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Potty Training My 2 Year Old

I would like to get my son into Preschool in September. The only way they'll accept him is he's potty trained. Any tips? Thank you in advance.

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i just started potty trainning my 2 year old son too. Pull ups don't work. I had to go straight to briefs. He did have a few accidents the fist few weeks. but after being consistant with taking him to the bathroom and him feeling how uncomfortable it is to be wet, he is now pretty much fully potty trained.

I don't have any magic advice, except pass on some hope that my cousin shared with me when I was trying to potty train my 3 1/2 yr old son--no one goes to 1st grade in diapers! I think the key is to be consistant and not give up. When my son would go in the toilet we called everyone on the phone and make a huge deal out of it. Good luck!

I just finshed potty training my 2 yr old daughter and a sticker chart is what worked best for her. You can find printable charts online, some with their favorite characters on them. She would get a sticker in the begining just for sitting on the potty. I had to take her about every 20 to 30 minutes to get her used to the toilet. The also like the idea of having big girl/boy underwear on. You will have some accidents.. Good Luck and I hope this gives you a start to potty training.

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Hi B.! I just potty trained my youngest child about a week ago (she is 2.5) so the process is still fresh in my memory. What I did with her was to wait until I thought she was ready to do it. By that I mean, she is not quite as "terrible" of a terrible 2 as she used to be - she is fighting me less and less on every little issue. I think potty training a child who is going through a very negative phase just doesn't work!

Anyhow, so once I decided she would be ready, I took 2 days off work before the weekend. (Or if you can't take off work, whoever watches him during the day could do this.) I told her the day before, "Isabelle, we have run all out of diapers! I don't have ANY more! So tomorrow you will have to use the big girl potty." And then the next morning, I actually let her run around without underwear or diapers. (At first she cried and begged to have a diaper on, but I stood firm that we were ALL OUT!) With her bottom bare, she could feel immediately if she had to go to the bathroom. And I just kept on her every 20 minutes or so until she went in the potty. I offered her lots of water and juice so she would have to go a lot, and then would really heap on the praise whenever she would go in the potty. We had a few accidents the first couple of days, but by day 4, she stayed dry all day! (With the accidents, I tried not to make a big deal of it except to say, "oops! Next time when you feel like you have to go, run to your potty!" When she went back to preschool the next day, she did not have any accidents either. (Not even during naptime, which surprised me.) I still do put a diaper on her at night. For me, the real key is the bare bottom - for some reason when they are first learning to use the potty, underwear can confuse them into thinking it's fine to pee-pee or poo-poo there. But with the little bare bottom, they don't want to pee on their legs so they make it to the potty.

With my older daughter, potty training was much easier. The day she turned 2, I told her that going pee-pee and poo-poo in her diaper was yucky, and pointed out that mommy and daddy do not wear diapers, we use the potty. Then I showed her the potty chair, took off her diaper, and I swear the child potty trained herself in about 4 hours. (It's like she was born 40 years old though, that's just how she is.) So you can imagine my surprise when that didn't work with child #2, LOL!

Anyhow, good luck in your potty training adventure! It is hard at first but you just have to stick to it and let your little guy know that there's no turning back! He will be so proud of himself when he is using the potty and is a "big boy."

1 mom found this helpful

I don't have any magic advice, except pass on some hope that my cousin shared with me when I was trying to potty train my 3 1/2 yr old son--no one goes to 1st grade in diapers! I think the key is to be consistant and not give up. When my son would go in the toilet we called everyone on the phone and make a huge deal out of it. Good luck!

Hi. I am not a mom yet but I have worked in preschools with toddlers for 6 years now. i recommend taking a long weekend to let him run around naked and take him to the potty often (every 1-2 hours). So many parents tell me that this is how they were able to get the process started and once they get it the appeal of "big kid" underwear is a strong motivation. Good luck!

