A Possibly Stupid Question - How Do You Potty Train?

Updated on February 09, 2013
V.K. asks from Chisago City, MN
11 answers

I feel so stupid asking this question, but hubby has gotten it into his head that it's time to start potty training Oliver (Who turned 2 late October). Part of me thinks that Oliver is ready (He is very interested when he sees me or hubby using the bathroom and will sometimes try to take off his diaper so that he can "go" too. He'll come tell me if he's gone poop and if he goes pee in the tub he'll obviously point it out and say 'pee pee'), but the other part of me wishes that he was more verbal before we started this whole process. He's pretty verbal for his age... I would just like to be able to explain things to him more. Anyways, hubby went out and bought a step stool last night and since I'm with Oliver all day while hubby works guess who gets to start this whole process? Me! Ugh...

Anyways, I'm a loss as to where to start/what to do. Do I just take him to the potty every two hours and praise him when he goes? Any advice that you could give would be awesome!

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answers from Detroit on

potty training is easy..IF the child is readay and willing..

1. buy cotton training pants.. I had gerber thick cotton pants. I needed 12 pairs. get 3t or 4t as they shrink.

2. put the baby in the panties and tell him he is a big boy and it is time to go pee and poo on the potty.

3. take him potty every 30 minutes. set a timer so you dont forget. stay home for 3 or 4 days so you can train him.. no errands.. no playgroups.. home only.

if he can stay dry for 30 minutes.. increase the time to 40 or 45 minutes.. again take him to the potty.. praise if he goes.. maybe give him 1 small treat if he goes.. (1 m&m)..

pee training is different than poo training they may not happen at the same time. also night time training is much much later.. put him back in diapers pull ups at night.

if you are training for over a week and he is not getting it...STOP.. go back to diapers... he is not ready. expect accidents..

my son was trained in 3 days for pee.. he didnt want to poo on the potty but within a week or so he got poo trained.. he was dry overnight 6 monhts later..

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answers from Los Angeles on

First off, I was taught there are NO stupid questions...so don't worry about that!

All 3 of my kids (2 boys and 1 girl) were completely potty trained, night and day, right at or @ 2y/o...so it is very possible!

My best advice is to wait until he wakes up in the morning or from his naps dry, more often than not...this was my que that their bladders were developing and that they were able to hold it longer and longer, ya know?

Then when you truly decide it is time, go straight to undies and don't go back. I talked with my kids about a week before and told them they were getting too big for diapers and that they were going to be wearing big boy/girl undies soon...just to get them ready and prepared! Then I picked a day and when they woke up, off went the diapers (goodbye diapers!) and on went the undies and some sweats or other easy to get on/off pants and away we went. I made sure to make it something fun and exciting from start to finish!!!

Watch him like a hawk and take him and tell him (don't ask him) when it's time for him to go potty. Big praise and high fives all around when he actually goes and we informed EVERYONE in the house about their accomplishment the whole first day, so it was obvious to him/her that this was a big accomplishment on their parts and I also bribed my kids with Dum-Dum suckers (they are the perfect size) when they actually went potty when they were taken in to go.

All kids have a 'pee-pee dance/wiggle' so watch for it and take him. Success at potty training is really more on the parent than it is the child. You are teaching him/her how to listen to his/her body and recognize the signs when they have to go. You are trying to teach and enforce a habit.

~All my kids used a step stool and the regular toilet, which worked for them (and me! I am NOT about cleaning out the lil' toilets, YUK!) b/c it made them feel like a big boy/girl...but all kids are different so go with what works for you guys! For the boys, I sometimes used to throw fruit loops or something similar (they used to sell specific things for this that would grow in the water but I haven't seen them in awhile?)in the toilet and asked the boys if they could dunk them...and I taught the boys to pee while standing not sitting.

I didn't make a big deal about accidents at ALL "Uh-oh! Let's get you cleaned up" and then we put on dry clothes and that was that. No punishments, no disappointment, no nothing like that.---> I also didn't give them reassurance that it was OK either, I just made it a non-issue.

