Give Me Your Potty Training Advice

I’m going to get it anyway, and quite honestly, I probably need it. Not just yet, but soon.

I need potty training advice.


We’re not there yet; I don’t even know when we will start. We’re going to let the Spirit guide us, I suppose. But, I am a plan-aheader, so I want to hear what you have to say now. That way, I can meticulously plan every detail of our fail-proof potty training routine, and then it will all fall apart once we actually start trying. Can I blame you if this happens? Thanks.

You have two options (I am already assuming you will help me):
1. leave a comment
2. link up a post you’ve already written

I’m going to thank you in advance: thank you. And, you’ll have to forgive my leery attitude. I have a certain opinion about potty training, and it goes a little something like this.


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  1. tammyhappyis says

    I am not sure what your weather is like but you are best to wait for Summer/warm weather so you can leave the child naked from the waist down or I actually preferred to put them in pants so if they wet they would feel it, I also kept potty in main family rooms “just in case” but I did encourage them to use the pot in the bathroom and just kept the other one there as backup, I have 2 boys and there was no way they would sit still on the potty and read a book for 5-10 mins as my advice book suggested, so I just constantly asked them if they needed to go. I avoided pull ups and bought some old fashioned training paints for trips out and carried a travel potty, but again used a bathroom whenever possible. The no1’s were sorted within a day or two but the no2’s took much longer (I think it is a common problem with boys) I can come back with more tips for no2’s?

    • Jenna says

      I’m worried about the 2s as well. Even though I have a girl, she doesn’t like going 2 even in her diaper. I think she will be terrified to try it on the potty. She prefers to stand because she thinks it’s more comfortable :/ We give her prune juice to help her, and it works a lot of the time. I would love if you came back and gave your best advice on the 2s ;)

  2. Kris says

    Totally agreeing with Tammy above. I have 4 boys. Also did the naked-from-the-waist down method. The one thing I would add is to do it earlier rather than later. When they are younger, you have to help them more and do more reminding, but they are WAY easier to train. Much more compliant and willing. I waited until my oldest was almost three and it took FOREVER. He was totally freaked out. My younger 3 were all trained before they were 2. My oldest was more self sufficient once he got it, but I still recommend younger rather than older. John Rosemond has a great book called Toilet Training Without Tantrums that I highly recommend. Common sense, gentle, non-nonsense approach.

  3. says

    I have 5 kids and I did VERY little to train them. They just sort of did it themselves. I attempted to potty train the youngest when he was about 2 and a half and it became clear that he just wasn’t ready (with younger babies at home it’s close to impossible to keep after them as much as I would have needed to). I waited and then, one day, he was just ready…and that was that. It has been the same for the next 2, and unless something changes, which doubt, it’ll be the same with the youngest 2. All of my kids are under 5yrs old so unless I wanted to run around cleaning up puddles all day long that was what worked best for me- wait and let the kid guide the process. You’ll find your way, no matter what route you choose. No right or wrong :)

    • Jenna says

      I like it. I am alllll about making life easier and not doing something just because I think it is time. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Liz Timmerman says

    I read a ton of potty training books as I am of a similar mind set as you. One of the things that stuck out in my mind was to remember that they do not have accidents on purpose and to never punish them (not like you would) or make them feel bad when accidents happen. This is hard to do in practice because sometimes the accidents are in the WORST spots possible! :0) Also agree with letting the child guide you. You will know when they are ready. Lucy was potty trained by the time she was Emma’s age now. Emma doesn’t seem to be ready yet. I also think that summer is the perfect time, but again, only if you are lucky enough with a child that is ready then!

