Potty Training, Our Story! {Real Mom Tips}

Potty training Toilet training your little one can seem like a very daunting task. I remember feeling this before I started training my son when he was about two years old.

We bought a brand new potty chair, some cloth training pants, potty-training books and taught him signs to let us know when he needed to go. According to the books it all should have gone according to plan but it didn’t.

It was failry obvious that our son wasn’t ready to potty train at that particular time so I am glad we did not push him. We decided to wait a couple of months before trying potty training again.

For the second attempt we ditched the training pants and decided to go with a couple of days of full-time naked time potty training at home with no outings planned and no visitors; just us and his potty. I had read about that method before and it made a lot of sense to me so we decided to try it.

I also decided not to use rewards (like candy/treats) for each time he successfully used the toilet. I didn’t like the feeling of his training being bribery-induced and instead used a lot of verbal encouragement and positive re-inforcement. We tried to show excitement every time he went “pee-pee or poo-poo” in the potty and not making a big deal out of accidents. When accidents did occur we tried to get his help when cleaning the mess.

I imagined that during our first day of naked bum training there would be lots of floor messes to clean and I was mentally prepared for all the work. However by the end I was very happy see how quickly my son understood what was going on and started running to the bathroom to go in his potty instead of the floor. I still had to clean multiple accidents of course but it was gratifying to see that he truly was finally ready for this training and he was going in the potty more and more.

After three days of “full-time” naked potty training (he was still wearing trainings to bed) and with almost no accidents happening I decided to venture outside and have him wear his little boy underwear. It was a bit nerve wracking at first but I was prepared with a full-set of change clothes in case of an accident. I also made sure to bring our travel potty with us, especially when going to parks, playgrounds or places where washrooms were not conveniently located.

After switching to “big” boy underwear I packed all of our diapers and never went back to using them again. He has been potty trained for almost five months now and the entire process was definitively a lot easier than I ever imagined. I truly believe that it had to do with it being the right time and him being ready for the change.

I am definitively glad I waited and didn’t push him to train earlier. He is now fully potty-trained during the day and night time and he even tells me when he needs to go if he is in the pool or taking a bath. All without making his training a big source of stress for him or us.

Tips

  • I do believe that each child is very different and what works for one child many not work for the next. As a parent you know what works best for your own child and you have to trust and follow your intuition to find the best time and method to train your little one.
  • Toilet training shouldn’t be stressful for yourself or your child, explain the process to your little one, listen to what they have to say and give it some time if you believe it is too early, trust me, it is worth waiting if you are going to have a better experience at the end.
  • Encourage your little one and give him or her lots of positive re-enforcement when using the toilet successfully. Remember to NEVER punish your child for accidents, simply change his or her clothes or clean the mess right away (try to ask for their help with cleaning and move along).
  • Be consistent, once you are both ready and you decide to switch to not using diapers anymore put the diapers away. Asking your child to wear a diaper when going out while training at home will be confusing and slow down the training. Get a travel potty if needed and ensure that they can go when they ask to go. Here is the travel potty we have and love.

For those of you that have a potty trained child, do you have any other tips to share? What worked for you? What didn’t? Would love to hear from you!

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Angela V

Founder and Writer at One Smiley Monkey blog
Hi, my name is Angela and I am a Canadian mom living in Vancouver with my wonderful husband and two happy little boys. I am the founder and primary contributor behind One Smiley Monkey. Welcome to my blog!
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46 responses to “Potty Training, Our Story! {Real Mom Tips}”

  1. Karine — May 27, 2013 @ 6:45 am (#)

    Great, I actually heard about that method before but I was a little suspicious it would make the child have a lower esteem while training naked. But it’s good to have positive report of it, I will consider it.

    Reply

    • Angela V — May 27th, 2013 @ 8:09 pm

      That’s interesting you mentioned “lower esteem” while training naked. Why would you think that the child would experience those feelings?
      There is no shame with being naked and it shouldn’t be made to be a punishment or negative experience, instead a more natural gentler approach.

      Reply

      • Karine — May 28th, 2013 @ 7:41 am

        Yes, well someone I know someone who trained his child like that but outside the house in their back yard, and I guess the idea of ”lower esteem” was generated by me feeling empathy for him. It totally makes sense, the thing is I’d prefer my kid being inside the house, like you mentionned, instead of outside, like they did.

  2. Diana m. — May 27, 2013 @ 8:09 am (#)

    Thanks for the tips. Starting pottytraing very soon with our LO

    Reply

  3. Rachel N — May 27, 2013 @ 12:18 pm (#)

    I did the 3 day method with my oldest son when he was 22 months old. It worked GREAT. He successfully potty trained and we have never looked back. My middle son is now 23 months and I am going to try the 3 day method with him soon. I figure why not give it a try? If at the end of the 3 days they don’t get it then put them back in diapers, no big deal. I just need to find someone to take my oldest son for a couple days so I can concentrate on my 2 year old.

