Surviving Potty Training

There are two things about parenting that I truly dread. One is sleep training. The other is potty training. Now, I haven’t necessarily had a terrible experience with either. When it comes to potty training, there was a failed attempt with my oldest, but on our second attempt, he just clicked immediately. My second potty trained herself. My third was easily potty trained in a few days with little to no fuss. My fourth has had a failed attempt and we are gearing up to do it for good–she has been warned.


I think it is the unknown that I hate about these processes. You don’t know how long it will take. You don’t know the best way to go about it. You don’t know how hard to push the child and when to call it and wait for later. 


You also put a lot of mental and emotional energy into these processes and even an easy process can leave you drained. 


So I wanted to know, how do you survive potty training? Here are the responses.



  • Humor: Tiffany said, “Keep a sense of humor about it.”
  • Malinda said: “Don’t stress! Your child will pick up on it and it will be so much worse!”



  • Jennifer said: “There is not one right way to potty train! Make sure to choose a method you can live with. I think it’s actually more important for the method to fit the parent than fit the child. We started with one method and it was awful. It’s premise is that they will learn through having accidents… Well I couldn’t stand the accidents! smile emoticon we ended up using your method. I would much rather take my child to the bathroom at consistent intervals then deal with messy floors/couches/bed. Two very important things – 1. It’s ok to start then stop. If they aren’t getting it after a few days it’s probably too early. 2. Tackle daytime first, then nap. Nights are a whole different ballgame. I initially thought we would be doing everything at once. Not only was that not realistic it was more stressful too! Potty training works when everyone is relaxed and positive!”
  • Heather said: “Just starting pt a few days ago. (Going great!) I suggest reading lots of potty books before the big day of ditching diapers. And don’t force sitting on the potty. I read about two methods.. One where you have regular bathroom breaks. Other one you just say over and over “let mommy know when you need to go potty”. The latter won in our house. When I made him sit to “try” there were just tears and no pee. But he would respond well to “let me know when you need to go potty””
  • Elisa said: “Remember what Babywise says about the bladder. Their little bladder has got to be ready in order for potty training to be a success. I have been paying attention to my sons diapers and know that his bladder is getting close. I don’t plan on starting until I feel good about that development.”
  • Tiffany said: “We have been doing the 3 day potty training Queens method. It has worked pretty well for us. The only issue was that i broke the rules and started making her sit even if she didn’t want to. In return, she would go with ease for my husband and not for me. Today I decided to never make her sit, unless she wanted. It’s gone so much better. No accidents! So basically try not to make them sit unless their willing.”
  • Amy said: “ I would do half day in underwear and then rest of day in diaper. There was no confusion plus it was less stress for parent and child. Plus I always focused on staying dry versus peeing on potty and I took my sons to bathroom at certain times.”
  • Rachel said: “Tried and true: No Pants while training. Bare bottom. There’s a LOT to be said for them seeing what happens and making a visual and sensory connection when an accident does occur. I have a girl so it’s not quite as exciting as letting a boy run around sans pants. I think I’d recommend loose shorts or (if you can ignore stereo types) a skirt to help contain the inevitable spray factor. “
  • Rachel also said: “Also – treats/prizes MUST be exciting and a true reward. Food doesn’t always work. My 2 year old daughter was fully trained in 3-4 days but we had no success with food treats. Bubble parties (we blew bubbles for a few minutes after a successful trip to the potty), beaded necklaces worked for her. To up the excitement factor for going #2 on the potty we used and tea cups and plates and other tea party toys. Talk about motivation! She got one piece each time she pooped on the potty so a set lasted for quite a while.And mommas – you MUST stay positive and get SUPER excited when they have any measure of success (no matter how small). They will pick up on the faintest hint of doubt in your mind and it will make the entire process almost impossible. If your child is ready and interested – they CAN and WILL be successful. It might not happen exactly as you had imagined or hoped but hang in there! You really do have to be more pumped up and excited about the process because you truly must have enough excitement and positivity for both of you. grin emoticon Pop in movies or books that make you giggle so you can bounce back from any feelings of discouragement. Good luck ladies! You’ll get there!”
  • Lisa said: “Years ago, I saw the “Dr. Phil Method” of potty training on his show, and used it with five of my six children (girls and boys; my youngest is almost six months). It worked very well with all of them because they each were truly ready (between two and three years). I highly recommend it.”
  • Tara said: “we let him lead. we introduced the potty. we sat him on it once and loaded him up with water. once he figured out what it was for he did it on his own over time. we also left him bare bottomed once he showed interest.”
  • Nina said: “You being consistent. Potty breaks every hour or half. Reward potty in the toilet and teach them it’s all normal and ok, sometimes they get scared or weirded out by the process”
  • Shaundra said: “Three day potty training system works so well!”
  • Macaria said: “In my experience, don’t try to train until they are physically ready and don’t use pull ups. Let them run around without pants for a few days and accept there will be accidents. If you pay attention you can usually divert accidents to the potty without too much mess. Give a good reward for success and even better reward for poop:)”
  • Malinda said: “”Oh Crap! Potty Training” is a great resource. I just pt my 2yo daughter (birthday is today) in 2 weeks with very few accidents. She’s even dry at night!!”
  • Sarah said: “After doing it now, I’m all for the gradual method. Start sitting the child on the potty once a day for a while and go from there. Made it way less dramatic. We’d tried earlier to go cold turkey, and it wasn’t so successful, so we dialed back. Now she’s 2 1/2 and in panties except for nighttime!”
  • Ali said: “We did naked potty training on a long weekend when both my husband and I were home. It worked like a charm. Now my son is usually commando at home so that it is easier for him to do it all on his own, but when we are out and about an for bed he wears a pull-up. I think he caught on fast, but the most important thing for us was to not get worked up about it, we tried to stay laid back and relaxed as much as possible.”
  • Natalie said: “My best advice is just I wait until they are ready! So many people try to push potty training so early (mainly because a lot of activities, MDO…etc require children to be potty trained by a certain age) and ended up with months and months of accidents to clean up, emergency bathroom trips out in public, and a lot of frustration. It’s hard to feel like your kid is the last to do something, but in the end it was SO MUCH EASIER. Potty training was a breeze for us–very few accidents, and was “done” in about 2 days, even for night and naptime! We haven’t looked back since!:
  • Sarah said: “My three-year-old had a lot of accidents in underwear (and still does) but was immediately almost perfect when commando. I think it feels like a diaper so he forgets to use the potty when wearing them. My advice is to not be afraid to break with conventions, and give commando a try if you think it will help (just be sure to warn the grandparents!).”
  • Amy said: “My genius mother-in-law gave me a vinyl tablecloth to use as a floor mat those first few days when accidents are inevitable. We had play time on the mat, and my daughter thought it was a fun game. I could carry it from room to room and not feel chained to the kitchen which would be my only easy cleanup room. It worked brilliantly!”

