Potty Training: There is More Than One Right Method

There is is more than one right method to potty training. Find the one method that will work best for your child and go with that.

Mom with her child on a potty chair

On the surface, it appears that most people understand and believe that there is no “one” right way to potty train.

That means there is no wrong way to potty train.

More than one way to reach this ultimate goal.

“Since potty training itself is a non-moral activity, (it is a skill) it has no right or wrong value associated with it.”

(On Becoming Toddlerwise page 116).

But what about when difficulty creeps up?

Toddlerwise talks about three different approaches to potty training. One method takes 1-3 days. One takes 2-4 weeks. The final takes 4-6 months.

I think it is pretty easy to predict that most parents want to go for the first or second option. Potty training for 4-6 months does not sound enjoyable! But some might like the relaxed approach.

So you pick one. Say you pick method one, which is called Progressive Potty Training.

Now say your child doesn’t respond to that. Things don’g work over time and let’s say you end up on the 4-6 month path.

Child potty training

You Are Not a Failure

Now is when the freaking out starts to happen. This is the moment moms say, “What did I do wrong? Am I a terrible mother? What is wrong with me?”

Hold on! Take a breath! Let’s step back and review.

“Since potty training itself is a non-moral activity, (it is a skill) it has no right or wrong value associated with it” (On Becoming Toddlerwise page 116).

If this is a non-moral activity, then there is nothing wrong with you or your child if your ideal method doesn’t work out.

Sure, you probably misjudged. But that doesn’t mean you are a bad mom or that your child is doomed for failure throughout life.

There is no way you can know for sure which potty training method your child will best respond to.

And there are, of course, hundreds more ways to potty train beyond what is outlined in Toddlerwise.

Brayden and Kaitlyn were both potty trained in very, very different methods. Time has yet to reveal how McKenna will be potty trained.

Potty Training is an Amoral Activity

So while I know that potty training is stressful and that it is a huge milestone, try to relax.

I know, it is a big deal, especially as your child approaches age three. You start to feel the pressure.

But remember: amoral, amoral, amoral.

This has nothing to do with the character of your child. Take a deep breath and press forward.

“Since potty training itself is a non-moral activity, (it is a skill) it has no right or wrong value associated with it” (On Becoming Toddlerwise page 116).

Find the Best Method for Your Child

This also tells us we can use any method we choose to.

Do some thinking and research and figure out what you think is best for your child. You know him better than anyone.

Talk to moms about their methods. Find out what worked and what didn’t. You can even blend methods together as you see fit.

Choose a method that meshes well with your own personality circumstance. A progressive approach requires your full attention for a few days. Can you do that time-wise? Can you do that sanity-wise? If not, don’t choose that approach.

It also might not work out for you if you have other children you need to take care of. If that is the case, it is wise to choose a method that will be less intense.

Best of luck to you on this journey!

Related Posts

Mom with daughter while potty training

6 thoughts on “Potty Training: There is More Than One Right Method”

  1. Hi ValerieI have a 2 year old girl who refuses to acknowledge that the potty even exists. I get the feeling she loves being a baby, which is great because I'm not sure if I'll have anymore children. My problem is that my first child was potty trained at 18 months, I know is early but she was wiling (and I know I shouldn't compare) and my second child is soooo not interested and I'm (a little) worried. Could there be a physical issue or is it just stubbornness or is she just not ready? I'm feeling a bit frustrated but I'm not the type to loose my cool with the child.

  2. Hello Valerie! This reminder of what Toddlerwise says about potty training does make me feel a little better. 🙂 However, I still would like to hear your opinion on my situation. (Don't we all!) My son turned 3 in January. When he turned 2, I had researched everything about potty training that I could and tried to start him a week later. He was excited but obviously not ready. I started again back in Sept (when he was about 2.75 years). I was one of those who thought, "There is NO WAY I'm going to do this using the 4-6 month method." And now, here I am, 5 months into it…and struggling. My son has been very compliant from the beginning, peeing, pooping, doing it all in the potty. He loved the idea of treats and stickers. He has always pretty much been on board with it all. The problem is, I have never once heard the words, "Mommy, I have to go potty." He goes all of the time on the potty b/c I either take him myself or tell him to go, since we have a pretty specific schedule with it. But he also has accidents often b/c I truly feel like he still cannot tell when he needs to go. And he is so laid-back that it doesn't really bother him to sit in wet underwear. He just tells me he's wet and then goes and changes into new ones. I've tried both types of discipline…the stern, mad kind and the sweet, almost begging kind. Ha! Neither really makes much of a difference to him…I guess b/c of that sweet-boy, laid-back personality. Maybe he's not ready yet, even though he is a month over 3 now, but I definitely don't think this is one of those situations where I should put him back into diapers. I feel like he's already so used to going on the potty now…he just doesn't know when to go and how to be independent with it. Any suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! 🙂

  3. Hi Valerie! Just making sure you saw that I commented on this post on Feb 1st. I think I've had other comments that you weren't notified of so maybe I am doing this wrong. ? Anyway, hope you see this. Thanks! 🙂

  4. Mama2arl, I would try the "no underwear" approach for a few days at least. That will hopefully get him used to the feeling that he needs to pee and that he needs to get to the bathroom. I think most kids have success with no underwear. Good luck!


Leave a Comment