How To Life

Potty Training Survival Guide

The good, the bad, and the downright dirty. 

I’ve been dreading the thought of potty training since I found out I was going to have two boys only 13 months apart.  I was completely clueless as to how to potty train a little boy in the first place and now I was going to have to do it double time!

I started introducing the idea of potty training to Mikey when he was a little over 2 1/2 years old.  I know a lot of people start earlier than that but between Mikey’s speech delay. and the craziness that is Tucker, I couldn’t even begin to think about doing it before that.

Now here we are 9 months later and I finally have one fully potty trained little boy!  With one left to go, I thought I’d put together a Potty Training Survival Guide of sorts for all you Moms out there who are about to tackle the intimidating task that is potty training.

Potty Training Survival Guide

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Potty Training Survival Guide

If I’ve learned one thing from my time potty training my oldest it’s this;  they will not be potty trained until they are ready to be potty trained.  This is something that is different for every child.  If you try to force your child before they are ready, I can guarantee it’ll be a lot messier for the both of you.


How to Potty Train Your Child in 6 Steps

Step One: Introduce your child to the idea of potty training

This isn’t a step that should be taken lightly. Toddlers thrive on routine and structure. Introducing big changes can sometimes be scary for little ones and met with stubbornness. A great way to introduce the idea of potty training to your child is through reading.

The book that worked best with Mikey was the same book I remember reading when I was a child, Once Upon a Potty, although I had the girl version.  This book provides a great introduction to potty training and it’s been around since the 1970’s so obviously it’s doing something right.  For a list of other great books about potty training check out my post, Books to Get Your Child Excited About Potty Training

Step Two: Buy a Potty

This step your child should be involved with as well.  I first tried to buy the potty seat that goes right on our toilet for Mikey.  I figured it’d be less hassle and clean up for me. Of course, Mikey had other plans, the big potty terrified him. Even with the potty seat, he felt he was for sure going to fall in and was too scared to do his business.

Next, we tried a small Mickey Mouse potty.  We had much better luck with this for Mikey,  he got so excited to sit on his own potty and the little handle cheers for you when you “flush” it.

Step Three: Pick out big kid underwear

Another great way to get your child on board with potty training is letting them pick out their own big kid underwear. Paw Patrol and Ninja Turtles were Mikey’s choice and he picks out which pair he wants to wear in the morning.

One thing I’ve learned about toddlers is you can make them do just about anything if they think it’s their choice.


Step Four: Be prepared for a whole lot of nudity and carpet cleaner. 

Potty training is going to be messy no matter which method you use. I chose to put Mikey straight into underwear so he could feel when he was wet. The first day was a downright mess. Despite my requests for him to continually sit on his potty, he insisted he didn’t have to go and then would pee in his underwear minutes later, usually right on the carpet.

Since he’s been potty trained he still insists on being basically naked all the time.  Guess that’s just an advantage of being three, especially during the summer time.


Step Five: Don’t be afraid to bribe. 

Whether it’s stickers, M&M’s or some other type of treat, rewarding your child for successfully using the potty is often a great way to motivate them. We made a potty chart and Mikey got to pick out a toy once he went diaper free all day and overnight.

Step Six: Don’t give up. 

The first time I attempted to potty train Mikey he did great and was accident-free by day two. I thought I had it made!

Then he realized if he was pooping in the toilet the garbage man wouldn’t need to come to take his dirty diapers away.

His little toddler logic had him convinced he had to stay in diapers so he could keep waving to his friend the garbage man every week. This kept him in diapers for 8 more months.

As I said before, every kid is different and ready at their own time. Patience truly is a virtue in the art of potty training.


That’s it! If your child is ready, they should be fully potty trained. 

Now that Mikey is fully potty trained we have to work on standing up to pee.  I plan on buying one of these for each of our bathrooms since I have two boys.


My son’s new favorite word… PRIVACY! “I need PRIVACY Mommy!” Always said in a voice much too loud.

Boys fascination with their penises. Neither one of my boys can seem to stop playing with theirs these days.  I certainly wasn’t prepared to hear my oldest say “Look, Mommy, I made it grow big!”

Their fascination with their feces. I once found my son finger painting with his poop on the window when I thought he was napping.  (Definitely a sign it’s time to potty-train)

Be prepared for anything and everything. You finally get your child situated on the potty only to turn and see their little brother has taken off his diaper and is now squatting and leaving some gifts for you on the carpet.

If you have boys, your bathroom will most likely smell like pee for at least….oh who am I kidding. It’ll probably smell like pee until they move out or go off to college.


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  1. Micaeh says:

    Bahahaha I’m dying! I don’t understand the penis obsession either. When we flush the toilet my son says “bye bye poo poo!”. This will all be so helpful – thanks!

  2. Oh the he’ll of potty training. I chose to tackle 2 birds with one stone -teach a 14 month old and a 2.5 Year Old at the same time. That was fun.

  3. ha!! I’m working on this with my 2.5 year old now. Sometimes she’s into it and other times she could care less.

    1. That’s how my son was for awhile. He was the boss for sure.

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