A Wife Loved Like The Church

Top Ten Steps to Potty Training

Posted on: June 28, 2011

Top Ten {Tuesday}We are “officially” potty training Hannah. I’m hesitant to even write about it, mostly because I feel like when you announce that you’re potty training, a certain expectation is set on you and your child. And for me, I am all about fun training and don’t want it to be pressure based. Now that I’m two kids in, I’ve learned a few things {though am far from an expert}. But here ya go:

1. Train Early – This isn’t for everyone, but I am all about starting potty training before 1 year. Nothing major, just sit the babe on the potty and let them get use to it. I even go so far as to not provide any kiddie potty seat – as I want the babe to be okay with a real toilet. That might go a step too far for you, so do what you like {little potty, potty seat, etc}. But I’ve found with the girls, they catch on to the potty super well since we started so young {even if real training doesn’t start till 2}.

2. Sing Praises – Because of personal family convictions, we don’t use food as a form of praise/reward. Instead, I sing my little heart out. And both girls have gotten a kick out of it.

3. Show Grace – Kids aren’t going to get their training the first time. Or even the fifth time. You’ll have accidents. Some days a lot. Show them grace. Show yourself grace.

4. Show Even More Grace – Have a kid who’s been potty trained for a year and now starts having accidents? Show even more grace. Trust me on this.

5. Be Prepared for the Worst – If you’re potty training, please, please, please don’t leave the house without a spare set of clothes for your kiddo. Even if you think you’re in the clear, always prepare for the worst. {And show grace when it happens, cause it will.}

6. Put on a Show – In addition to my awesome song, lots of dancing, fun shouting and rowdy play takes place while I’m training. Especially in the beginning. I remember with Julia, once running through the house shouting “she did it, she did it!” after she had a successful potty trip. Man, that girl was on cloud nice for the rest of the day. And so was I. πŸ˜‰

7. Set the Bar Low – With both girls, my first goal was to have them learn to poop in the potty. Then pee. Not both at once. I set the bar low and then s-l-o-w-l-y up it as I see them progress.

8. One Step at a Time – For whatever reason, nighttime/naptime training takes a while for my girls. And that’s okay. I don’t mind doling out the money for nighttime pull-ups. It’s part of life and I am so okay with it {especially since we don’t need them during the day}. I say, day train and then night train. One step at a time.

9. Set the Right Expectations – Of course I’d love to have a bootcamp weekend where Hannah is full potty trained in two days, but that ain’t gonna happen. For one, I’m not that patient. And for two, that’s not how our family rolls. Instead, I’m setting the expectation that Hannah be day trained before Baby Boy arrives.

10. Have Fun – Having fun and potty training don’t always go hand-in-hand. But they can. Realize that kids like to please you and really like to feel like big kids. So, with a little grace {if you haven’t caught on by now, potty training is all about the grace}, some crazy mama dancing and lots of praise, potty training can be a really rewarding experience. For you and your kid.

Have you ever potty trained a child? If so, what are some tips you’d add?

Visit Amanda at Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

21 Responses to "Top Ten Steps to Potty Training"

I’m w/you on the starting early! I did Lydia right at 2 years old (she’d had the potty and played w/it for longer than that) but I put panties on her and in 2 days she was trained. I mean, we had accidents and still did pull-ups and naps/night. But otherwise, she did it!

Then Asa? JUST finished potty training him last month (over 2.5yo) and it was MUCH harder. I *did* do the One Day Boot Camp w/him…it really took THREE days! πŸ™‚


I love starting early! We started Hannah’s official training last Monday and by that day she had it. We’ve had a few accidents, but she’s actively telling us when she needs to go. Even when we traveled this weekend {and had church for 4 hours} she did awesome and yesterday she stayed dry all day! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

thank you for posting this!! I have been starting to mention/introduce potty training to Jacob and although we haven’t done anything serious, I’m glad I read your tips. I’ve heard multiple times that boys are harder than girls to train, but since my little guy loves to go without a diaper all-the-time, I’m thinking it might not be so hard. But I love the part you wrote about having grace and always going out prepared (with extra clothes). πŸ™‚

I’ve heard the same with boys, which makes me a little nervous about Little Man Windham. πŸ˜‰ However, I think just even getting him use to the idea will help out so much once you’re ready to take the full step. Also, letting him run around bare bottom is totally awesome in my opinion! We did that with Julia and I kid you not, the girl was “pooped” trained by 20 months because of it. It helps them realize the sensation and forces them to stop what they are doing to go {or at least in J’s case it did}.

I appreciate that you don’t use food as a reward. I’m big on that when it comes to meal times, but hadn’t thought about it with potty training.
One question for you- did you/have you done night time cloth? Just wondering since you mentioned the pull ups. We’re doing cloth overnight, but I wondered if there was a reason you preferred the pull ups for overnight when potty training.