    Reply

  4. mrdisco — May 27, 2013 @ 1:01 pm (#)

    those are some good tips

    Reply

  5. kathy — May 27, 2013 @ 2:23 pm (#)

    What were the obvious signs that he was not ready the first time?
    I would wonder if it was more the method than child readiness. Training pants of any kind are a bad idea as a training tool in the initial days. If you had gone with the naked method or straight to thin underwear the first time you may have seen success the first go-around. I’ve been involved with potty training kids for years, my own and others. Usually the chosen method and parent readiness / commitment are the primary drivers of success. You’re lucky he didn’t rebel at the second attempt. Many families put the potty away and try again later, only to find the child now has the idea that potty training is optional and if they fight the potty, it will go away again. Different temperaments react differently. PTing then becomes a huge battleground for no reason, due to lack of commitment the first time.
    Glad you saw success the second time!

    Reply

    • Angela V — May 27th, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

      Hi Kathy,

      During our first try we used cloth training pants and then switched to underwear. He wasn’t able to hold his pee/poo long enough before reaching the potty. He was also getting distracted with play and actives and forgetting to use the potty. I don’t think we was physically or mentally ready at that point.

      It’s interesting to hear that some kids can become resistant once parents try a second time. As I said in the post each child is very different and whatever works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the next.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

  6. Judy C — May 28, 2013 @ 10:23 am (#)

    Great tips, hopefully they will come in handy!

    Reply

  7. Erika B — May 30, 2013 @ 8:53 am (#)

    Looke like it went fairly smooth!! Training my son was hard on all of us. I eventually just stuck him in underwear after trying pull ups and sticking him on the potty for minutes at a time. He continued to have accidents in the underwear which made me almost give up because he didn’t care, but after a few days he got the message. I didn’t bribe him, but I would give him stickers Everytime he pooped in the toilet because peeing in the toilet he did well, from the time he was 2.5. The pooping though took about a year later to perfect. Now I will be starting to potty train my daughter and I have faith that it will be easier and Quicker, as they always say girls train faster.

    Reply

  8. Heidi C. — June 1, 2013 @ 8:39 pm (#)

    In my line of work, I discuss potty training a lot. There are many different approaches to it and I would say that, unless they involve negative feedback, shame or disciplinary measures, any approach that you take to it that is right for your family is the way to go. Some kids get it right away; others take longer. Most kids don’t go to school without being trained, so don’t stress too much about it. Make it fun and natural!

    Reply

  9. Stephanie LaPlante — June 2, 2013 @ 9:12 am (#)

    I’ve never heard of that method before. Very clever.

    Reply

  10. paula huie — June 4, 2013 @ 6:57 am (#)

    Awesome post!! I started training my 18m old and he was doing well in the day time for a while (just at home) then stopped so i didn’t push him, he’s now almost 23 months old and I have started again, now that its summer we have been doing the naked days too. DH gets upset when there is an accident inside so i think DS reverts when he’s around lol but DS wakes up dry every morning.. so i bring him in with me and we both sit on the potty I’ve had success for 4 mornings in a row! it’s tough when they are in day care so this weekend I am going to use as some intensive days 🙂 thank you for the great tips!

    Reply

  11. valerie godin — June 5, 2013 @ 7:12 pm (#)

    Thanks for the tips.

    Reply

  12. Michelle F. — June 6, 2013 @ 7:48 pm (#)

    I will definately be trying this method when my LO is ready

    Reply

  13. Deb Dorrington — June 7, 2013 @ 4:02 pm (#)

    I trained all three of my children using this method and for two it worked wonderfully..my youngest son it was more difficult with him, I think I started when he was a few months to young but when I waited a bit longer he was on board..lol. Your tips are right on the money.

    Reply

  14. Maria Iemma — June 12, 2013 @ 8:23 am (#)

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience. My daughter has been trying to toilet train her 2 1/2 year old without much success. I will share this post with her.

    Reply

  15. Rhiannon — June 18, 2013 @ 11:45 am (#)

    Good tips! I’ve been “training” my 2 year old for a few months and it isn’t going well. We might take a break & try this instead.

    Reply

  16. Erika B — June 20, 2013 @ 8:06 am (#)

    I used stickers for when he #2’d , because after at least a few months, he still was having accidents. Potty training is definitely not my favourite thing to do lol

    Reply

  17. teresa mccluskey — June 26, 2013 @ 8:21 am (#)

    thank you for the amazing tips I have 2 little ones I am working on potty training!

    Reply

  18. Vesper — July 12, 2013 @ 8:26 am (#)

    So glad I,left all the child rearing in our family to my older sister – as she looks after babies and toddlers now maybe I should send this to her

    Reply

  19. Debbie Bashford — July 17, 2013 @ 8:20 am (#)

    will pass these tips along

    Reply

  20. sarah sar — July 23, 2013 @ 7:20 pm (#)

    I am actually dreading this with my LO and hoping I get an easy ride. One can hope! lol

    Reply

  21. ana — July 30, 2013 @ 9:03 pm (#)

    Thanks for the tip! oh dear, guess our time will come soon :S

    Reply

  22. Mike Gismondi — August 3, 2013 @ 10:04 pm (#)

    Interesting method… we’ll have to try it with our daughter!

