Looking for a Potty Party:
Been There Done That

How did you potty train?
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Our family is currently in the midst of potty training boy #2, and has definitely not tried to rush things with either boy. My thoughts have always been, they’ll be trained before they go to school, so we’re fine!

With #1 (K), potty training was a breeze! His daycare was great at getting him introduced to the potty, and once he was ready, all we had to do was be there to help him out, and provide Smarties as rewards! K was dry during the day with no accidents by 3, and at 3 ½, he said he didn’t want to wear pull-ups at night, and has been dry ever since. Our only problem with K is his aim – oh, the joy of having boys!

#2 (R) wasn’t as easy to get going. At 2, we introduced him to the potty we used for K, but R wanted nothing to do with it (even with Smarties as positive reinforcements)! So we left it alone for a bit and soon R was following either myself, his dad, or K to the bathroom to check things out. Over the past two weeks, R will take off his diaper and do his business in the potty, and occasionally wear underwear.


Lots of naked time. When I first started watching him pee I would make a ‘pssss’ sound. Then when we are both sitting on the potty I would make the same sound. One day he just pooed and peed. It’s still a work in progress but when I can tell he has to go potty I get results within a minute most times.

Tamara C 

I am just starting to potty train my oldest child (boy of 2.5 yrs) and I really have no tips or strategies.  I am looking forward to reading everyone’s answers because my boy is not interested in the potty at all.


I tried as much as I could first to introduce the idea of using the potty to my daughter, before I asked her to use it. We read books, watched a “potty Video” and then I put her potty in the bathroom. At first I took some books in there for her to look at and just sit. I encouraged her to use it, but without much progress. I tired offering a few smarties if she used it, but that didn’t help either. Then one day she just came up to me and said that she wanted to be a big girl ( like her big daycare friends) and we took the diapers off and she did it. She came to it when she was ready in her own time, I hope that my son is as easy as his sister was!!!

 Jennifer H

Patience, patience and more patience.  My daughter was almost trained at 2 years old, then abruptly stopped… for none of the typical reasons usually sited (like a new baby or a fear of the toilet etc…)  so, for the next year, I had to constantly remind myself that “Kids don’t go to kindergarten in diapers, so they get it eventually!”  This constant reminder helped me.  That, and the usual reminders of trips to the bathroom, wearing panties only, watching movies and reading stories about going potty etc… Now we have to tackle night-time training… any suggestions on that?!?!


No two children have potty trained the same for me. They have all been ready in their own time. One at a year, some at a year and a half, some at two, and a couple not until three and a half. A large factor can be the amount of time a mother has to spend encouraging them to use the potty as well.

Every time you use the washroom yourself (or anyone else in the family old enough to help the little one) take the trainee with you and put them on the potty too.  The first few times reward them with an M&M, Smarty, Gummy Bear or something little that they like if they actually sit on the potty. Praise them for being a big girl or boy like Mommy, Daddy, or big sister or brother. The first time something happens make a really big deal. Give them a treat. Tell everyone in the family what a big boy or girl he/she is. Better yet, encourage the child to tell everyone in the family what they have done and proudly show them. Have the whole family praise the child. Keep a small container of your treat like mini-M&M’s in the washroom. For # !1 the child recieves 1 For #2 the child recieves 2. Eventually the child is going all the time and the mini-M&m’s run out. Most of all, make it a positive experience.


At this point, neither of my girls is fully potty trained. One of my daughters refuses to poop on the potty and the other daughter only uses the potty when it is least convenient for me (while waiting in line at Walmart, when we are running late, etc.). It has not been an easy or an enjoyable experience. We are seriously considering waiting until they move out for college and can potty train themselves!

Tamara V

It’s all about swords.  It takes two to play.  And they each need a penis.  Two kids (or heck, throw in a Dad) stand in front of the toilet and literally play “swords” with their pee.  This worked well for us because our boys are 17 months apart.  I don’t recall any issue with getting them to buy into this and ditching their diapers.


The first time poorly however I learned for baby number two!
Both were in cloth and I had read about Elimination Communication (training the parent instead of the child). When we started solids it was clear when he was about to go.  I bought an infant potty like a Bumbo but tinier. Worked like a charm. Often he’d pee and poo. I changed maybe half a dozen dirty diapers.

Tips: Be committed. Once you start there is no going back it’ll only cause more stress in the long run.
Oh and Smarties.


I have potty trained 3 children and found them all very different.  I have found that when they’re really ready, it goes very quickly, when they’re not it’s just a struggle.  One thing I find helps is letting them run around naked as much as possible!  Mine have had more accidents when clothed since I think they forget they’re not wearing a diaper.  It helps to have a sense of humour about it all as well!  It certainly helped when my son decided to pee circles in his room!


Toilet training is one of the areas of motherhood I think we beat ourselves up the most about! We have all had a relative (usually older) who loves to tell us young moms how all 18 of their children were toilet trained by 11 months old! (Yes, and I am sure they walked to school uphills both ways as well!) All, four of my children toilet trained differently.  I had one who was definitely capable but really just found going to the toilet a huge inconvenience while she was playing and so would just go where ever she was and continue playing.  Consistency was the key and she finally got the hang of it (mostly) by three and a half.  On the other hand, my son, at just barely two, took his diaper off himself one day and hopped on the toilet and peed! I made a really big deal about how proud I was of him and that was that – done with diapers.  The other two were between two and a half and 3 before they really became consistent toilet users. Again, I really feel that consistency is the key and don’t get too down on yourself if you have a day (or week) of setbacks.