I have a boy and girl. What I've learned (not just from my kids, but from other moms) is that boys take longer than girls to potty train. So, I'd start as late as possible. That being said, one method that you could try is "going commando" during the summer. Start in like July and just let him run naked all the time (mostly outside of course). That way, he gets used to what it feels like when he pees and poops and you and he can both become aware of his patterns. A word of caution, however - if he's not ready, he's not ready. And you definitely don't want to make it a power trip. If he knows this is imporatant you you he likely will resist. So make it fun and light-hearted. Also, enlists the help of his dad. Boys identify strongly with their dads. So, make a plan and try to be consistent between the 2 of you.

Hi B.,
September is not around the corner yet, so don't worry too much. My son did the same thing, we registered him for preschool and a week before he started school, he started going to the bathroom by himself. We started giving him rewards every time he went (little hot wheels cars,) and he responded to those. He enjoyed getting them. We also told him that he couldn't go to that school if he didn't go to the bathroom by himself. We had taken him to see the school and what he would be doing when he got there and he wanted to go, so that was a motivation too. Just keep it positive and fun and have everyone involved in taking care of him to do the same thing. Good luck and don't worry! E.

As some of the other gals said, 2 is a little young, as he may not know he's going until after he's gone and the diaper is wet. Schools for children 2years 9 months and above are reqired by their licenses to only take potty trained children (at least in California), so finding a daycare or preschool licensed for younger children may be a better idea.

When my sister potty-trained her 2.5 boy (now 30 and coming home from Iraq soon!) she said very little about "accidents" and rewarded successes with a sticker in a little book of spiral bound index cards. When I would stop by to visit, he and I would count the stickers together and I would encourage. As a long-time preschool teacher, my advice to moms was always that they get trained first. Take him to the toilet or potty chair (sometimes the lower potty chair is a more secure place to sit than up in the air on the toilet with feet hanging down) every half hour or so when you are home. Get other care-givers on the plan, too, so it's a joint effort. Praise a lot when he succeeds, but just say "what a bummer - let's get you dry clothes" when he has an accident. Make it a matter of training rather than a matter of discipline. Also, watch him so you see the signals that he needs to go - at first, you will know he needs to go before he does. As he matures, he will know before he has to go - right now he probably only knows when he is going or has just gone. You can count those stickers together (start a new page every day)and reward when he reaches 5 or 10 - keep the rewards simple and inexpensive. When he has some degree of regular success and can go a whole day without accidents (nights will take longer to accomplish), plan to buy big boy pants when he makes a certain number of days. On those discouraging days, remember that very few kids start kindergarten not potty trained. Another idea - visit the preschool - don't leave him there - and leave before he's really ready to go. Then explain in just a few words that big boys and girls who go to preschool have to be able to use the big potty there. Just be matter of fact and don't bribe or threaten. God bless.

We brought a potty into the house at 15mos, and we went through a few weeks of potty use and a few months where my son wouldn't go near the potty. He just decided one day ~27 months after changing to a school where a few kids were potty trained that he wanted to use the potty.

My suggestion is that if you have a friend of similar age who is potty trained - peer pressure worked for us.

Boys can take longer to potty train than girls - and it's one thing that you don't want to make an issue out of. Your son may not be ready/interested now, but over the next several months, you can suggest sitting on the "potty" to him, and put him in underwear on days that you will be at home with him so that he can feel what it's like to be wet. If he doesn't take to it, just drop it and try again the next month.

I was able to place my son into the YMCA preschool at 2 years 9 months, not fully potty trained, although it was a requirement. I talked to the director and she told me not to worry about it - just to bring extra clothes/underwear as they do not do diapers. When he first started he wet every other day and they just changed him and put the wet clothes into bags. As they are really scheduled when they have the kids go to the bathroom, my son soon learned to become potty trained at school. It was gradual - he'd have a couple of accidents a week for about the first three months. And now that he's 3 years old, he does not have accidents at school anymore. So, be sure to talk to the director of the preschool and see if they can accommodate your son if he doesn't get fully potty trained by Sept.

Hope this helps -- good luck!