Alicia, I’ll email you real quick, cause my response is kinda long.

It’s not a for-Alicia-only email, so if anyone else is wanting to know why we do pull-up let me know and I’ll be happy to pass it along! πŸ™‚

I just came across this:: http://getantsy.com/Antsy-Pants-At-Night.html

Haven’t heard of them before, but they better looking {as far as being more underwear like} than other nighttime trainers I have seen.

What a great list. I love the singing and dancing and grace! Perhaps we’ll consider this when we get home from the trip, Archer will be almost 1-crazy!

Really great, grace-filled tips! Thank you for sharing these. We’ll be starting soon with our boy, so I’m reading up on it!

Great tips! Hear hear on early starters. And I totally agree with no food or candy rewards — that can set up power struggles especialy for older children

Take them with you when you go yourself is a tip. Little ones especially are born mimics and it gets them into a daily routine without any extra effort on your part. I did some fanfare, but that was mainly for my benefit and entertainment, haha.

Totally agree on taking them with you! It’s pretty helpful that being pregnant I go a lot, so H goes a lot too! πŸ˜‰

Lol! We are potty training Abby right now. She’s 2 1/2 and she’s done both poop and pee in the potty. We’re nearly there. The problem we face is those busy and active days when we’re on the go and we don’t think to stop for potty breaks as often as we should because the rest of us can go longer without them. And, I’m one of those moms that rewards with M&M’s. Not the entire time. Just to get the process started and build up excitement about going potty. One thing I learned with potty training Faith was that even though she was smart enough to know she needed to do her business in the toilet, she wasn’t at the phase of wanting to stay dry until she turned 3. Then once she made the choice to prefer dryness over accidents, we switched her to panties and she’s never had an accident since…even at night. I think the desire to stay clean and dry plays a huge role in potty training success.

Good luck with Hannah! πŸ™‚ I’m sure she’ll be potty trained in time for the arrival of her new baby brother.


These are great tips. I need a lot of help with showing grace. Potty training seems to bring out the worst in my parenting. I also believe in starting early, but since my baby once dove off the potty seat onto the tile floor (while I was sitting RIGHT in front of her), I’m a big believer in the little potty chair. That’s a more correct position for pooping anyway. I post quite a bit about early potty training on my blog and wrote 3 posts about the book Diaper-free before 3 which I really liked:

These are great tips and I hope that all goes well and she will be potty trained really soon!

When I potty trained Ben, I tried cold turkey and put him in underwear a few times. That boy screamed and screamed it upset him very much. I had to put the diaper back on. That method did not work when he was 2.5. I waited for a few weeks gave him a juice cup and let him play in the bathroom with pants off. I instructed him to pee in the potty and not on the floor. I filled him with fluids and we played in the bathroom until he peed. I had to teach him what he was supposed to do on the potty. I also tried putting potty chair in front of a favorite show and or reading books to him as I waited for him to use the potty. After awhile I took away the diaper again. Taking the diaper away worked pretty well when he was ready to start peeing in the potty. He was not as upset this time. He was potty trained during the day pretty quickly with some accidents.

Every single night when I put his diaper on for bed he would have a bm without fail. He would hold it all day and then go. I could not get him to stop doing this, and even tried sitting him on the potty and told him to go. He would wait until I took him off and went in the diaper. Then I told him that if he went in the potty I would let him sleep in my room for one night. He went just like I asked him to and that was all it took. He was finally doing both in the potty.

I took away naptime diaper first, then I took away night time diaper. He rarely has accidents. It took until he was around 3.5 before I took away diapers completely. I could have done it sooner but was too chicken.

Thanks for your thoughts! Erika is acting pretty ready to train and it is always good to have lots of ideas and reminders! The one recommendation that my Mom made that helped when I wanted to focus on getting them to go was lots of salty snacks and lots of drinks/juice. That way they have more opportunities to go and figure out how it all works. Good grace with Hannah!

[…] 30 Before 30 Top Ten Steps to Potty Training […]

Okay, I don’t want to get your blog blocked by the internet filters or anything, but the silver bullet for my 3rd was: naked from the waist down. Seriously, she was NOT getting it until my friend suggested this tactic. But after she ran around the house for 6 hours wearing only a 3-sizes-too-big tshirt we were….done!

Yay! Thanks for sharing! We are getting ready to tackle this when we get home from this big trip…

Oh, and I would LOVE it if you wouldn’t mind sharing your opinion about Pull-Ups for naps/nighttime… I’ve been mulling this one over since I’m not assuming we will “get” everything at once…

[…] June, just before Hannah’s second birthday, we started potty training. For about 2 months, she did […]

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