What's the best approach to potty training?

Real Mom Problem

“My son is three-and-a-half. He hates the potty and I am not sure why. Any suggestions or words of encouragement? I just don't want to feel like a bad mom because my child isn't potty trained.”

by jen2774161 jen2774161

Quick Tips

  • 1. Be patient
  • 2. Praise often
  • 3. Avoid shaming or punishing your toddler for accidents
  • 4. If you choose a reward system, be consistent with it
  • 5. Don't push potty training -- If your toddler isn't ready, try again at a later time
  • 6. Remember that your toddler will eventually learn "Keep in mind somewhere between 3 and the high school prom they potty train." says CafeMom heartnhidin
  • 7. Research some of the more popular potty training methods to find one that works for your family

Real Mom Solutions

Potty training can be a pain for both mom and tot, but the rewards (no more changing diapers!) will be worth the work! Not sure when, where, or how to get started? You've come to the right place -- see how these moms of CafeMom handled potty training in their homes.

Start Early

  • pinkm143

    Start potty training from day 1! Well not day 1 but as soon as your child is walking. I don't mean have them use the potty, but when you are going, have the child in there with you and tell them what is going on. This helps so much. Also, start taking the poop and flushing it with a gentle reminder that big kids/moms/dads go poop and pee in the potty. This will help when their body is finally ready because they already know what goes on in there!

  • 2-point-doe

    Buy the potty chair early and put it in the bathroom so they are comfortable with it. We got ours for daughter's 1st birthday. We were potty trained by her second birthday.

  • TamikaJovan

    This worked for us. All our children have been potty trained FULLY before the age of 2. The youngest was potty trained at 12 months: As soon as our children could walk and because we did not want to have more than one child in diapers at a time, we started to potty train. After each bottle, we place the child on potty for about 10 minutes, break for 5 or 10 and repeat, until child goes. After the child goes we overly celebrate the accomplishment. This has to be done routinely. Our pediatrician did not believe us when we told him our 12 month old was potty trained, until one day we went to the clinic, and she said "Daddy pee pee!", and we took her to the restroom.

Let Your Toddler Take the Lead

  • tangleballlover

    I think the best way to go about it is to let the child lead the way. I was frustrated when my son hit 3 and wasn't trained. He's very bright and knew exactly when, why and how to use the potty, but he was very resistant and stubborn. One day while I was making lunch, he went pee, ran up and hollered "Mommy, I peed." I did stickers and a few M&Ms the first 2 weeks. Then he got to pick out a toy at the 2 week mark. He has never had an accident and he's used the potty ever since. So encourage, reward and let them lead the way.

  • bhwrn1

    Don't push them if they are not ready. Try, if it doesn't work, back off for a bit and try again. If you push, it will take longer and be harder on you both.

  • Photo6555

    When my daughter was 18 months old, she started showing interest in the potty, so I took her to the store and let her pick out a potty chair. I put it in the bathroom and just let her play with it. I would let her come into the bathroom with me. When she did, she would sit on her potty. Sometimes, she would go and other times she wouldn't. 6 months later we are still accident free.

Set a Schedule

  • mom2ellasophia

    Take your child every 30 minutes until they can start recognizing the feeling of needing to go. Then move to 45 minutes, then an hour, then ask them when they need to go. I potty trained my 23 month old in 9 days using this method.

  • ncstress

    My tip for potty training is to take a day or two and pay attention to your child's pee and poop schedule. Every time they pee/poop their diaper/pull up or undies mark the time. After a day or two you'll know more or less their body's schedule and you can work with that. I would take my boys about 5-10 minutes ahead of the marked time and wait about 10 minutes past and go back every 10 min until success.

Do Away with Diapers

  • freshsnowalaska

    I had her potty chair out in the living room with us. I am a stay at home mom so she was panty-less and diaper-less all day long, so when she had to go she wouldn't have to run all the way to the bathroom. She got comfortable with it enough to move the potty to the bathroom (her choice) then one day I noticed she had been going in to use the big potty, she got lots of praises and lots of little toys as a reward.

