Everything I’ve Learned From Potty-Training My Four Kids

September is a big month for the Shyba family, and this year is no exception. All of the kids besides baby Demi have started school, with Jack in 5th, Zoe in 4th, Beau in Kindergarten and Evangeline began attending preschool. Though we were already on the track to practicing using the potty, Evvie’s preschool does not allow children in diapers, so there was a hard date by which she was to be completely toilet trained.

Of all the major early milestones in a child’s life, learning how to listen to their body in a way that requires them to also want to use a toilet rather than a diaper is such a major stage. It always completely amazes and impresses me how quickly the transition ultimately happens, though the process itself can be long and grueling. My boys were both fairly challenging to potty train, and while my girls seem to be more eager for the independence, our experience with Evvie has been unique. She is incredibly determined, precocious and independent; and never more so than when she’s making decisions for herself and her body. The control that she exhibits when communicating with us about her routine and various stages of her day is astounding, even to me. As the fourth child, one of three daughters, Evvie is not about to go unnoticed or unaccounted for.


Based on research and observation of personality types in young children, and child development expert Dr. Heather Wittenberg identified five potty training personalities: the Puppy, the Owl, the Bear Cub, the Turtle and the Squirrel.


  • Puppy: seeks to please, ready and willing to potty train, tends to have regular habits
  • Owl: careful, meticulous, motivated to follow directions, wants to learn rules, responds well to clear expectations
  • Bear Cub: busy with toys, friends and food, has too much fun to worry about cleanliness
  • Turtle: nervous and resistant to anything new, shy, persistent, creative and loyal
  • Squirrel: driven and on the go, highly energetic and easily distracted, gets lost in play and forgets to potty


Based on Dr. Wittenberg’s assessment, my boys are all turtles, Zoe was an owl and Evvie is a cross between a turtle and a squirrel. Though they are such different children, the relationship that I’ve developed with them through this training process has been incredibly important for all of us, and I am certainly grateful for any and all tools I can find to help us both through it.


With each child, we used Pull-Ups, which rank among the most effective methods for potty training. They help teach potty training skills – physical, cognitive and emotional – and they enable parents and children to work together towards a common goal. Pull-Ups are all about providing parents and kids with tips and advice to help make potty training easy and fun, plus lots of tools specifically designed to keep children engaged throughout the journey. In fact, 3 of 4 moms prefer Pull-Ups®!* We also recently discovered that you can give your child’s favorite characters a call on Pull-Ups.com. Evvie loves Minnie Mouse and it’s so cool, you can get your child excited about training and keep them engaged by receiving a call from one of their favorite characters. This is a great tool to keep potty training fun and exciting!


Evvie is now used to using the toilet during her waking hours, but we use the Pull-Ups Night Time Training Pants when she sleeps, though she almost always wakes up dry lately. As a parent, I appreciate any and all tools to help guide us both during the potty training period, and can confidently say that we made it through the rigors unscathed.

Join the Conversation

No Comments
Follow @mommasgonecity on Instagram