Potty Training Experience

Best Mom Ideas - Potty Training Experience

Potty training was probably one of my most feared milestones I would have to face as a mom.  I researched the best methods, signs for readiness, and experiences for months before we started the potty training adventure ourselves.  I was scared that I would start him too early, and then it would be a constant battle.  Finally, I decided I was going to face my fears and we were going to potty train.

Signs of Readiness

My oldest son was about 2 ½ years old when we began potty training.  After all of my research, I knew he was ready—he kept his diapers dry during nap time and sometimes during the night, he would ask to go to the bathroom with us so he could see how the potty worked, and he told me if he had a poopy diaper.  We talked to our son about how one day he would get to wear big boy underwear like daddy and he wouldn’t need diapers anymore.  We told him that he could pick out his new underwear.  He was super excited about that!

Getting Ready for Potty Training

We all went to the store as a family, and let him pick out his special underwear.  We got a few different packs because I knew we would probably go through them pretty quickly at first.  Then we went to pick out stools and toilet seats.  I decided to go with toilet seats because I didn’t want to have to clean up a little toilet every time my little one used it, and we also didn’t want to have to transition him from the little toilet to the big toilet.  We just thought it was an unnecessary step.  We got a toilet seat, stool, and hand soap for each bathroom in our house. Then we went to the candy aisle, and let him pick his treat that he would get for using the potty.  He picked tootsie rolls.

Potty Training Process

The next day we began our potty training adventure.  As soon as our son woke up we took him to the potty, and sat him down on the potty to go pee pee.  When he did his business we cheered for him, gave high fives, and he got his tootsie roll.  Then we explained that he was going to be wearing his big boy underwear the rest of the day.  He picked out which ones he wanted to wear and we put them on.  We told him that when he needed to go pee pee he needed to tell us so we could take him to the bathroom.  We explained that he didn’t want to get his new underwear wet because then they would be sad.  We just let him wear a t-shirt and underwear for the potty training weekend so it would be easier to slide on and off. 

The first day, I set a timer for every 15 minutes so that he could try to go potty.  I thought it would help him become more alert of if his bladder was getting full, but he got really annoyed with me after the fourth time I made him try to go.  So I set the timer for every 30 minutes, and I would just ask him if he needed to go pee pee instead of making him go try.  If he didn’t need to go potty after the first 30 minute timer, then I would make him try when the next 30 minute timer went off.  Day two of potty training I set the timer for every hour, and would ask him if he needed to go potty when the timer went off.  We have had a few accidents along the way, usually it’s from him waiting too long to tell me he has to go.  Toddlers get so busy playing and forget that they need to stop to go to the bathroom.

I was really nervous about the whole pooping situation.  I knew if I could get him to go in the toilet one time then he would most likely continue to want to do it.  Well the first day I got really lucky during one of our trips to the bathroom to go pee pee he said that he had to go poop while he was already on the potty, so I sat in the bathroom and waited for him to go.  When he went the water splashed his bottom and made a funny sound and he thought that was the coolest thing ever, so he was sold on going poop in the potty!  He got two tootsie rolls for going poop.  He did have two poop accidents throughout the potty training process.  One was my fault—I was putting his brother down for a nap and couldn’t get to him in time, and the other he just waited too long before he told me he had to go to the bathroom.  He was more disappointed in himself than I was.   


When he did have an accident we didn’t scold him because it was a new learning experience.  We simply explained to him that he was a big boy and needed to tell us when he needed to go pee pee or poop.  We told him that his underwear were sad because now they were wet and they didn’t like being wet (his underwear had characters on them).  We made him help us clean up the mess by handing us towels and putting his dirty clothes in the wash.

There was one time he deliberately peed in the living room instead of going to the bathroom because he was mad that I was making him stop what he was doing to go potty.  That time I did scold him because he knew what he did was wrong.  He also had to help clean it all up.  So prepare yourself for an outburst like that.


We did make our son wear a “sleeping” diaper (it’s just a regular diaper that we call a sleeping diaper) during nap and bedtime.  We made him go to the bathroom right before nap and bedtime, and then we would put the diaper on. When he woke up, we would take the diaper off immediately and make him go to the bathroom. After potty training for about 6 weeks he started asking if he could sleep in his underwear, and since he had been keeping his diapers dry during naps we decided we could let him sleep in his underwear during nap time.

We were still nervous about letting him sleep through the night without a diaper because he normally sleeps 12-13 hours at night, so we made a deal with him that if he kept his sleeping diaper dry for 10 nights then he could sleep in his underwear.   We made a chart to count down to underwear night.  If he had an accident, then the countdown would start over.  He really took to this idea.  We did have to start the countdown over a couple of times before he made it to underwear night, but he was so proud of himself when he made it to underwear night.  He kept his underwear dry for a week.  When he had an accident at night we made him go back to a sleeping diaper for 5 nights before he could sleep in his underwear again.  This method seemed to work well because he hated going back to the big bulky diapers.  He now sleeps in just his underwear.  He does have the occasional accident, but it is very rare.


Most toddlers face a little regression during the potty training process.  When our youngest son started crawling that really stressed our older son out because now his brother could interrupt his play time, so the potty training regression started.  It wasn’t a normal regression where he would have accidents.  He just stopped telling us when he needed to go to the bathroom, so he would hold it for a very long time.  We would ask him if he needed to go to the bathroom because he was clearly doing the potty dance, but he would say no.  We would make him go to the bathroom anyway, and he would just scream and cry as if he was in trouble.  So we had to remind him to tell us that he had to go to the bathroom.  Each time he told us he had to go to the bathroom he would get an M&M, but if we had to take him without him telling us he did not get an M&M.  It took a while for him to get the hang of telling us again.  If we saw him doing the potty dance we would ask him if there was something he needed to tell us, and we would remind about the M&M.  Then he would blurt out “I need to go pee pee.”

Transitioning to Standing for Boys

Our oldest just turned 3.  He has really gotten the hang of potty training.  I would say he is potty trained, so I decided it was time to start standing to pee.  I thought it might be something he could eventually do by himself since he would only need to pull his pants down a little bit and could pull them right back up.  I was really nervous about his aiming ability.  So we made it a game.  We lift the seat.  I let him throw 3 cheerios in the toilet, and then he aims at the cheerios and tries to get them.  So far, this has worked really well!