Alyson Hannigan Reveals Her Craziest Potty-Training Moment

The How I Met Your Mother and American Reunion star dishes to The Bump's deputy editor, Elena Donovan Mauer.
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Updated March 2, 2017
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You just finished potty training your daughter, Satyana. I need your advice — I have to have my son potty-trained by September for preschool! How do I get it together that fast?

Well, that’s actually perfect, because now you can just pick a date and start. My daughter showed interest in potty training one day when she saw me go to the bathroom. So I put her on the potty to try; after that, she would occasionally go — and we’d make a huge deal of it! But we never actually committed to a start date, so there wasn’t any progress. Once I actually picked a day and knew that I’d be taking her to the potty every 20 minutes, it made it so much easier. She’s doing fantastic now.

You also want to make it fun. Pick a song and do the “Potty Dance” — you can even have a potty dance party and invite friends. Make it fun and it will get your child excited for the whole process.

Did you have any wild or crazy moments during potty training?

We had a mishap in Atlanta while I was shooting American Reunion. We were at a grocery store, so we were out of our usual environment, in a new city, and her dad had to go back to California for work, so things were different. She said, “Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom,” so I took her. I have to say that this was the cleanest bathroom I’ve ever seen in a grocery store. But when she saw the toilet, she said, “I don’t want to use that potty.” I think it’s because those automatic toilets sometimes flush while you’re on them, and they can be a little scary. (Now I know to put toilet paper over the sensor so it doesn’t flush!)

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So I was holding her on my hip and talking to her about why she didn’t want to go, and then — she peed all over both of us! I was standing there staring at this potty, soaking wet! So I went back to the car and put a Pull-Up on her. And I washed us both off. Luckily, it’s hot and humid in Atlanta, so we were dry quickly!

Oh no! I’m scared of leaving home while potty training. Was there something you brought with you in case of emergency?

When we first started, I had a to-go potty that was really great. It kind of looks like a lunch box, but it’s a potty. That way, if she had to, she could go as fast as possible. It was great and fantastic to have, but sometimes I’d forget to take it out with me to clean. If you leave pee in a potty overnight, it doesn’t make the car smell very good! But it was good to have in case she didn’t tell me in advance, so I didn’t have to panic that I wouldn’t find a restroom in time. As long as you remember to empty it, a to-go potty is very handy.

Do you use rewards, like stickers, for potty training?

We didn’t start with rewards. After the Atlanta incident, I resorted to giving her organic vitamin gummy bears as a potty treat when we were out of the house to encourage her to go. She likes those.

You’re pregnant now. How are you getting Satyana ready for the new baby?

She’s actually very excited. I just talk a lot about how fun it will be to be a big sister. When we’re out, I point out siblings who are having fun together and say things like, “Oh, look, that’s the big sister!” I’m really just focusing on the positive aspects of having a sibling. And she really is already excited.

Does she talk about the baby?

Yes! She’s so sweet and loves little kids and babies and is very nurturing. So I think it will be a smooth transition. She talks to my belly all the time and kisses it and hugs it. She says she wants to buy teddy bears for the baby.

Find out more about Pull-Ups and the Potty Dance at

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