    • Jenna says

      I’ve heard summer is a great time because they can go with less clothes :) And, you’re right, I’m not going to push it because I don’t want her to not be ready and then regress when baby boy unnamed is finally here ;)

  5. Jill Schnuphase says

    It’s been at least a decade since I’ve done potty training but I’m willing to share my opinion for what it’s worth. All three of my girls were between 3 1/2 and 4 yrs old before they were potty trained – GASP! I know, I still remember the collective disapproval – raised eyebrows and being questioned with a certain “tone.”
    Hubby and I read a bunch of books, listened to other parents, and watched as many friends and their toddlers began to battle out potty “training” and it became little more than a game of bribery and a fight for control. Maybe it’s just me but I never understood the “go potty for mommy and you’ll get 5 M & M’s” approach. Potty=Candy – sorry, I just don’t get it. And I left the potty chair in the bathroom, maybe it’s because I have girls and wanted to teach them modesty and propriety, or maybe I’m just a prude – and no judgement to those who do otherwise – it’s just not something I did.
    Perhaps it was my laziness that I didn’t particularly want to clean up extra messes on a daily basis and change bed sheets every morning or in the middle of the night. I was and still am a believer that children will potty “train” themselves when their bodies and brains are ready. Certainly we discussed it, read books with them, kept the potty chairs in both bathrooms at the ready, and encouraged them to try to go. We bought our daughters “soft panties” and encouraged them to want to wear them and be clean and dry and not have to wear scratchy diapers – that worked out extremely well by the way once they noticed the difference for themselves. In the end they trained themselves and low and behold we had 3 daughters all potty trained with almost zero accidents.
    I will add my voice to the excellent advice you’ve already been given, you will find your own way and what works best for you, your routine and for Ellen’s personality.

    • Jenna says

      You approach sounds a lot like me. Sometimes I think I’m lazy, but the reality is, I would rather not work so hard and let her figure it out on her own, which I’m sure she can. I think the biggest thing I took from this comment is just to relax about it…and I will :) I will still offer the potty, use undies and read books/sing songs, but I’m not going to force it on her. Thanks!

  6. Andi at Bringing the Sunshine says

    I have nothing insightful to add, sorry. ;) But I am thrilled to see folks saying to just relax and let it go. I’m starting to feel the pressure to press the issue, when what I really want to do is ease into it. Sigh. Of. Relief.

    • Jenna says

      I’m glad it’s helping you too! Like I said to a commenter, I think it’s easy to feel like you’re being lazy, but in reality, most of the time it’s actually better to let kids figure things out. We’re good moms, me and you :)

  7. marissa says

    So, because of work, there was no way I was going to try it myself before summer. However, every time I changed a number 2 id always say ewwww, and then when it was just 1, id say pee pee. Only when changing her. She started telling me eads and pee pee after she went in her diaper and wed change her right away repeating the ewww or pee pee. Now, I left it at that. My mom actually kick started it without even a book or discussion. She would change the no 2 diapers but instead of dumping them in the garbage…..she would flip the diaper inside out into the toliet and let her flush! She loved it! Giggled, laughed. So we got a little potty for the bathroom. She watched me pee for awhile, and then shed laugh and flush. She then started asking to wipe, which was brilliant because now she can only touch the tp if she sits on the potty and I don’t deal w the never ending role anymore. Then one day she asked to sit on hers. And then it was shed say pee pee and run to the bathroom. She’s hit or miss, and I’m not really pushing anything, but just teaching the steps as we go!

  8. says

    I’ve had a potty training post sitting in my drafts box for a while and haven’t bothered finishing it… But I’ve got some tags on my blog that might help? I echo the naked sentiment above, it works great.

    Look for kid-themed potty books – my oldest 2 loved “A Potty For Me” by Karen Katz, Mercer Mayer’s “The New Potty” and “Once Upon A Potty” (which I hate, but they love).

    Also, Flip cloth training pants have been awesome for nighttime, and they’re way cheaper than pull-ups in the long run. We bought a shell & 5 inserts and have been using them for a year, first with my son who potty-trained at 2.5 and now with my daughter, who potty trained at 18 months (her idea) but still has occasional nighttime accidents.

    It’ll happen eventually no matter what, and I doubt you’ll have to carry a potty in your purse :P

    • Jenna says

      I think books are going to be key. She is a book lover and a music lover. I am sure there are songs out there I can get too. Thanks :)

  9. Sarah B. says

    I am so happy that you posted this. We are going to be starting potty training with my dd (she is 2) in a few months and I am skerrred. Will def. be referring back to this post and all the links!