I started introducing my child to potty training around 18 months and like another mom said he was really catching on for a few weeks and then he no longer wanted to participate.
We didn't pressure him, but would consistently ask if he needed to go potty and wanted to use the "big boy" potty. We had child size potty chairs and potty rings for the adult toilet available. He would alternate between using the different potties. I also got a DVD called Potty Power (you can google and find it pretty cheap online) which he liked to watch it and it seemed to provide incentive as other kids were doing it. We also did rewards like pennies he could put in his piggy bank to Hot Wheels cars for #2, which he really responded to! However, he worked thru it at his own pace, pressure on having to do it seemed counter productive. Good luck!

i just started potty trainning my 2 year old son too. Pull ups don't work. I had to go straight to briefs. He did have a few accidents the fist few weeks. but after being consistant with taking him to the bathroom and him feeling how uncomfortable it is to be wet, he is now pretty much fully potty trained.

You and your family will have to get together on this. Try the Elmo Potty video or some good potty books and present his potty with much fanfare. Put him on the potty after every meal and then every two hours during the day. Sing a silly potty song whenever he pees or poops in the potty. Start on a Monday and plan to stay home. Plan to hang out in the kitchen or somewhere that you can easily clean up the floor. Have him go pantsless for the day and help him to the potty whenever he goes. Don't punish him for making a mess. With your parents, you might buy some cloth training pants once he's making progress (they have these at Babier R Us -- get the kind that have more than padded underpants but have a lining). Then, he can feel when he's wet. Potty triaining a 2 year old can be done but it takes discipline on the part of the adults. Before disposable diapers, it was the norm. I hope yours is a fast learner!

Try getting a potty chair that is kinda fun to use and makes him look forward to using. I got my daughter a potty chair that has Elmo on the front and when you push his hand he talks, she loves it. And when I was little and my mom was potty training me, she had a calender and stickers and when I would use the potty I'd get a sticker. Maybe you could make it fun by saying "Lets see how many stickers you can get while mommys at work" etc. Then hopefully before long it will come natural to him.

Hi B., A few things that can work are reading him books on using the bathroom (while sitting with him in the bathroom) and show him the pictures so he can see how it's suppose to be. One thing that I would say to my kids were,"See, Diego (or whatever his favorite toy/character was at the time) isn't wearing a diaper because he is a big boy and it would make him so happy if you didn't either!" Last one, have him choose his own toilet seat and undies, that might encourage him. Good Luck!!!

I just read all the responses to B. and only have one other thing to add... HOORAY! for all the moms out there who recognized that looking for a preschool where the child's needs are paramount. As a daycare provider, I'm appalled at the amount of people in our field who do not recognize they must work according to the child's developmental level. If they do not want to potty train, perhaps they should license to take only older children.
The suggestions and tips to potty train were all good, but I think the best thing for B. is to look until she finds a daycare where her son's needs are taken more into consideration.

Boys are usually three when they are physically capable of controlling their sphincters. Granted, some are capabable earlier but there is danger in pushing a child. The last thing you want is to turn this into a power issue! To attempt "toilet training" is like trying to get a 6-month-old to walk. Leave the child alone and, just as he learned to walk, he'll learn to use the toilet. Forcing a child to complete a developmental task before the child is ready causes stress and psychological trauma. My advice is for you and your husband to use the toilet in front of your child and, when he is ready, he'll do it, too, just as he's learned to sit up, walk, and feed himself. There is no need to rush your child into preschool. Also, if he's forced to be away from you--his lifeline--both toilet training and going to preschool could cause too much stress for this little fellow. By the time your child is three, he'll be developmentally ready to join into group play without the stress exhibited by two-year-olds in day-care programs, separated from their mothers and home.

I don't have tips for potty training. I figure they're ready when they're ready and boys do tend to take longer. But my suggestion has to do with preschool. If you're open to looking at co-op preschools (where you help in the classroom 1 day/week) you won't have to worry about potty training. There are many great schools around. If you'd like help locating one nearby, I'd be happy to help you. It's the highlight for me in raising my boys..to attend nursery school with them. And with a flexible schedule I feel very lucky to give that to them (and me). It's the most fun I have all week.

Thanks for your time,

I'm responding pretty far down the line so not sure if you read this but.... agree w/some of the other responses....choose another school. If you HAVE to potty train him VS training him when he's ready, you could be up for a big struggle. Could turn out it works but if he's not interested, then it will turn into a battle since you know he has to be potty trained by a certain time. Too much pressure on both you & your son. I also say to choose another preschool cuz any preschool of value would know that many kids your son's age are just not ready to be potty trained. I'd say they want him trained for their own convenience...no messy diapers. For me, that would be a red flag....any school that demands my child do something before they're developmentally ready is not a good school. Hope this helps & good luck.

