Are you ready to start the potty training adventure with your little one?
Potty training is notoriously stressful for parents and child, but it does not have to be that way! I had a particularly strong willed child on my hands and I knew if I did one of the traditional methods, we would have an all-out war on our hands. So I decided not to potty train him. It ended up being the easiest and one of the least stressful parts of parenting my strong willed son thus far!
Don’t get me wrong, he uses the restroom correctly, but we left it in his control, and waited for him to be ready. For this “method” there are a few simple steps.
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1. Buy some underwear – Go to the store and let your child pick out their first package or two of underwear. Make it very exciting to get to choose which ones they want to have for their first pairs. Emphasize only the positives. No need to say anything against diapers or do anything drastic. Keep it all fun and exciting! (Amazon has some cute options too for boys and girls) Check out my post here for a full list of potty training essentials!
2. Have a talk – When you get home, open up the packs of underwear and talk to your little one. Let them know that the underwear is there for them whenever they want to wear it. The catch is that if they choose to wear it they must try on the potty first and remember to use the potty throughout the day. Some days the kid will be all about wearing underwear, while other days (or even weeks) the child might not show any interest. Leaving them in control is what makes this so easy! It’s on their timeline!
3. Accidents – Accidents are bound to happen in the house, and that’s fine. If a child was choosing to wear underwear that day we usually kept pants off for easier running to the bathroom, but there will still be accidents for a few days at least. Our rule was the kiddo must wear diapers when going out in public until they had gone a full week with no accidents at home. This gives them something to work towards, as a practical incentive to stop having accidents!
4. Follow Their Lead – Instead of stressing about training them immediately, let them go at their own pace. This will make things so much easier on you, and it will help them not be worried about it either! Being stressed about using the potty only causes more accidents, so letting them take control can help you avoid a lot of stress!
I had been concerned about potty training my strong willed son for a long time, and using this method it ended up being easy and stress free. Two things that are almost never associated with potty training!
Like everything else parenting related, this won’t work for every family, but it worked wonders for ours, and just might be worth a shot!
Click here for our list of potty training essentials
I love this Paula! I’ve been trying a very low-key method with my two-year old. But I like this is more relaxed and purposeful. Do you ask each morning if they want underwear or diaper or do you opt for the diaper and wait for them to ask for the underwear on their own? Do you make a big deal out of their decision to wear the underwear and try the potty or do you just act like it’s normal?
Since we did diapers at night until he was consistently making it through the night dry, when I changed him in the morning I’d just casually ask “do you want a diaper today or underwear”. He’d decide and I would say “okay” or “great choice” and we’d go with it. Sometimes throughout the day we’d have casual conversations about all the different people he knew that used the potty and wore underwear. But I tried very hard not to put pressure on him. I didn’t get overly excited when he chose underwear (but I did when he successfully went on the potty). And I always reminded him when he chose diapers that he could still go on the potty if he chose to.
It took us two months but it was SO easy!
I also have a STRONG willed 2 1/2 yo daughter she refuses to use potty she’ll sit on it with diapers on. I take her with me almost every time I go! Hope this works I’ll keep y’all updated thanks for the great advice :-)
My boy will be 4 in Feb and he refuses to poo in his potty / toilet. He doesn’t even tell us when he wants to go. I bought supercool underwear, have talks about the potty, reading books while he is sitting. Even bought dinosaur toiletpaper!!! Nothing seems to work….
Hi Marlene. It must be a stressful time, but I’m sure you’re doing everything you can…don’t give up. I’m at the point of potty training my 2yo…so I can’t give you much advice, however, I read some time ago how a blogger was training her 4yo boy, who was kinda toilet trained but insisted on continuing wearing nappies. They too had tried all the different methods with prizes, picking out his own undies, excitement, etc…and all she & her husband ended up doing was putting him in a small/newborn nappy and making a big deal out of it telling their son that he is a big boy now and the nappy no longer fits (the boy wasn’t convinced until he tried putting on the nappy himself and saw that it indeed didn’t close!)…he felt very mature and was finally excited to wear just underwear and feeling a lot more confident going to the toilet. Again, I’m not in the best position to offer advice, but I thought this trick was pretty good…definately one I will use should I come across this issue to with my daughter. All the best!
