How I Potty Trained My Under 2 Year Old

6:41:00 AM

I'm starting this post out with a disclaimer. I in no way am an expert or consider myself an expert in the field potty training or in pediatrics. I understand that every child is different and this technique may or may not work for your child. I am simply a mom, who found a technique that worked for my child after trying just about everything else (unsuccessfully) with my first son and wanted to share.

Okay, now that that is out of the way, I have had quite a few mamas reach out to me asking how I potty trained my youngest son (who was a month shy of 2). So I thought I would put together a little post to share with you guys the step-by-step technique I used to potty train in hopes to maybe help some of you out there that are about to enter this "super fun" stage of parenthood.

First things first, make sure your child is ready. Are they showing interest in the potty and/or noticing when they pee pee or poo poo in their diaper? If so, they may be ready.

Now Elijah never told me when he was going in his diaper, but every time he was naked before bath time he would show a lot of interest in the potty (plus watching big bro certainly got him interested as well). So I spent about 2 weeks leading up to when I planned to start potty training really hyping up the idea. Trying to make it something exciting to look forward to. We then took a little field trip to Target and TJ Maxx where I let him pick out his new "big boy" underwear. I wanted to make sure that he felt he was a part of the process every step of the way to ensure success.

Next, I made sure to schedule into my calendar 3 WHOLE DAYS off from life to completely focus on potty training. That meant for me, no work, no play, nothing...just me + my naked from the waste down toddler held up in our house, for 3 DAYS. This is super crucial, because if you don't have the time or patience to stop life for those first 3 days, this method will not work for you. But if you are like me and can plan it into your schedule months in advance there is no backing out. I had already taken off work, so whether I wanted to or not, I was going to potty train this little boy.


  • little potty/potty chair
  • "big boy/girl underwear"
  • reward of some sort (we did jelly beans, you can do m&ms, skittles, whatever works for you kiddo)
  • stickers
  • books/shows about using the potty
  • cleaning supplies readily available
  • lots of snacks and drinks
  • a positive attitude

Strip down your toddler (either totally naked or from the waste down with a shirt that isn't going to be too much in the way) right when he/she wakes up in the morning and make a super big deal about "YAY!!! TODAY YOU GET TO BE A BIG BOY/GIRL!! WE GET TO USE THE POTTY!!!!" Seriously, I feel like with little kids you can never be too overly excited or peppy. No matter how ridiculous you feel, they love it.

The first day of potty training be prepared for LOTS of accidents, but remember they have never done this before, they are learning and it is KEY to not get matter how many times you may have to clean pee off your floors. Yes, you heard me correctly, DO NOT GET MAD. STAY POSITIVE + ENCOURAGING. Try phrases like "whoopsy, we'll get it on the potty next time." "Uh oh, thank you for trying, let's make sure we get to the potty next time." "Accidents happen, it's okay, we'll get it on the potty next time." You will literally sound like a broken record, but I truly believe if you can keep it light and not make a big deal out of accidents, they will learn quicker.

Come up with some sort of reward system that will keep encouraging your child each time they use the potty. I gave my son ONE jelly bean for going pee pee and TWO jelly beans for going poo poo. We also had a sticker chart, super simple (literally I just drew a bunch of circles on some paper) that he got to stick ONE sticker on for going pee pee and TWO for poo poo. Now even if he started to have an accident and I ran him over to the potty and he got even just a little on the toilet, I would still reward him. Positive reinforcement all the way. And of course there were plenty of times this first day where that would happen. He would be playing and just start peeing...this is where I had to make sure I was completely undistracted and totally paying attention to him and his body language. Because as long as I was paying super close attention, I could catch an accident rather quickly.

Same drill. Wake up and strip down. And if you are wondering, I still had my son in a diaper or pull up at nap time and bed time for this stage of potty training.

Day two will not have as many accidents as your little one starts to really understand and learn the feeling of having to go to the bathroom and also has now had a lot of practice getting to the potty from the first day.

Make sure you are keeping him/her extremely hydrated with water or juice..the more they have to go to the bathroom in these first three days the faster they will learn. Repetition is our friend here. I would have lots of salty snacks ready (i.e. pretzels) to make sure my little guy was always thirsty and ready for a sip of water.

Woohoo!!! You have survived two whole days of potty training and we are in the home stretch. By this point you will be pretty stir crazy (I know I was) but you have to fight the urge to leave the house just yet. I found that giving just one more day to really help set things in was a game changer. (Note: I did not have the patience to do this with my first son and he took FOREVER to fully potty train).

After day three feel free to start venturing out with your now "potty trained" toddler. But please remember they have literally only been doing this for THREE days. They will not be perfect and accidents will still happen. Don't get frustrated, just be proactive. Take them to the potty before you leave the house and when you get somewhere. And keep asking them if they have to go like every 10-20 minutes. It takes their little minds and bodies time to adjust and learn and make this a permanent part of their routine. Also, be aware that there WILL (for most kids) be digression at some point. Whether it is because of a life change or because they are just 2 (or 3) and are learning control of their body. Don't get discouraged. A wise friend of mine once told me, "no kid is going to go to college pooping their pants." So true! This time is fleeting and will pass quicker than you think (even if it seems to go on FOREVER).

As parents, it is so much easier to take the lazy way out and just throw them in a diaper or pull up, but don't! You will have major set backs if you start and then don't commit. Just pay attention to your child, their body language will tell you a lot more than they will at the beginning of this whole process.

Once we made it through all three days I only ever put my son in underwear during the day, even for nap time (I just made sure to take him right before he went down and right when he woke up). Of course, accidents will happen here as well, but again, we are trying to train their bodies to do something it has never needed to do before. It will take time and lots of patience, and maybe a few loads of laundry.

CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU NOW HAVE A POTTY TRAINED TODDLER! Keep up the good work and keep encouraging your "big kid." Now go celebrate!!!

Feel free to leave some feedback in the comments below or you can personally email me if you have any questions. Again, I am not an expert, but just know what worked for my child and am happy to help in any way I can.

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