I have realized by being on this board that for some, potty training is really tough, I feel very blessed that it wasn't for me and for my kids. I have come to find out that I might have gotten off easy!

Good Luck!

All kids are different, so just b/c some of the moms are saying that poo & pee and night & day training all happen at different times doesn't necessarily mean it will be that way for your child. All 3 of mine were pee & poo, night & day trained in one sitting, one week and it was done...so it can happen!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Welcome to parenthood!!! No one ever said it was easy. It can be fun and trying....oh well....its parenthood. This was gonna happen at some point, right? :)

My daughter was the hardest to potty train. She was almost 4 when she was totally "trained". She would get soo busy and "into" playing that she would forget that she needed to go....urgh...

My oldest son was 2 years 2 months when he potty trained and did it in one week. He was ready - as he kept taking his diaper off when it was wet and saying "potty" or "wet". Night time wasn't a problem for him either.

My youngest was 3 years 6 months when he was day trained and 4 years for night time.

My point is - each child is different. The more you force a child to potty train - the harder it is. Pick up cues from them - taking diaper off, staying dryer longer, etc. get him a potty chair and let him try it out. Let him pick out "big boy" underwear.

DO NOT get mad or upset when he has an accident. He's learning. Keep an extra set of clothes in your diaper bag. Extra diaper wipes. When you go, ask him if he wants to go. Take him to the bathroom more frequently. Praise him when he does it.

My youngest did best when I put Cheerios in the water and let him "aim" at them. My oldest son didn't care. He was ready and that was that.

Let him lead you. TALK WITH HIM and let him talk more. At 2 he should have two and three maybe even 4 sentences under his belt.

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would just model the behavior. I don't know if it's possible for HIM to be potty trained "for real" until he can pull his own pants up/down by himself. Otherwise, you're just taking him to the bathroom. He's interested, but not ready. Don't make an issue of it. Just keep talking to him about it, have him come to the bathroom with BOTH of you when you pee so he sees what's going on. My son started after he turned 3 - his daycare got "us" started. Pull-ups to practice pulling pants down/up. Then once he got that under control, switch to underwear during the day/diapers at night. There were some accidents, but he did fine. Don't rush it.

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answers from Miami on

He's really young to be potty trained, first off, so remember that first and foremost. If you want to try, there's nothing wrong with it, but the truth is, no amount of wanting it from a parent will get it if a child isn't ready for it. Children have to be ready physically and emotionally. If he's not ready physically, he won't be able to figure out when he needs to go or to keep from doing it in his pants. And if he's not ready emotionally, you'll end up with a battle of wills on your hands. That never works.

As long as your husband understands that he can't make your son do this, give it a go. If he doesn't, take him with you to talk to the ped and let the ped tell him. If your husband "requires" it of your son, things will be very frustrating, and that's the opposite of what you need when trying to potty train.

The others have given you some good advice. I'll add to them that night training is totally different and only works when a child is physically able to hold it. My ped told me that I could not expect my child to have dry nights until he was 4. That didn't mean that might NOT be night trained before that, but I could not EXPECT it before then. The key was not stressing him over it and being accepting of it. So don't try to night train now at all. Diapers for overnight, as usual.

With a child as young as yours, you need to know that there could be regression and set backs. Boys usually train around 3, V.. But go ahead and give it a go, smiling the entire time. Not having to pay for diapers is like a raise and a promotion!


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answers from Honolulu on

Just try.
We used a potty chair with both our kids. We just put it out wherever they were, whatever room. And left them naked on the bottom at home.
BUT the bottom line is: we went by our kids' cues.
EACH kid is different, and per boys and girls.
My daughter potty trained early, 2 years old.
But my son, was ready, HE being ready... when he was 3 already.
But both, are normal.

Maybe, your Hubby got it into his head... because his Mom is telling him this???? (my MIL was telling my Husband, even if she lives in another country! So irritating...she's not my kids' Mom). Anyway, or maybe others are telling your Husband. Some Husbands, go according to what others are telling them or commenting to them. For example.