  • milenko_chick

    I potty trained my son in less then a week by just taking diapers away. There will be accidents but it's worth it.

  • bamababe1975

    For my own two, buying special panties with Tinkerbell or Disney Princesses on them was incentive enough to make them start trying. I let them run around naked during the day because I was a stay at home mom and we had hardwood floors throughout for easy cleanup. I only had to clean one wet mess the entire time I trained, though, and both girls trained at once since they're only 11mos apart.

  • GiasMom1970

    I was having a hard time training my 2 year old daughter to go potty. So one day I decided to just leave her all day around the house in panties as opposed to pull ups. Every hour I would ask her if she had to go. That got her more comfortable with the idea. I didn't use a potty chair. I used the seat that goes on top of the regular toilet with a step stool. That way she can get used to the "real" toilet, not to mention it avoided having to clean a potty chair. Sure, there were accidents at first (don't make a big deal about them) but since she hated the feeling of going in her panties, it worked! Took about a week. She is now fully potty trained. No more diapers! Yay!

  • Winter1derland

    Panties during the day, toddlers don't like the feeling of being wet, pull ups and diapers will absorb it, and after 1 or 2 accidents and soaking the character they dearly love on the panties, they quit having accidents! Potty training was very quick for us.

  • ksanders

    Forget diapers and pull ups and don't look back! Kids just use those to be lazy. I didn't even know my 2 year old was completely ready, but when I couldn't afford diapers or pull ups one week and just put panties on her, she was 100% trained in 3 days! Same with my 1st. She has been in panties since with only a few accidents.

Try a Mom-Recommended Method

  • sunnymommy122

    I recommend Lora Jensen's 3 day potty training method. I literally had no clue what to do when I began training my son. Everyone just kept telling me to take him to the potty every half hour, but I could not get him to sit on the potty to save my life! He was terrified and would scream. With Lora's method the training was better than I could have hoped for. If you do that method, buy her book and read it over and over again until you get it. Her method is more of a philosophy focusing on patience, lots and lots of positive reinforcement, love, and patience (again)!

  • musicpisces

    I LOVED the 3 Day Method. It is amazing! I'd say the keys are patience and consistency. Just keep at it. Don't expect miracles, just have faith it will happen. My son had over 30 accidents on day 1. 6-7 on day 2, then magically, something clicked! He's been trained ever since!

  • Momx2973

    I potty trained my twin girls at age 2, both at the same time. I used a program called Potty Training Bootcamp and it worked wonders. One of my girls caught on fine but the other one had some issues. There were still some accidents, but for the most part the girls responded very will and it took me about a month for everything to stick.

Check Out More Tips And Tricks

  • agodby

    For little boys make it a game. Throw some cheerios or fruitloops in the potty and tell him to sink them or try to hit the hole.

  • Mamakk22

    Make it easy on your child to become independent in the bathroom: stay with elastic waisted pants! Skip the cute belts, pants with hooks, zippers, snaps, buttons. I work in a day care center, and we see frequent accidents that didn't have to happen because the child wanted to do it themselves and couldn't get out of their clothes in time. The easier you can make it, the more successful the process will be.

  • hotelmom123

    My son loved "target" practice. He didn't like to sit down and pee but really got into it when we gave him a cornstarch target or a Cheerio to aim at. And selection of target practice objects made the potty routine more interesting.

  • Cosetterose

    When my daughter was 2 years and 3 months, she wasn't showing any signs that she was ready for potty training. I figured I'd try it out anyway and took a friend's advice. I gave her crackers to snack on to make her thirsty, so she wanted lots of water. After her water I'd wait for her to give a sign that she had to pee and ran her to the potty. Repeat all day. She was completely potty trained in 4 days and never looked back.