Potty-Training Series: Part 2/3

Potty Training Series:

How to Potty Train & tips:

potty training boys

When it comes to potty training, there are several approaches you can take, it’s really just deciding what will work best for you and your family. There are certainly some tips and tricks that will make it easier. Here are the tips/tricks I have had success with as a mommy and as a preschool teacher with potty training.

First off, read part 1 of my 3-part potty training series to make sure your child is ready and how to prep them. You should not be potty training because they need it to start preschool, or because you are tired of changing diapers, or because a new baby is coming. Believe me, those are all great motivators to you as a parent, to try and help your child in the process, but first and foremost, you should only be attempting potty training if your child is ready. To assess their readiness, please read part 1 of this series.

If you have taken the necessary steps of assessing their readiness & followed the steps of prepping them, then move on to my potty training approach:

My 3 to 5-day Potty Training Approach: I would suggest looking on the calendar and figuring out when you have at least 3 to 5 days to dedicate to potty training and nothing but potty training. Long holiday weekends work wonderfully for this! Make sure it is not close to any other major changes; weaning paci, introducing a new baby, moving etc. I would suggest having your child wear a dress or long shirt and nothing else. No pants, shorts, or undies. It is helpful for them to FEEL what is happening to their body when they eliminate. If you have carpets...I would suggest buying a few packs of doggie peeing pads and placing them throughout the house to save your carpets. Do not tell your child they are peeing mats, just say you are using them to keep the floor clean.  Explain to your child they will be playing a fun potty game every time the timer goes off. Explain the rules, the timer goes off, we run over to the potty and sit. Set the timer again for 5 minutes. While your child is sitting on the potty, explain they will sit until the timer goes off. When it does, they will go over to the potty chart you made (make sure potty chart is placed on the wall at their eye level) and they will put a sticker on it. They will also receive a small reward for trying. I always liked gummies or dried fruit. One piece served as a good motivator, but you will know what will motivate your child. To occupy your child’s time on the potty, read stories, listen to stories on CD, sing songs, watch potty training videos etc. anything to keep them motivated. During this time, periodically remind them to try and pee pee.

Repeat this step every 15 minutes. If they eliminated, you can stretch it to 20-30 minutes. You will be able to play around with the time once you are keeping track of when they go. But as a general rule, stick to the 15-minute mark.

When they use the potty, make a big deal! Potty dance, singing, clapping, praising etc. It is exciting, and they should be proud of themselves. If they have an accident, make sure they know it is OK. You are not mad. They are learning a new skill. Have them participate in cleaning up (as necessary). Keep the talk light, encouraging and positive. A lot of this is prepping YOURSELF to handle it. Know that it will be messy and tiring. Keep your sighs and disappointment to yourself. The more you encourage your child, the better it will be. The last thing you want to do is create an environment that causes them stress and anxiety, it will only backfire in their potty training accomplishments.


1.    Once you start potty training, do not stop! At least not because you have a trip planned or your too busy, or you decided you’re not ready to handle it. This is very confusing for your child. The most important part of potty training is being consistent.

2.    If your child starts to show a lot of anxiety or stress and you realize he or she is actually not ready, stop. Do not bring it up at all for a few weeks. Then start with the prepping steps again. Modeling with toys etc. See how they respond to that. If they are responding well, then begin to talk to them about how they will start soon. Keep talk light, positive and encouraging.

3.    Do not buy regular underwear, they do not contain ANY liquid. The best undies are the toddler potty training underwear. They have a thicker cotton pad that runs from front to back and look and feel like regular underwear. These will contain much of the liquid. Keep pull-ups for bedtimes/naptimes and long outings. Explain to them that they are a silly type of underwear for those special occasions. When your child wakes up from their nap or for the day, immediately take them to the potty and put their regular underwear back on. Try to avoid having them soil the pull-up. When they discover they can pee in it, it makes it confusing for them, so avoid them as much as possible or keep them for very short and specific uses.

4.    Keep a travel potty chair in your trunk. This is such a lifesaver! We still use ours ALL the time. When you attempt to leave the house for the first time after potty training, make sure they try (do not ASK if they have to go, simply say, we are leaving, and we are going to TRY to use the potty. If they say they don’t have to go, say that’s OK, we are just going to TRY. If nothing comes out, no big deal, but we always try). If they do, great, you know you have a few minutes until they will have to go again. If they did not go, when you arrive at your location, either have them use the car potty or have them use the public restroom wherever you are going. Keep in mind, you don’t want to create bad habits of using the car potty over a regular restroom. So, incorporate both. If we were going to a place that had a clean restroom, like a restaurant or a store, I would opt for that. If we were going to a place where the restroom was dirty, like a park, I would use the car potty.

5.    You can also buy a travel potty seat to keep in your purse or diaper bag for public restrooms. I never bought one and managed just fine, however; I have talked to several parents who have found them helpful.

6.    Remind them to use the potty! It is up to you to remind them. It takes them a while until they can do this sufficiently on their own. Not only that, but they will also get preoccupied with play and wait too long. Keep track of when they have gone. When it’s been a while, take them potty.

There you have it! What tricks work well for you? How is potty training going? What issues are you having specifically?

Just remember, this is only a moment in time. A phase. It will end, and you and your child will conquer it together. You are doing an amazing job, mama!

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