How To Get Your Little One To Pee or Poop on the Potty

Use this one simple tip to help your little one pee or poop on the potty. Make the whole potty training process easier. It is easy and very effective!

Potty Training image

It seems many, if not most, children end up struggling with one aspect or another when potty training. They either have a hard time learning to pee on the potty or learning to poop on the potty.

For my older two children, the struggle was with the pooping on the potty.

The thing that ended up working to get Kaitlyn to poop on the potty was the same thing that worked with Brayden, too.

Brayden and Kaitlyn are two different people, and I learned very quickly after Kaitlyn was born that they are often opposites in every way.

They have always gotten along really well, but what worked for one doesn’t usually work for the other.

Because of that, I hadn’t tried this tip with Kaitlyn even though it worked well with Brayden.

Since it worked so well for both of them, my guess is it would be useful for almost any child.

Read all about my method for potty training here

Get Your Little One To Pee or Poop on the Potty

Ready for this super secret? It is really simple.

Give fair warning.

It goes something like this:

Mom: You are getting to be a big boy/girl now. It is time for you to stop pooping in a diaper and start pooping in a potty.

Child: Oh (or some other response that makes you sure the child isn’t really grasping what you are saying)

Mom: In ____weeks (whatever time you want. I would do 2-4 weeks), you are going to start wearing underwear for _____ (naps, day, night…whatever you are shooting for). That will be after _____(insert event here. With Brayden, I used his birthday. With Kaitlyn, I used Valentines Day).

Read: 5 Things To Do Before You Start Potty Training

Over the next couple of weeks, remind your child often of the upcoming event.

When the day comes, follow through. Put on the underwear.

Stick with it.

There you have it. That is my amazing tip.


It did for my children.


It worked because it gave them time to think about it.

“Okay. I am not going to poop in diapers. I am going to poop in the potty.”

They have time to process that.

They then have time to think about the process when they poop/pee. How does it work? What are the cues?

Of course, your child must be old enough to understand what is going on. for this tip to work.

Brayden was three and Kaitlyn was 2.5. Keep that in mind.

Potty Training Tip Pinnable Image


With Brayden, I was changing his diaper one day in early May and just decided I was done with diapers. I told him when he was three he wasn’t going to wear them anymore.

The morning of his birthday, he woke up, went over to his drawer, and pulled out some underwear.

I was nervous because his birthday party was that day and I didn’t want lots of accidents, but I had laid down the law and he was complying so we ran with it.

He had a couple of accidents in the morning, but then never looked back so far as pee goes. After a couple of weeks, he had pooping down, too.

Read: 5 Tips to Make Potty Training a Little Easier

Kaitlyn was a bit different, of course. She went to pee trained around 18 months old.

She was always great with it, but had a hard time pooping in the potty.

She asked me to teach her how, and try as I might, it just isn’t something you can teach.

Each day, we put her in a diaper for naps and that is where she pooped.

After trying lots of things, I decided to give the fair warning like I did with Brayden. I gave her two weeks warning.

Valentine’s Day came and no more diapers for nap. She did awesome! No accidents and she pooped in the potty!

At nap time, I put her little potty in her room and she called me after she pooped.

By the next Saturday, she went to the bathroom to poop all on her own.

With McKenna, I didn’t give fair warning. I just asked her one day if she wanted to be potty trained, she said yes, and we went for it.

I would say as a third child, she had thought about potty training before I asked her. She always wanted to be just like her siblings. She is also a very even-keeled personality and goes with the flow well. You can read about her potty training process here.

With Brinley, I completely forgot I had a deadline to potty train her, and only gave her a few days of warning before we started and it still worked great for her. You can read more about it here.


This is an excellent tip to help your little one be mentally prepared for potty training.

It doesn’t mean there won’t be accidents. Accidents are normal. There is also a chance you will have set backs in the future. It seems to happen.

But it will help your child out to be able to plan and process the situation before starting it.