    Reply

  23. Robin Wilson — August 26, 2013 @ 8:21 am (#)

    Since my son is an adult it has been a long time since the potty training days. But the memories are as fresh as if they were yesterday. I have not heard of this method but I think it is genius! I think that by the time a child is ready to potty train, they don’t like feeling messy any more than we like it. I was lucky. My son only had one poop in his training pants and that was it. I congrat you and your son for a job well done!

    Reply

  24. Alisha D — September 2, 2013 @ 7:43 am (#)

    We tried the Three Day potty training and it just didn’t work for us. It took a good 3 months for our son to become familiar with going to the potty. But now he is good to go. No pull up or anything.

    Reply

  25. Anna Vafadar — October 4, 2013 @ 10:13 pm (#)

    Our daughter potty trained herself… sounds crazy but she did, just following the example of and older friend, she woke up one morning and said “mommy pipi no diaper”… she went to the potty and I was astonished! Unfortunately it happened that we moved out of the province and she had a relapse… it took a week after we tried again, the switch of changing to regular underwear worked… she didn’t want to be dirty… she had few accidents though

    Reply

  26. amy lovell — October 7, 2013 @ 8:29 am (#)

    thanks for posting this!!!

    Reply

  27. amy lovell — October 16, 2013 @ 6:49 am (#)

    great tips! I have a friend who currently sturggling weith her almost three year old. I will have to let her read these tips!

    Reply

  28. Kayla Schmitke — November 25, 2013 @ 1:19 pm (#)

    Thanks for the great tips! Going to get my son a potty for Christmas this year and see if we can start trying to use it in the new year!

    Reply

  29. Tiffany Wilson — December 17, 2013 @ 11:54 am (#)

    This is how we potty trained our son 8 years ago and now we will be starting with our daughter in the new year too, if she is ready. 🙂

    Reply

  30. Laurie P — February 9, 2014 @ 7:25 am (#)

    I was a little lazy with potty training my boy. Someone once said to me “what’s the rush? Have you really ever seen a kid go to school NOT potty trained? It’ll happen eventually, relax.” So I did relax. When he was about 2.5, we tossed some cheerios in in the toilet and told him to aim and fire. That was that. As for the #2, he just figured it all out somehow.

    Reply

  31. Jon T — May 19, 2014 @ 7:28 am (#)

    Good to hear about everyone’s different experiences. Its coming up for us in the next 12 months or so, depending on when he is ready…

    Reply

  32. Darlene W — May 27, 2014 @ 3:25 pm (#)

    Potty training is trial and error with the emphasis on error

    Reply

  33. Michele W — June 3, 2014 @ 6:06 pm (#)

    Totally agree about knowing your child and following their lead. I’d like to start with my daughter soon, but I don’t think she quite “gets” it yet. The naked training definitely sounds like it would be worth a try; I’m always cleaning the floors anyway! Haha

    Reply

  34. Laurie P — June 22, 2014 @ 7:45 am (#)

    Going to be venturing into potty training again this summer. It went pretty smoothly with my boy years ago, fingers crossed my girl shows some interest. No hurry, no pressure, lots of praise…lets see what happens!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  35. Treen Goodwin — July 20, 2014 @ 8:53 am (#)

    awesome tips my grandson is training it is a task and a half , he’s not ready yet thanks for the tips i will pass them on to his Mom 🙂

    Reply

  36. DARLENE W — September 16, 2014 @ 5:51 pm (#)

    I love all the great designs on diapers these days. Trial and error that’s how it went for me

    Reply

  37. Elva Roberts — September 27, 2014 @ 3:04 pm (#)

    I’ve trained three boys, two of my one and my sister’s liittle one. I waited until my boys were three and the weather was warm. It did not take very long.
    My nephew was only two and it took much longer. I do not think he was ready. He was a very smart little boy but it took time and patience.

    Reply

  38. kathy+downey — October 25, 2014 @ 9:13 am (#)

    I so enjoyed reading these tips

    Reply

  39. kathy downey — February 25, 2015 @ 7:24 am (#)

    My boy was potty trained at 13 months,he loved using the potty

    Reply

  40. kathy downey — March 26, 2015 @ 8:57 am (#)

    Passing these tips to my friends,who is having a job of it

    Reply

  41. kathy downey — April 9, 2015 @ 1:34 pm (#)

    Thank you for the amazing tips.

    Reply

  42. kathy downey — May 7, 2015 @ 9:25 am (#)

    Thank you very much for sharing your story

    Reply

  43. kathy downey — March 4, 2016 @ 11:19 am (#)

    Being consistent was the most valuable tip

    Reply

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