correctly anticipating — without ever pushing the issue — when something might happen based on the diaper charts.

At this point Trixie still wears a diaper all the time. That’s a lesson we’ve learned about a dozen times, most recently a few weeks ago. I’m sure we’ll learn it again at some point. But she also uses the potty maybe 2 or 3 times a day. We’re almost at the point that she sometimes comes and gets us, instead of us having to ask.

When it goes well, she gets stickers — which she absolutely loves (although I think she might actually be happier if we just let her play unsupervised with the roll of toilet paper.) My new biggest fear is the look of awe and fascination in Trixie’s eyes as we flush the toilet and say bye-bye. I know I’m going to find my wallet or cell phone in there someday.

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18 Responses to Last Call

  1. Erin says:

    Good luck! I know after my niece started really “potty training” and had learned about the joys of flushing, she flushed the pizza money (which was out as they were waiting for the pizza delivery man to come with dinner). Opps. Luckily the pizza man had a good sense of humor and let them pay later that night! You better watch out!

  2. Marna says:

    Keep a close watch on anything that you don’t want to end up in the potty. My nephew a few years back put the digital camera that we had given my sister in the potty to see it go bye-bye. Thank goodness it was a really old one and the memory card wasn’t that expensive. Good luck on the potty training.

  3. haeshu says:

    so it must be true that girls mature more quickly… i am so jealous. eliot just turned three and still has no interest in the potty. he doesnt seem to have a problem with crawling under the kitchen table to fill his diaper, but if you even suggest the potty he gets really upset… at this point i wouldnt mind letting him flush some things down if it would do any good. i know there is all kinds of psychological issues with what happens during this time, so we are trying to be pretty laid back about it all. any advice?

  4. Rose says:


    I don’t have any kids myself, but I used to babysit for a set of 2 year old twins. When the kids discovered the potty and were interested in it, and after time the kids had a successful visit (including saying goodbye to the TP and flushing), the kids would get a M&M for their good deed in the bathroom.
    They also got to visit Target and pick out their own “big girl/big boy” underwear to wear once they got the hang of going the potty.

    Maybe you could try that with your kids.

  5. Steph says:

    I’m sure that everyone has a different experience with potty training but I’m not convinced that it’s an art at all. I was advised “to wait until she’s ready” and then my mother-in-law (of all people) said it would only take a few days. Sometime just after she turned two (the baby, not my m-in-law), she got interested. In less than a week she was wearing underpants. I wish you lots of luck. Trixie is a doll!

  6. Cary says:

    So before Diaper Telemetry is gone forever, I wanted to thank you for it. I discovered TTU when Trixie was 10 months old and had used 2000 diapers. I was pregnant at the time and wondered about the mountain of diapers we must have created with my first child, who was more than 3 and not potty trained. I immediately began researching cloth diapers and am happily washing them every day now for my nearly 6-month-old daughter.

    Incidentally, we are now paying close attention to the sleep chart archives from Trixie’s first few months, especially the eventual lengthening of the 38-minute nap.

  7. Leslie says:

    I’m in the same boat with haeshu — my daughter (almost 5) trained pretty easily years ago. My son (almost 3) has NO interest whatsoever in using the potty.

    I also think that part of this has to do with my hunch that girls develop faster than boys (physically) — my daughter’s small motor and large motor skills were more advanced than my son’s. I can’t imagine him having the coordination to undress himself and get on the potty!!!

  8. MeanMom says:

    all kids go at it differently. my son needed a kick in the pants to finally get serious about the potty, and he was almost 3.5 when it finally happened. my nephew, however, was lazy too. he was in pull ups until he was 5.

  9. John says:

    Colum’s fascination with the toilet began at the same time as his fascination with saying “bye bye” to everything, so he says “bye bye pee pee; bye bye poo poo; bye bye paper; bye bye water” every time we flush. It’s such a sweet-sounding mantra – he really sounds like he’ll miss the toilet’s contents terribly until he runs into them next time.

  10. SuzyQ says:

    As to Leslie’s point, it’s been my experience with my three kids (now 7, 5 and 4) that when they are able to undress themselves, like pull their own bottoms down and up, then you are going to have better luck at potty training. Another thing, pull-ups can be a deterrent to potty training, rather than a help. Just like diapers, they keep the wetness away from the kid’s skin. When the child doesn’t feel wet, they have no motivation to prevent it from happening again. When my kids were ready, we went to the thick cotton training pants during awake hours, and only used pull-ups for sleeping. Also, when they had an accident, I would have them take off their own bottoms and put on fresh ones. As a reward for good potty habits, we would make a trip to the store for the cute cartoon character underwear. When the potty habits weren’t so good, then we would take those away and go back to the training pants. All of my kids were trained (during the daytime at least) by three. You’ll find that night-time potty training is another challenge in and of itself. Good luck to you all!

  11. fred says:

    My mother says I didn’t have a fascination with flushing things when I was little, but my little brother most assuredly did, and although I’m eight years older, he got me into it when he was about two, and together we introduced an amazing variety of things into the Cleveland public water system. Watch out: Trixie might get Jen involved!

  12. FrumDad says:

    Oh NO WAY. You are totally not going to leave me hangin’ with the whole potty-training thing.

    I know Trixie’s not Rachel’s not Colum’s not Aiden’s not…

    But still. The Wife and I have NO IDEA how to go about this, and I’ve been coming off as a parenting *genius* by cribbing off TTU for other stuff. (MHW doesn’t read the site.)

    I’m raising my hand for a potty-training story or two.

    Think, at least, of the embarassment potential when Trixie brings home her fiance. How much better than naked baby pictures is the whole, “well, back in 2005 about 50,000 people read about the first day you went without diapers.” If the guy can handle it, it’s really love.


  13. n says:

    well as a medical assistant that worked for a pediatrician for almost 9 yrs i can only give this advice in potty training for boys……*if they arent potty trained by the time they are 5….dont worry their wives will take care of it*…that is the honest to goodness advice the doc gave frustrated mothers of little boys! I myself dont have potty stories as my babysitters took care of this for me with my girls..and they were both done in like 2-5 days……even dry thru the night!

  14. benmac says:

    FrumDad: Don’t worry — there’s going to be some wrap up stories, as well as ongoing progress. Just not hour-by-hour updates 🙂

  15. Genuine says:

    I had to fish a Barbie Mirror out alerady. I can remove and replace toilet and wax ring in 27.6 minutes!

  16. lori says:

    I, too, will miss Diaper Telemetry. But seriously Ben, you’ve got to wonder about all of us who are so fascinated by diapers! LOL

  17. kat says:

    Congrats on the almost fully potty trained status! That is exciting and great news for everyone involved. I did wonder how Trixie would feel about this site when she grows older…how she might react. Heh. 🙂

  18. Nina says:

    I don’t remember being facinated by flushing toilets but these comments remind me of those pee dolls, I use to make them drink yellow dyed water and sit them over the toilet over and over and over to watch the doll pee. It sounds so weird now but that was super fun when i was like 7 or 8. I even remember me and my friend missy on each side of the toilet with “baby alive” if anyone remembers that awesome doll! We dropped the baby in the toilet and argued over who should fish it out. EWWW TOILET WATER!! heeheehee. I like sharing weird childhood memories cuz I aint got no weird little kids to talk about yet.