Before I had kids, the thought of changing dirty diapers was one of the most intimidating things about parenthood. You see in all those movies about parents doing rock-paper-scissors to see who would change the disgusting diaper.
But then I became a mom, and changing diapers became an everyday routine. After years of poop explosions and even bath time poops (yep, one of my sons loved doing number two in the bath), I am now a pro. I’m pretty sure I can even change diapers with my eyes closed.
As I saw other mom friends starting to potty train their children, the thought getting my son to stop using (previously intimidating) diapers seemed super daunting.
So as I do, I started researching various methods of potty training. And the amount of resources available is actually quite overwhelming. This book is very highly rated, and I’ve seen it referenced a lot during all my research. But I didn’t necessarily want to buy a book and also spend the time reading a whole book about it.
So after watching numerous videos on YouTube, reading through several blogs, and observing what some of my mom friends had done, I kind of combined several things and ended up with this method. It has worked really well with my son.
Before I get into the details, I do want to start by saying that I am not a professional by any means. I’m just sharing what I did with my son. But obviously every child is different. What worked for me and my son might not work for you and your child.
I do hope that you can try this method with your child, or at the very least take away some helpful tips as you embark on this incredible adventure (AKA potty training)!
**This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.
Make Sure Your Child is Ready
I started potty training my son when he was 2.5 years old (exactly 2 years and 6 months). He had been showing interest for several months prior to this. And I honestly think I could have tried earlier, but we were going through major life changes (moving across the country), and I personally didn’t want to deal with potty training during that.
Looking back though, I think 2.5 years was the perfect time for my son. He had been wanting to sit on the toilet, and had tried it a couple time before out of curiosity. And he was capable of communicating with me.
Simply put, I would look for these signs:
- If he or she can communicate
- If he or she has been showing interest in the potty, or has been showing signs that they can “hold it” for a couple hours (if their diaper is dry for a couple hours)
Children are very intuitive, and they totally know if you are unsure or scared of something. So before you start the process, make sure that you know that this is the right time.
I know that this can be daunting, but be confident in yourself and your child!
Before we officially started potty training, I bought a children’s book about potty training. My son was really into Elmo at the time, so he loved reading it, and it was an introduction to potty training.
We borrowed this one from the library and my son thought it was hilarious.
Here are some other popular books for toddlers about potty training:
Speaking of Daniel Tiger, we also watched the episode about potty training, and we sang the song a LOT. “If you have to go potty, STOP, and go right away!”
Make it Special, Exciting, and Relatable
As we read these books and watched shows, I tried to make it as fun and exciting as possible. We talked about how he’s becoming a big boy, and it’s so cool to use the potty. We also talked about older friends, and how they use the potty already.
Choose a Day and Actually Start Potty Training!
Ok so now you’re done with all the prep work and ready to actually start potty training! Choose a few days that work for you. COMMIT and follow through.
I was super nervous to start, but I kept reminding myself of the diaper expenses we would be saving, and that made me take the plunge.
Also, discuss with your child the night before, that starting from tomorrow we are going to potty train. So that they also know what’s coming, instead of just springing it on them.
The Special Reveal: Just the Right Size!
Whatever day you decide, start first thing in the morning. I had this toddler potty set up in his bathroom, and when I first showed it to him, it was a big deal. My son kept saying, “It’s the perfect size for me!” It also makes flushing noises so my son loved it.
I also had another potty ring so he had two options.
I like that this one comes with a little hook for the side of the toilet, so you can hang it up when it’s not being used.
For this method, you are going to need to stay home for a few days. This method took two days for my son to get down, but I would say that you will probably want to stay home for at least three days.
Nothing on From Waist Down
For most of the first day, I had my son only wear a shirt, and not wear anything from the waist down. He didn’t wear any pants or underwear or pull-ups. This is to make it really easy for them to go use the potty, and also if they wear underwear, it can make them think that they’re wearing a diaper, thus making it easier to have “accidents”.
I was planning on doing no bottoms for the whole day, but my son HATED the feeling of not wearing anything. So by late afternoon, I let him wear big boy underwear.
Set a Timer
During the first day, I set the timer for 15 minutes. Every 15 minutes, whether or not he feels like he has to go, he would sit on the potty.
