Potty Training from the Trenches

Potty training. *Wince* *Cringe* *Close my eyes and pretend it’s over* That’s what I really want to do when it comes to potty training, but I can’t really do that. So, here we go. Today I’m hoping just to give you some tips about what has helped with my boys, and offer a little encouragement along the way. I’m right there with you, potty training my second son right now. So, let’s do this!

WARNING: Throughout this post there will be words like “potty” and “poopy.” Deal with it.


1. Every child is different.
By now if you have more than one child, you know this. Consider for a minute though, that if your children are different than chances are they will respond to differently to different methods of potty training (and discipline, for that matter).

Noah, our firstborn, is much like me in that he likes systems and schedules. He likes thing a certain way: THE ONLY WAY. Each toy belongs to its coordinating bin. We have our weekly routine and we should always stick to it. The way I chose to potty train Noah worked great for him: I set a timer for every 20 minutes and he would sit on his little potty (with me right next to him cheering him on) and he got a sticker every time he went (a BIG sticker for a poopy). After about a week I didn’t need a timer anymore, but he still got stickers for one more week. After about 3 weeks he was completely potty trained.

Now, my Timmy, on the other hand is more like his daddy: a free spirit. He doesn’t care which toy is in what bin. He doesn’t care what our schedule is, he just wants to have fun. I tried to potty train him multiple times the same way I did with Noah and I failed miserably every time. Do you know when he decided to potty train? When I was in California! LoL By the time I got back to Texas he would just tell me when he needed to go. He never used a little potty. He never needed stickers or a timer. He just needed his own time and his own way.

2. There may be setbacks.
We both of our boys we had small setbacks. When we were potty training Noah, he had to go to the hospital for a crazy stomach bug. So he was in diapers a couple of days during that time. This past week while Tim was dealing with a stomach bug he was in diapers too. If something like this happens, it’s not the end of the world. They don’t forget how to go in the potty. Just pick up where you left off. Life goes on.

3. It’s not a matter of if accidents will happen, but when they will happen.
Be prepared for accidents. I like to have some underwear and shorts in the diaper bag or car just in case something happens when we are out. I started keeping wipes in various places around the house to easily clean up any messes. I have found that I am much less stressed if I know all this is in place.

4. Grace.
Ok, now this one is a tough one. Potty training comes easily for some kids, not so easily for others. I know it can get frustrating and it’s time consuming. I remember when I was potty training Noah thinking it was easier when he was in diapers. BUT your efforts will pay off. In a short time they will be able to go potty on their own and not need you anymore. They will eventually be able to clean their own bottom. It will happen before kindergarten. So for this short time, remember to have grace for your little one during this learning process. I’m right there with you, cheering you on.

Now when you’re cheering your cute little toddler on, and saying, “You can do this!” just tell yourself the same thing, You can do this!

Ok, fellow parents and grandparents, what potty training tips do you have to share?