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  • Rachel said: “ pull ups suck i wouldn’t recommend them just go cold turkey into unders”
  • Heather said: “I would say go all in with the underwear all the time. We tried pull ups for naps and at night, and nearly pulled our hair out. Once we bought a ton of cheap underwear, and just went all in, it finally clicked.”
  • Diana said: “what worked for my son is buying a doll that pees, teach them to give baby a bottle, and then make it pee on the toilet, and clap and hoorah, then they will want to do it. I was skeptical when i read it, but it worked for my boy!”
  • Jennifer said: ” Sesame Street – Elmo’s Potty Time video is awesome before and during while you are sitting on the potty for long periods of time”
  • Rachel said: “I was also able to find a Potty Time with Elmo book that had push button sounds. Found it at Staples of all places while I happened to be looking for something completely different. They had just the book but there was also a potty-training doll pack as well. I was lucky enough to have a large Elmo doll already so we put a pull-up on Elmo AND read his book with him when we started training. smile emoticonWorked great!”

Potty Training Posts:

See these other surviving posts:

Surviving Eczema


Surviving Allergies


Surviving 45 Minute Naps


Surviving Colic


Surviving Witching Hour



Surviving Traveling


Surviving Ear Infections


Surviving Teething
Surviving Sunburns
Surviving Bad Weather
Surviving Bed Rest
Surviving Colds


Surviving Diaper Rash

2 thoughts on “Surviving Potty Training”

  1. Are there any mommas out there that are doing Babywise and elimination communication? I'd be interested in how it worked for you, and how you balanced going to the potty and naps/sleeping at night. My little one is 6 weeks old new, and we've been doing EC since about 5 days old, and Babywise/Baby Whisperer since about 2 weeks old. We've definitely seen a lot of benefits to both, but I'm having some issues with him fussing from needing to potty again after going down for a nap (we always give him a potty opportunity right before his nap unless he's asleep, then sometimes I won't wake him). Sometimes, if he was asleep when it was time for naptime and I didn't get a chance to potty him right before his nap (usually when we are out, not at home), he'll wake up 15-20 minutes into his nap fussy because he has to pee. Then sometimes he's hard to settle back down to his nap (other times he calms right down after he goes, and gets right back to sleep). On the other hand, if I wake him from his sleep to potty, then he's hard to settle down again- especially at night time feedings. I'm thinking that this won't be as bug if an issue when he's a bit older and has a larger bladder capacity, so I probably just need to wait it out, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask other mommas who have been there and done that!

  2. This is a great resource! We are doing slow and steady, and so much of this advice is great ☺ Thanks for compiling it!


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