Lots of Fluids
In order to get him to use the potty more often, I also gave him lots of fluids. I gave him more water than normal, and also juice boxes.
Positive reinforcement work well with lots of children. You can choose whatever would work best for your child. Some kids love stickers, but I tried a sticker chart with my son in the past and it didn’t work as well for us.
Since I don’t give him sweets normally, this was a really exciting treat for him, and really got him eager to go potty when the timer went off.
Even with all the attempts, it came out to him having one bag of fruit gummies and one lollipop during one day. Plus the lollipops are sugar free and are good for his teeth. So I didn’t feel guilty about giving it to him.
I did this for the first 2-3 days, and the days after that, I stopped giving him any treats unless he brought it up.
Celebrate Every “Success”
Going along with positive reinforcement, make it a whole celebration when they have a “success”. Give them a high five and whoooo!
“Accidents” Can Happen
Whenever my son had an accident, I tried my best not to make him feel embarrassed or any negativity. I told him that accidents can happen. But also asked him, “Where do we go pee?” “In the potty!” And we would sing the Daniel Tiger potty song again.
I read somewhere, that while we don’t want to make our child feel embarrassed, we should also be careful not to say “It’s okay” when there’s an accident. This is because the child may think it really is okay to keep having accidents.
Keep a Record
Every time he had a “success” I would write it down, and I would also make note of when he had an “accident”. That way you get an idea of how many times he goes in a day, although it is a little different from normal since you are giving him more to drink.
During the first day of potty training, my son had 4 accidents and 9 successes! Most of the accidents were during the morning. Also, he had his first successful number 2 in the potty that afternoon. It was the tiniest thing ever, but it was still a success!
By the second day, I started out by setting a timer, but spaced it out longer. And my son started telling me when he would have to go, and he didn’t have any accidents!
Give Them Privacy or NOT
By the second day, my son also wanted privacy when he was using the potty. He would ask me to leave, and let me know when he was done.
I’m sure some kids would prefer to have you by their side–so just follow their lead.
When You Go Out
As I mentioned earlier, I suggest staying home at least for the first 3 days. This is to stay consistent and give time for your child to get used to this life change. But obviously at some point, you will need to go out (after this quarantine, that is).
I would suggest trying to make your first few excursions shorter and somewhere close by. I would go to a nearby park or the library. And then maybe try the grocery store or the mall.
Just in case of accidents, make sure to always have some extra clothes in the car. It’s not fun having to drive home with your kid soaked in his own urine. Speaking from experience here.
Before we leave the house, we always get our son to use the potty. We try to minimize public restroom endeavors, but inevitably, there will be times when they have to go potty when we’re out.
Always make sure to know where the restrooms are located.
We’ve never used a portable potty seat, but I know many moms love them, and this one has great reviews.
Although my son was technically potty-trained within 2 days, a few months afterwards, he did go through a short period of regression. For about 10 days, he would leak and have minor accidents.
It was very frustrating to me. I was so confused as to why he was suddenly doing this. I’m no therapist, but I think he was processing some feelings of jealousy toward his younger brother.
My husband and I worked on giving him more attention, and we also decided to implement the rewards system with the treats again. After a couple days of this, he was back to no accidents.
Grace, Grace, and More Grace
There will probably be accidents from time to time. There will be times, when you can’t find the restroom in time when you’re out. There will be regressions.
You are not alone. Give yourself grace. Give your child grace. You will get through this.
Also, here is a list of Low-Prep Screen-Free Activities for Toddlers have been keeping me sane these days.
It’s been 9 months since my son was potty trained. He used the Summer My Size Potty for about 3 months after potty training, and then he decided that he was ready to to use the big potty. Currently, he stands on a step stool to do number one. And he uses the Fisher Price Potty Ring when he goes number two.
We still have not done night-time potty training, so my son still wears pull-ups before going to bed at night. But I am seeing signs of him being ready. There are mornings when he wakes up with a dry diaper.
But I will keep you updated on that, and I’ll make sure to dedicate a post on night-time potty training soon.
Thanks for Reading!
Let me know if you try this 2-Day Potty Training Method, and if it worked for you and your child! At the very least, I hope you were able to still take parts of it and adjust it to work for your family!
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