How to get your little one to use the potty pinnable image


This post originally appeared on this blog in February 2010

12 thoughts on “How To Get Your Little One To Pee or Poop on the Potty”

  1. What perfect timing, as usual! We just switched to undies for Tobias and it's going alright but we're not perfect yet. I told him after we moved to the new house there would be no more diapers during the day. I don't know how much he understood, but mostly I was just giving myself a pep talk anyway 🙂 So once things settled down and we had a basic routine I just started putting the little booger on the potty. I've been doing what John Rosemond suggests and putting it in his control. I do not sit with him at all. I put him on the potty, tell him to call me when he pee-pees and leave the room. I check back every 1-2 minutes until he says "yay!", then I know he's peed, lol! I always check because sometimes he isn't totally telling the true, he just wants to get down. It seems to be working okay, we had 4 accidents and 3 peeing successes on the potty today. He's still pooping during naptimes though, which makes that part difficult to train for. What would you suggest doing about pooping during the nap? My current instinct is to wait until his 2nd birthday and then use this method to say no more pooping in the diaper. But I'm not sure if that would cause his nap to be disrupted?

  2. This is a great tip! We just started potty training round 2 today (we tried a year ago, but Jasalyn was just not ready). We are doing the 3 day potty training. It didn't work the first time, but it has worked for all my friends and so far, it is working for us, of course it's only a couple hours in. I can't remember who wrote this book, but if you just google 3 day potty training, you would probably find it. Basically, you go right to underwear on day 1 and never look back and just keep repeating to them every few minutes "Let me know when you have to go potty" so they are in control of letting you know and learning what it feels like to have to go. You "throw away" all their diapers that morning. There is more to it in the book. Just wanted to let everyone know since it sounds similar to what you did 🙂

  3. My son is almost 4. He's been potty trained for over a year now, but only while awake. He still wears pullups for naps sometimes and always at night- which are wet in the am 98% of the time. Any suggestions for nighttime dryness? Should I use the same method you describe in your post? I know nighttime dryness is more developmental (bladder size, etc) and can take longer. Thanks.

  4. We did the exact same thing… we put the potty out for him to see and get used to and talked it up for weeks. The night before "the big day" we had him throw all his diapers away (of course we had kept them just in case, lol) and talked about how exciting tomorrow would be and he'd get to wear special big boy undies, etc. When he woke up it was the first thing he talked about. We followed the Potty Training 123 (Babywise) method and he was trained in one day. I know that not everyone is that lucky, but the talking it up really really helped. We did the same thing with the transition to a 'big boy bed.' I think laying out your expectations ahead of time and letting them think on them and get used to hearing about them really helps.

  5. Amanda, I think for now, I would stick with the diapers for nap and address it at his second birthday. I think it is wise to listen to instinct, and you always have a good one, so I would trust it 🙂

  6. mtmommy,I wouldn't even think about nighttime until you have naps down.One thing to consider is if he is dry when you wake him up in the morning. With the time change (if you do it) it would be a great time to check this out. If he is totally dry when he wakes in the morning, I think you could put him in underwear for night. If not, then he isn't physically ready.

  7. I just wanted to say that we tried this technique, and it worked for our three year old girl! She had been going back and forth with potty training probably since she was two. A month before her birthday, every time we changed her diaper, we said, "When you turn three you will be a big girl and get to wear big girl underwear and go potty in the toilet!" It's been a month now, and we have yet to have an accident during the day! So thank you for sharing!!

  8. My son just turned 2 and is aware after he poops. I usually know its coming & today asked if he wanted to poo poo on potty. He shook his head "no". We havent started potty training but I've been testing the waters with him a little. He always seems to peepee as soon as I put him in bathtub in the evenings, so last night I turned the bath water on, took his diaper off & at him on the big potty…peepee he did! He doesnt seem scared & I let him watch me peepee so he'll understand a little. I definately don't see how you could teach a child to "let it go"! 😉 I figure I will just to peepee on the potty for quite a few months more! My mom keeps telling me its time to train him so I'm feeling a bit anxious about it. I'm truly dreading it b/c I know it's a lot of work & my OCD husband will not be fond of "accidents"! So as the mom who has to clean up those accidents I'm just truly dreading it. I was thinking of using the "put them in regular underwear method" and go with it. They have the plastic underwear that go over underwear to catch peepee so that there is less to clean up. Did you use these Val with either of your kids that have potty trained yet? Carter just turned 2 last month! I was thinking he should be near 3yrs old before I try to potty train him. Thoughts? Thanks!~LaChelle

  9. LaChelle, I never used plastic underwear but I don't think it is a bad idea at all. One thing, our parents had a lot of pressure to potty train at an early age–it was how they did it. So I think on that side, you probably can potty train a child at any age. But I personally think it makes the most sense to wait until the child is fully ready rather than forcing your own time table on the child. Good luck!


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