How to Potty Train Children

March 08, 2011

Dear Children,
     WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!  Four children... ALL POTTY TRAINED!  Thank you for taking it easy on your poor dear mother.  I must say it wasn't all that bad.  I think there are a few reasons why and I shall share them with you so that you too can be potty training pros (ha, ha).

1.  There is no set age or time to train.  These are the ages at which my littles were in undies: 
Jonas 19 months, Clara 23 months, Nora 29 months, Atticus 27 months.  They weren't all the same, but I did reach my goal of never having more than one child in diapers at a time.  That was some serious motivation.

2.  Listen & Watch for the potty time clues.  Things such as grabbing the crotch, dancing around, vocalizing the need to go (or that they already went), wanting diaper off after their business is done.  These are the clues that you look for to know when to start.

3.  Introduction to the "potty" is a must.  Once the clues were recognizable I would start talking to them about where we go potty and take the child in the restroom with me when I needed to do my business.  The toilet is a big, weird, loud, scary contraption so I wanted to make sure they were used to it.  This usually lasted a few weeks (or months)... when I would remember to do it... always very casual.  I only used a potty chair for one child and never really liked it.

4.  I tell them when they need to go, not the other way around.  At first children don't know how to recognize the sensation that they "gotta go" so I had to help them out.  I started by sitting them on the toilet 1) after they wake up, 2) before they eat, 3) after they eat, 4) before they go to bed.  I would usually get lucky and they would go in the toilet because these are "natural" times.  If they did go, a big deal was made of it and they would get a sticker or a small candy (m&m).  This would go on for a few weeks (or months)... when I would remember to do it... always very casual.

5.  After you've had some success put them in undies.  Up until this point only diapers were used. Once they've gone in the toilet for awhile I start talking to them about being a "big kid" and we go pick out special undies at the store.  They now wear these most of the time except for when we are out of the house for an extended period of time.

6.  Don't stress!  By going about this in a more relaxed and slow manner I think it helps the child transition relatively easily.  Once they're wearing undies you'll often have to ask them, "Do you need to go potty?"  Pretty soon though they'll start to tell you when they need to.  They will have accidents, but try not to stress about it (too bad I can't go back in the future and take my own advice).  It took me a couple weeks to potty train Jonas and six months to train Atticus, only because I was way more relaxed (and lazy) with my last baby vs. my first baby.

7.  Diapers are only for nighttime.  When the child is to the point where they tell you they "gotta go" without your prompting them its time to only wear undies during the day and diapers at night.  Start limiting the drinks they have after dinner time.  When they wake up with a dry diaper for more than a week you know it's time for undies during the night too.

Disclaimer:  These are all my own methods and they worked for me, but I'm not promising they'll work for you!  I may have just had crazy good luck and I'm not a potty training pro after all.

Love, Mama


  1. I already love your blog! Your kids are adorable

  2. our 4th just trained basically was wonderful! one more tp go!

  3. Meshan, you are amazing!! Seriously, want to come potty train my kids? Actually, I have to give Crew A LOT of credit! He is showing all the signs, and we are taking a very casual approach. He goes on the potty a lot, but he also goes in his diaper a lot. I need to be not so lazy and get it done!

  4. Oh potty training, my greatest failure! I've tried about 3 different methods and after failing at all of them realized that I should have listened to a few wiser than me and not even tried, YET. I think you're right though to take it slow and not pressure. The methods we failed at were all about getting it done fast and stressing the kid out. Someday maybe we can accomplish this feat as well. Might not be until he's 18 but i'm sure we'll get it. :) Congrats on your triumph!

  5. Kaitlyn, Thanks!

    Brittani, My 1st one basically trained himself. It was wonderful!!

    Jessie, Haha! That's exactly how I was with Atticus. Once I stopped being so lazy he was trained in a week.

    Rachel, Your little boy is so stinkin smart I'm sure he'll be trained soon. Good luck!