Happy Tuesday, all!  Jonathan and I have been so proud of our little munchkin, who has basically mastered potty training at this point!  I knew I didn’t want to potty train a toddler much older than two, but I didn’t want to make it a fight either.  

We took a different approach to potty training, I think, than most parents do.  If you’re starting to imagine a day without diapers, then this post is for you.

Potty Training Tips and Tricks

Potty Training Tip 1: Introduce Concepts Slowly and as Early as Possible

My husband and I started introducing the idea of the potty when our daughter was around 16 months old.  As soon as she starting talking, we bough a cheap toddler potty.  She understood the concept and peed in it a few times.

Unfortunately, she was just not ready and the potty scared her – she would cry if we forced her to sit on it.  We put it aside for a month at a time, but not out of sight.  She used it as a toy and climbed on it, sat on it with books, and tossed it around.

A month later we’d try again, have a conversation about what it was for, she’d cry, and we’d put it away.

Readiness IS a Thing

Here’s the thing, though.  If you don’t introduce an alternative from the beginning, there won’t be any interest in learning.

Because we started talking about what a potty was for from a young age, Kenna started to consider alternatives to the diaper and she was able to connect the two as related.  I’m imagining that, in her head, the potty and the diaper were one and the same – she just got to choose which she used.

potty training

Potty Tip 2: Talk About Who Uses the Potty

Right around 23 months, Kenna started realizing the difference between herself and grown-ups.  She was now using phrases like “like mom” or “like dad”.  She was calling herself “big girl” and referring to her toys as “like Kenna” as they did things she would do.

At this point I started talking to her about how big people use the potty and not diapers!  She took to it extremely well.  I was beyond flabbergasted.

Our toddler suddenly made the decision to prefer the potty over her diaper, and that was it.

Potty Training Tip 3: Use Underwear During the Day

Part of me thinks that the marketing behind pull-ups is difficult in helping kids distinguish the difference between what they are leaving behind and what they are aiming for.  Make a complete 180 when starting potty training with your child; sure, there’ll be a mess, but the discomfort will propel your child’s success.  

Find underwear that your child will LOVE.  We ordered 20 pairs of these from Amazon (not affiliate links, I don’t do that here):

Aren’t those ADORABLE?  I’ve never been a fan of character clothing, I honestly think it’s tacky.  Maybe I’m just weird.
potty training

Potty Tip 4: Use Rewards

It seems so cheesy and lame to offer your kiddo a treat for putting waste in certain places, but its so effective.  There’s a reason positive reinforcement is such an effective tool in training and psychology – it works.

If you don’t want to use this tip, that’s fine – this is just what we did.  I swear by m&m candy; our daughter even got to choose what color she got each time.  We gave her one for pee, two for poop, and three if she did both at once.

Once she started holding her pee at night, we’d give her several in the morning when she woke up dry.

Potty Training Tip 5: Accidents WILL Happen

It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies around here for a week.  Kenna did have several accidents before she realized she could hold it.  We didn’t make a big deal about accidents, we just told her that it was a “bad choice” to pee in her underwear.  

Diapers were for eliminating, not underwear.  If she wanted to be big like Mom and Dad, she had to wear underwear, that was the bottom line.

Potty Tip 6: Night Training WILL Follow

Probably the biggest thing that surprised me in potty training was how suddenly Kenna started holding it at night.  The first week after we started having no accidents all day, she was waking up dry and asking to pee at night.

It was tough to discern that’s what she wanted at first; she’d wake up hysterical, almost like she’d had a terrible dream.  Eventually, I just started asking her if she needed to pee, and it appeared that this was the problem.

I think we all know how uncomfortable it is to have a full bladder while you’re trying to sleep or wake up, right?!

potty training

Above All, Take a Deep Breath

It’ll happen eventually.  Do you remember being pregnant for the first time?  It honestly felt like it would never end.

I remember my OB saying, don’t rush her, no one ever stayed pregnant forever.

Potty training is much like that.  The stress you show will directly impact your kiddo.  It’s better to let them figure things out on their own schedule – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t facilitate their learning by introducing concepts gently.


Hopefully this helps you and your family.  Looking for more mom-life posts?  Check out the topic tag for more!

Until next time,


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