Sometimes it’s hard when we have a busy life. I saw a mom about a year ago using a portable potty with bags at a soccer field where our husbands were playing.  She took the child a way from the group so it was a bit private and I thought, “wow, that is a brave mom! And, good job at being consistent!” I believe this was the product, or something like it.  Good luck!


I started all of them around 18-20months and they were trained to use potty during day by 21 months and during the night by 23 months. I followed a very strict behavioural approach from an old potty training book from the 80’s with a ton of positive reinforcement and stayed very consistent to make it through.


We have just finished training our 6th little one.  I absolutely LOVE potty training. We tend to train in the 18-24 months window and have had great success, here’s how I do it. Diapers go away and keep the little one naked from the bottom down or cotton underwear, I use a little potty and we talk lots about being a big boy/girl. The next step is to load them up on drinks all morning taking them to the potty every 15-20mins. A trick I found was to not ask “do you need to go potty?” but to tell them “OK time to go potty” taking their hand to the potty in the most cheerful this is so fun voice!  Once sitting I say “make your pee come out” and even if there is the tiniest dribble I jump up dancing and singing “pee-pee in the potty! pee-pee in the potty!” you can imagine my 6th little ones excitement to not just have mom dancing and singing but five older siblings cheering you on as well. Oh to be a fly on my wall when we potty train! LOL Also treats of smarties or gummy bears are given and we repeat this all day long not leaving the house for a good 3 days and ta-da you are done! If I have needed to leave the house I use a pull-up and it’s a non issue in those early days. My biggest advice would be not to make it a negative thing ever. This is a really exciting cheerful fun time with your toddler. J


I have two boys who are toilet trained and one still in diapers that will be potty training in a few weeks.  I have tried two different methods. With my first we waited until he was 2.5 and then used pull-ups and just kept asking him if it was dry and telling him to let us know when he needed to go pee or poop.  It was a disaster!  He pee trained pretty fast but would not poop on the potty.  We tried sticker charts, rewards (toys, candy), pretty much everything.  We ended up giving up and putting him in underwear.  He didn’t go poop on the toilet until he was almost 4!

With our second boy we didn’t want a repeat of the first potty training experience so we started early.  We started at 18 months and let him run around naked.  Yes there were lots of accidents but after the first day he picked up on it pretty fast.  He was completely trained (pee and poop) in less than a week!  We never got mad at him for having an accident; we would just say “next time, go to the toilet”.  I didn’t have potties all over the house – if I caught him having an accident we’d run to the toilet.  I didn’t do candy or rewards at all.  We just kept giving him high fives and saying “that’s great, that is what big boys do”.  Our 2nd boy was trained before our first would go poop on the toilet.  Go figure eh?  (It was actually kind of embarrassing, but I won’t ramble!)

This time around I’m doing the same “go naked” trick. I haven’t started yet but I need to get on that!  It’s a bit later than I would have hoped (he’s 22 months already) but life with 3 kids is busy and I haven’t set aside the time for it yet.  I give 3 days of pretty much undivided attention to the potty training experience.  Here’s hoping boy #3 is just as easy as boy #2!!!


My “big kids” both transitioned to using the toilet, pretty much when they were ready, despite my efforts.  We talked a lot about the toilet and would spend lots of time sitting and reading books, as well as trying every twenty minutes.  I had an open-door policy (which I am now struggling to revoke) and we all shared our delight in using the toilet properly.  I loved getting to model eating Smarties after peeing on the toilet!  Once we were fully potty training, the kids wore underwear (my son had worn disposable diapers and my daughter, cloth diapers) and spent a lot of time naked when we were at home.  I wasn’t committed to spending days dedicated to solely potty training (probably to my detriment) so there were lots and lots of accidents during the process.  Both my son and daughter got candy rewards for trying, having success, wiping and hand-washing.  I’m just embarking on the transition to underwear with my third little guy.  With him I am starting earlier and he seems to be more interested as he has four bigger examples to follow.  He seems to want to sit on the toilet without the kiddie seat and won’t sit on his little toilet!  That being said, we have only had a handful of successes… I’ll keep you posted!

Jennifer H

We began potty training based on the birth of our second child….I WAS NOT interested in buyng diapers for two kids.  Kid one was conveniently 23 months at the time so we just started to simply sit him on toilet.  Prior to that I moved his diapers in the bathroom and changed him in there, getting him used to that bathroom = poops and pees.  My toilet tank became as small library shelf and we read more books to keep him on the toilet, if given the choice he’d be on and off  the toilet before being fully done which led to accidents later. To avoid accidents we set the stove timer as a reminder to go.  We’re going on 2 years fully potty trained but still use pull-ups at night; we’re using a sticker reward system for dry nights with a big prize when the whole chart is filled.


At 19 months, we put a potty in our bathroom…a singing potty! My daughter loved it and would sit on it for a really really long time until she ‘made it sing.’ At 2, we started to encourage her to use the potty more consistently, but she wasn’t happy about it. We tried sticker charts and candy rewards (both short-lived). In the end, cute panties, a potty nearby at all times (including car rides), a willingness to clean up messes, and a lot of positive reinforcement worked for us.


Bribed them!  Actually, only a little.  We tried a sticker chart, we tried jelly bean reawards (for my daughter) and smarties (for my son) but we didn’t really keep up with any of those things.  Mainly what worked was talking a lot about being a “big girl/boy” and taking the child into the bathroom with me/my husband every single time we needed to go.  We had a potty in one bathroom on each floor of our house, and if they didn’t use it they had to help us with the clean up (washing out poopy underwear once was enough for each of them).  We gave up bathroom privacy for awhile, but both kids were trained by 2.5 yrs old so it was definitely worth it!

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