I agree that you should look for a different school.

There are plenty that allow kids who aren't potty trained. They may charge an extra diapering fee, but such is the nature of school fees.

There are no guarantees your son will be fully putty trained by then, and I doubt adding pressure on the situation will help matters. Even if you don't say anything, your son will be able to feel your tension and desire to have him trained for the convenience of going to school. That might even turn him off to school!

Look around a little more.

I have heard (but dont have a man to try it) that if you take him into the shower and tell him to "pee in the whole" and then show him how, you are potty trained. Worth a shot I guess.

It will suck for a bit, but go cold turkey. No diapers or pull-ups. It took us a total of two weeks to get Zachary to use the potty. Plus, we talked with him in the morning and give him bribes. IE, a trip to target to get a new toy (under $10.00).

Potty training is painful, but when it is done, it's awesome. Good luck!

I just finshed potty training my 2 yr old daughter and a sticker chart is what worked best for her. You can find printable charts online, some with their favorite characters on them. She would get a sticker in the begining just for sitting on the potty. I had to take her about every 20 to 30 minutes to get her used to the toilet. The also like the idea of having big girl/boy underwear on. You will have some accidents.. Good Luck and I hope this gives you a start to potty training.

My charming three year old potty trained in Aug - 3+ months earlier than his older brother. He was very motivated about being a big boy and going to preschool with his brother. But when it came to a full day preschool he lost motivation and had accidents at preschool. They wanted fully potty trained and were not going to work with him - he had to go on their schedule and be able to tell them he needed to go. The rigidness of the environment (Catholic) probably contributed to the accidents. I switched him to a 3 half day a week program where he is doing wonderfully without accidents but I don't work fulltime so had the ability to do that mid year. Having had two boys both who potty trained after 3 and knowing many boys who are still working on it at 3.5 - 4 I would advise you to look for a program that will take him even if he isn't potty trained. It isn't worth the stress and anxiety it would put you under if he wasn't potty trained by Sept or regressed. Consider a half day program with family helping with dropping off and picking up. Preschool can be wonderful with caring teachers and a supportive atmosphere for 3's. It is important for developing social skills. Potty training is just part of it. He could switch schools at 4 the next year if the pre-K program in the school you have in mind is desirable for that or you may find something now that would work for both years.

Here's some tough love from someone who just went through the same situation. Select another school. Not only are they lazy, but they are idiots because we now know that boys are not physiologically capable of being fully potty trained at two years of age. Pat yourself on the back and jump for joy if you have one of those super stars that are ahead of the curve!!! Girls train faster, but two-three is usually when they will take the initative. Boys are more frequently interested and capable between 3-5 years, although these ages are not written in stone. Dr. Trujillo at San Ramon Pediatrics turned the lights on for me. What stress we place on our little people just for a teachers convenience! We are moving at a faster is better pace and the pressure is creating anxious children with poor self confidence. Brook, hug yourself and your child for caring enough to ask for advice. Good Mom!!!

I'm sure you'll hear this a lot, but be patient. Boys on average don't potty train until 3-years (or later).

You can't really do much more than make it fun. Talk about it a lot. Let him choose a "big boy potty" for every house he stays in. The cheerio idea is great too!

My son was potty trained at 30 months, but I have no illusions that it was my doing. We simply talked about with all the caregivers so we were consitant, asked if he needed to go every half hour, and cheered him on whenever he made any progress. He seemed very motivated by watching older friends who were PT. I was not above bribing with candy for #2 stuff, 'cause that was the hardest for him.

Also, in my area anyway, there are plenty of preschools that take kids who aren't potty trained. If you can find one of those, then maybe that would remove the hurry. After all, what Mom needs more to worry about right? Good Luck!!!

YOu can try the reward system. Typically boys are slower when it comes to potty training. What ever you do do not use pull ups it is very confusing. Summer months are a great time for potty training.

