Potty Training - what worked for us in less than a week

I'd say Olivia is 99% potty trained and it happened fairly quickly. I didn't use any specific method but rather a mix of different tips. Here's what worked for us and what didn't.

+ To start I bought undies for her with her favorite characters on them: Minnie, Frozen, and Elmo to get her excited to wear these. We also had pull ups on hand but we really don't use them often. She was excited to see them but not so much wear them initially. One difficult morning I heard her screaming at Rich and him struggling to get her to put her underwear on. I intervened and got to her level, gave her a hug and asked why she didn't want to wear them. Turns out she wanted the Elmo pair, NOT the Minnie pair for that day. She happily put them on after that. I let her be in charge of which pair she wears for the day.

+ Pull ups are used only when she goes to Grandma's or a long car trip. At my reluctance.

+ Day 1 there were quite a few accidents and I asked her almost every 20 minutes if she needed to use the potty. I would check her occasionally and praise her and say "yay! You're dry!" Keep everything positive.
When she had an accident I was never mad. I would hold her wet underwear up and be sad that they weren't dry anymore. I think this is what tipped her off and didn't want to disappoint. Again, never ever scold! Keep everything happy and praising. When accidents happen, it's FINE. Children love to please their parents even if it doesn't always seem like it so cheer and shout and dance when they use the potty.

+ She started making an effort to get to the potty and when the time came that she went in the potty & keeping her undies dry she got a dum dum! Well once that happened she was hooked.
+ She learned very quickly that if she went potty she got a dumdum, if she went #2 she got a new coloring book. Of course this many sweets and treats isn't healthy or affordable so after a bit I'd distract her pleas for candy with "Good job Livi! Let's watch Minions because you did so good! Would you like some water in your princess cup???"  OR "Let's listen to Uptown Funk!" (her favorite song ever.) That did the trick and after about a week she forgot about the candy and coloring books and listened to what her body was telling her knowing it's just something she did now - no diapers.
+ I still kept asking if she needed to go potty and she would answer honestly. She finally got to the point (after a day or two) where she had zero accidents and would let me know immediately when she had to potty!
+ There were a couple nights that she woke up at 3am, walked into my room, stood by my bedside and whispered "Mama, I go potty please". We'd dash off to the bathroom and she'd potty! I walked her back to bed and she woke up dry.
+We're on about night 6 or 7 in a row without an accident either in the day OR night.
+ Going out to eat or during errands is a challenge because she doesn't like sitting on big toilets. I bought a little seat we can carry around but she prefers her Elmo potty. During these days we bring along an extra pair of underwear and pants because I don't want to use pull ups as a crutch. I have heard of a great trick to put the pull ups on OVER the undies because they will still feel that uncomfortable wetness but I haven't done it yet.

+ In the first few days there were days when she would ask for a diaper. I simply said "No honey, you don't use those anymore. Those are for babies and you're a big girl now, right?" This usually pleased her. I did scold Rich a few times when I would be out of the house and he would comply with her requests and slap a pampers on her for his sake.
- Be ready to do a LOT of laundry. Have lots of towels and rags on hand for the inevitable accidents. They happen. A lot. And that's NORMAL.
- Offer lots of water and juice throughout the day to bring on more potties.
- Offer stickers as rewards if too much candy for a toddler makes you nervous. I know what my kid loves and what would work so yes, she OD'd a tad on suckers.
- Be ready to be there 100% next to your kid to read their cues. I know how lucky I am that I can be around my kids day to day. I wish I had tips for daycare places but honestly, daycares will probably know a whole lot more than I do about potty training.


  1. This was a great post!! I agree, keep it positive. when my 3 year old potty trained, he got a jelly bean for every #1 and a bigger treat for a #2. Yeah, it's not the most healthy... but whatever. it's a small span of time. The treats really worked for us too, and the character underwear. My son is also very picky about whether the day calls for Olaf or Ninja Turtles. :-)

    1. Hah! I love letting them be in charge of these important decisions for the day.


SMD Favorites