How I Finally Potty Trained My Kids…..For The Most Part

I know they say all kids progress at different rates, but I never thought my two kids would be so different with their potty training.  I’m not sure if it was first child vs. second child, girl vs. boy, my parenting style being different with them, or just their different personalities.  I’ve had friends whose kids were opposite mine; mine being the girl was easier and the boy more difficult.  The same goes for the first child vs. second child situation; opposite of mine.

My daughter is my first born.  I decided to try and potty train her about a month before my son was born.  She was two and a half.  She also had to transition to a “big girl bed” as well, so I could have the crib for my son.  I was worried about so many changes for her, but she made it through them all like a champ!  I was very prepared for potty training, as I read almost every book at Borders on the subject.  I planned out everything, and it worked liked clockwork.  Here is what I did:

1.  Got her ready for “Potty Weekend!”  We talked about it, read child-aged books about it, and had a countdown.

2.  When Potty Weekend arrived, we stayed home all weekend.  I started by giving her “Baby Alive.”  We showed her how the doll worked, and she understood when you drink something it will make you need to pee.

3.  Every hour we had her put her doll on the potty to pee, and then she would try and pee too!  When she was successful, she would then pick out  a sticker from the basket for her potty chart we had up in the bathroom.  Every 10 stickers she earned, she could pick out a small prize.  She was so excited about this, and she tried so hard!  Her favorite thing to earn was a new pair of big girl underwear (she wanted nothing to do with pull-ups).

4.  She had a few accidents, but she was pretty much trained in about two weeks (with pee that is).  She wore diapers to bed for a while at night, but otherwise she did quite well.  Pictures below of my daughter around age two and a half.

I thought potty training was pretty easy, and I wondered why some of my friends were having such problems with their kids. Now I know! My son was the complete opposite.  He didn’t care much about earning stickers, he didn’t care about accidents, and he just fought it every step of the way.  We talked to our pediatrician about it constantly, and she said he will do it when he’s ready.  It seemed the more we pushed, the worse it got.  We finally did back off completely, and now (knock on wood) he has finally decided to do it on his own!!!  He turned 4 in March, and we are so happy he finally wants to go on the potty.  He was “pee potty trained” for a long while, but now he is doing everything on the potty.  Thankfully…….he finally potty trained himself!

Potty training can be easy, and it can be difficult.  I guess each child does have their own way of going about things.  My only advice to you is to be patient, try things that make your child excited about potty training, and make it a positive experience for them the best you can (even if you are completely frustrated).  They will get there sometime!
UPDATE: We have had a few issues with “pooping on the potty” lately because my son was holding it in because he does NOT like to poop on the potty. We had to get stool softeners for him and have him try each day. It’s been a work in progress, but we are slowly getting there.


  1. My kids are exactly the opposite. We are still having trouble w/ my 4 year old daughter, but my 2 year old has it down pretty well.

  2. My son was horrible about pooping in the potty! He didn’t even want to try and he would hold it and just scream! So, we found out that he LOVES prunes, so a couple of those a day, plus the bribe of chocolate and a penny did the trick! I had to hold him while he was on the toilet the first time he pooped so he would feel safe and after that, it just came naturally. All kids are different, I tell ya!

  3. This was a great read! I still have time before we start potty training, but it is always nice to see how other parents are doing and dealing with it. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. My 2yo says poo after going poo in her diaper… ugh.
    So she doesn’t hold it in :)

  5. My oldest decided he wanted to start using “little toilet” when he was 16 months. At 18 months he was going poop on the toilet almost all the time. He gets treats after, like a cookie or a little candy. We were also breaking him of the bottle & pacifier & shortly after he got a new big boy bed in preparation for little brother coming along. We were still battling the pee in the diaper but then the closer we got to my due date the worse it got to were he stopped telling us he needed to poop even & just was going in his diaper. He’s a little over 2 1/2 now. Now that little brother is 3 months hes been doing a bit better lately. We’ve been talking about trying to have him peeing standing up & trying to hit cheerios to get him completely done but we’ll see.

  6. I have no experience with this — but I sure will keep it in mind for when Evie is potty training!

  7. Potty training was so hard!! It took H 3 years, 3 months but we finally got it down! I know you can relate:)

  8. Great post as I will need all the advice I can take in a year! G is just 15 months and I wonder when the right time for us to start potty training will be?!?!

  9. Thanks for letting me know my son is now 14 months and I am thinking about starting to train him soon.

  10. My son will be 4 in March. He was pee potty trained, but wouldn’t poo in the potty, wouldn’t tell us he pooed, he would just go and hide. I finally just put him back in diapers because I was sick of washing out poopy underwear. Not doing it. Hopefully as his speech therapy progresses we’ll be able to get through to him. Like, before he’s in middle school lol.

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