Hi B. a trick that worked well for me is to throw a couple of cheerios inthe toilet andmake it a game to see if my son could aim and hit the cheerios. Since it was a game it made trying fun and he became a good aim so less clean up as he got older. You can always give the added insntive of a little healthy treat every time he tries. Good luck

I had the best luck training my son during the summer months. I don't know where you live, but he loved to run around naked, in and out of the house, and had a great time "watering" our bushes. Probably not the best way to teach him, but he was ready to go in less than two weeks. After mastering the "pointing" the "sitting" portion of the potty training took no time at all. I also put disposable tissue paper cutouts in the toilet and asked him to sink them. He loved that idea. Good luck

If he is not showing signs of readiness (ie: staying dry for longer periods of the day, coming to you when he needs a new diaper, waking up dry, asking to use the potty, able to pull his pants up and down, able to wash his hands, able to "hold it," etc.) then my advice is to find another preschool. Trying to force potty training by a certain time pretty much always backfires. He has to be ready emotionally and physically, and don't fool yourself. When it comes to using the potty, HE is in control. Both my boys potty trained easily and quickly at the age of 3 and a half, although I have known others to do it sooner.

Best wishes to you and Madden!


My neighbor passed on the pfd training book called Potty Trainging Made Easy, Fast & Simple by Johanne Cesar website www.thepottytrainer.com I started this program a bit after my son turned 2, 3 months before my daughter was born. If you follow the steps it works! I passed this technique on to my sisters and they found success too.
One thing I will advise is not to wast money on one of those chairs, cut out the middle man & purchase a toilet seat insert. Once we did this, things really took off!
The most important thing for me was to stay consistant & not get discouraged as some training days are simply better than others.

I hope this helps.


Hi B., i have a daughter who is just is 3 and is finally in the last stages of being potty trained. There are other pre-schools out there that will take your son, it's a little more expensive but that is a option. I'm just about at the point where i'm going to put my daughter in a few morings a week .Good luck Also a two year old boy is a hard age to potty traine, Look at other facilities.

I am potty training my 23 months old too. It was suggested to me to take her every 15 minutes and let her wear big girl pants during the day. I started Wednesday and have took her every 15 minutes on Wed and Thurs (except nap time she wore a diaper) and then yesterday I let her go 30 minutes and she started telling me she had to go. We did have a few accidents but that is to be expected for day 3 of potty training. I am really impressed at how well she is doing.

mom of 3 7 1/2 yrs old, 23 months & 8 months

Let him clean up after himself. Messes in his underware, let him clean them out by swishing in the toilet. Worked with my son. My mom got him potty trained when he spent a week with her. I was having the same problem! Don't yell, scream or scold them. Just tell them if they are going to make the mess then they have to clean it up!
L. C.

I suggest that you do not put him into a school that requires that he be potty-trained by a certain age. All children are different. My son was completely potty-trained at 28 months, but I know that is rare! Most boys are 3 before they are ready. Also, the school should be able to work with you on potty-training.
I highly suggest looking around for another program that is more flexible.
Good luck!

If your son is not ready to potty train it will be long hard road for both of you.
Just warning ya. And since he has a variety of care givers already, everyone will have to be consistant with him.

I did not have to put my kids into daycare or early preschool, so I just let them decide when it was time on their own.

Good Luck to you.

Hi B.,
Try timing him to see when he gets wet. It may require checking his diaper every hour or even more at first. Once you have figured out his schedule take him just before he goes naturally. When he goes to preschool give his schedule to them.

2 is young for potty training but a few can do it. Doing this routine worked with my son. Be careful about pressuring him. Make it a game. Try rewards. I think I used M & M's although now that I am a grandma I'm not so sure candy is the best choice. That would be your call.

Good Luck,
Mom and Grandma
retired early childhood specialist
CranioSacral Therapist

In my experience, potty training has been more about when the child is ready- not the parent. I had to wait an extra year with my daughter because she just wasn't ready to potty train yet. I have some friends who have potty trained very early- some are successful, some are not. I would give it a try with your son- maybe in early summer- and see if he is ready. If so- great! If not- I wouldn't put undue pressure on him. :) Have a good one!

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