Your son is showing an interest. So maybe go with it.
But don't nag or battle about it.
It takes, TIME. Months even.
His being verbal or not, doesn't matter.

And, if a kid ain't ready... they won't.
It all depends on the physiological development of the child, not their age necessarily.

AND keep in mind, and tell your Hubby that:
nighttime pottying and nighttime dryness, are 2 DIFFERENT things and 2 DIFFERENT timelines. Nighttime dryness does not even occur, until 7 years old, and this is NORMAL.
So until then, nighttime diapers are used. And a waterproof bed pad for under the child.

AND tell your Husband, that even if a child is completely potty trained, there WILL be accidents, and some regression. All normal.
Children have accidents. It is childhood.
All my daughter's Teachers in Preschool/Kindergarten/1st Grade, ALL unanimously, said this.

Potty mastery goes in stages.
AND their physiological ability, to hold...their pee long enough to get to a toilet. For example: you are at a mall, at the checkout line, and THEN your child says "Mommy I have to pee.... " and they say "now...." and they are squirming. So then, you have to go quick, to a public restroom. Some children will be ready, their body, ready to hold it until then... and some cannot.

ALSO get a car potty, even after your child is potty trained. This is INVALUABLE, for when you are places there is no toilet or you are stuck in traffic etc.
Just go to Amazon, and search for "car potty." We kept these in our car and in Grandma's car. And all our friends had one too.
Keep in mind, that little kids, cannot hold their bladder, for long stints.

Tell your Husband, it can take time. Some kids longer than others. Some kids quicker than others. Its okay.
And you may have to stop and then revisit the process, again later.

Your Husband probably thinks it is a no-brainer, because he is not doing

And last but not least:
For your Husband to know as well... potty training is NOT something to scold or punish a child over... if they don't do it like the adult thinks they should. And don't compare him to other kids.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Our ped said most boys aren't ready until at least 3. We do have a potty chair that I plan to take out of the box this week for "exposure" and there are no closed doors when DH and I go to the bathroom (2 yo won't stand for closed doors when he's on the outside of the door), so he has lots of opportunities to watch Momma and Daddy.

We're waiting, but I'm looking forward to the advice.

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answers from Chicago on

Just because he isn't talking doesn't mean he doesn't understand.

Just do naked time every morning, and take him with you when you go. No pressure, just suggest it. Keep praise to a minimum. And be patient. It takes time to learn how to relax and go.expect lots of accidents after just trying, and make it fun. No pressure, no real schedule. Just do fun bathroom time first thing in the morning and after naps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It's not a stupid question. Kids don't come with instructions!

Your H has already started training him! That's great haveing him watch him go pee is great. On the weekends and evenings this is his job. My second son was practically trained by my first! It took him one week of monkey see, monkey do and he was pee trained! One more week and he was poop trained, 3 weeks and he was dry at night. Done.

I won't discourage you by telling you how long it took the first one! But dad did not take a big role in it. Think positive!

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answers from Rochester on

ok so I have 3 kids and each of my kids potty trained differently so just see what works for him and go with it. We always watch a member of the family go potty and then did a stupid potty dance after! My first son loved the cheerios in the potty (the shoot the cheerios down). My other son we potty trained in the summer and just had him running around naked for a weekend and kept having him go to the potty all the time. With my daughter she was more "with it" and really knew what she was doing. She started to take off her diaper and poop and pee in containers in her bedroom (she had a toy kitchen in her room so she used the cups and stuff) I got the clue very quick and put the potty in her room!!!!. Also I always bought the kids totally cool underwear that they could be proud of. My middle even took his pants off in a store to show someone his underwear (yea should have probably told him a head of time not to do this :) good luck!!! A good friend once told me not to sweat it because there is no child that goes to kindergarten in diapers so it will happen when it happens :)

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answers from Portland on

There are a number of different training approaches/ages, any of which may be more appropriate for different parents and different children. And both physical and emotional readiness is essential for the most common approach used today in this culture. Read about just about any potty training question in helpful detail at http://www.parentingscience.com/potty-training-tips.html. It's a really helpful resource!

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