Genius! I will be trying this with my 3yo boy…he can use the toilet & tells me when his diaper needs changing, but refuses to stop the diapers & uses the toilet regularly and voluntarily. (Though he used to…can not figure out what happened or changed, he just won’t.) This should be a great motive! Thank you for the idea!
Katie, did it work?!?! I’m in the same spot……
My daughter had a similar issue, fully potty trained except for pooping, she would actually hold it until we put a diaper on her at night. We finally made a big nightly ritual out of sitting with her (all three of us crammed into our little bathroom), holding her hand, singing potty songs, reading and whatever else she needed until she went, then making a big deal of it and giving her double the amount of her usual potty reward (four gummy bears instead of two).
This is my back up plan for #2. Right now the running plan is to not potty train him and just keep him in diapers forever… at some point he’ll just start putting his brother’s undies on and using the toilet himself (that’s my running theory, anyway).
Also, PS – I think “All Children Are Potty Trained” should be a parenting milestone that the doctors and teachers and church elders and policemen and government officials all recognize and restaurants should give a free happy hour drink to the parents when they achieve this monumental accomplishment. ;)
I find it easy to let my lo go with nothing on while we are at home. She will go pee but has to yet to poop on potty but she does good with peeing on potty. But when has diaper or panties on she will not tell me. She is 3 she sees everyone going using bathroom been working with her butt she refuses and shows no Intrest. I reward her n praise her everytime. Idk what else to do.lol
My son is 18 months old. Is it too early to train him? Any suggestions? I was trying to get him accustomed to a “keyword” so that he can say it when he’s having a go, or so he can answer when we ask him, but so far it’s not yet taking effect. I would love to hear from you. Great post, btw! :)
My 3-year-old daughter is getting used to her potty. Your tips will help me a lot to make fully comfortable.
My 17 month old loves her potty! She pees and poos no problem – may take awhile but she refuses to get off if she knows its on its way!! She loves reading and jigsaws when on it. Now need to make the move to knickers! ??
I needed to read this!! I am a mom of an almost two and a half year old little girl. She is my first child so I have no experience potty training. I have caught myself comparing her to other little ones we know and wondering why she doesn’t show much interest in potty training yet. A few months ago she was asking to go on the potty or telling me when she had to go, and she was excited to go on the potty. She was doing great and I was so excited for her too!!…Then all of the sudden she stopped. Now she never asks to go on the potty, but if I notice that she is trying to poop, I will ask her if she wants to go on the potty. She objects to that idea, usually pretty firmly, and sometimes even cries in response to the suggestion. I never force her to go on the potty because I don’t want her to associate anything negative with it. I wonder sometimes what caused the sudden change from excitement to objection. Has anyone else experienced this?
I’m going to try the underwear thing. I like the idea of letting her pick them out and getting her excited about it again. I also like the one week accident free guideline to go by (once she starts using the potty) before wearing underwear in public. What do you guys think of transitioning to pull ups before trying underwear? Has that worked well for anyone or do you find it an unnecessary step? Also, does anyone have any advice about how to handle night time once my little one starts using the potty more consistently? Stick to diapers/pull ups at night for a while? Any good indicators as to when they are ready for undies over night?
I guess it is most important to remember that all kids are different and become ready for milestones in their own time. I am looking forward to no more diapers, but I will patiently wait for my daughter to be ready. After all, I’m always trying to slow down time with her and savor every moment, so I’ll embrace every single diaper until she’s excited about the potty again! <3
Ray A. says
thanks for sharing. i love this.. my wife need to read this..
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