Potty Training 101

New baby

Potty Training Can Be Challenging

Potty training can be a challenging thing to accomplish with your little one. In my experience in childcare, a lot of families are intimidated to potty train their child; they leave it up to the day care providers to do this. For some children this will work as they spend most of their time in day care.

There is an easier way

However, there is an easier way to potty train your child, with dedication, patience and a positive attitude and support from your spouse or other family members I am optimistic that you will be successful in just 3 days. I do not want to guarantee 100% that your child will be successful, I can tell you that I recently potty trained my 2 year old son in 3 days and I did the same with my other son 3 years ago.

So, what do you do; make sure that you begin this on a long weekend or ensure you take a long weekend; the third day is the most important. Begin talking to your child before the long weekend about potty training, purchase a book about potty training, bring your child into the bathroom with you so they can see how to use the toilet.

Some children become afraid about falling in the toilet as the seat is made for adults, you can purchase a potty or purchase a new toilet seat with a child size potty seat built into it (I purchased 2 of these from lowes).

Here is what your weekend should look like:

Day 1:


As soon as your child wakes up, remove their diaper and tell them “tell mommy/daddy when you have to go pee/poo”, begin taking your child every 20-30 minutes. Do not put on pants or underwear yet. Have them sit on the toilet for several minutes, if your child does not want to sit, try to give them a toy, book, sing a song to distract them.

If your child has an accident on the floor, DO NOT make a big deal about it, take your child and place them on the potty and tell them, potty time or this is where we pee/poo. Talk to them about the funny feeling they may feel when they have to pee/poo.

DON”T give up, you will probably clean up more accidents today, it is better to do this than to continue to use diapers as they are expensive.

Hopefully, your child will have 1-2 successes today, when he/she does make a HUGE deal about it. Tell them how proud you are, reward them with a sticker or smarties (I used both).

Place a cool alert pull up on your child at nap time and bedtime from now on, this way they will feel when they are wet.

Day 2:


Today is similar to yesterday, your child should have more success today than yesterday.

Make sure you again place your child on the toilet every 20-30 minutes. You can extend this if your child is using the toilet with great success.

TIP: I found that 15-20 minutes after my children had anything to drink they would pee.

Remind your child to use the potty and tell you. I also reminded my boys that if they pee/poo in the potty I will give them smarties (it worked every time).

TIP: I noticed my son would becomes scared and ask me to pick him up, I recognized on day 2 that this was him trying to tell me he had to pee. Or he would start running in circles on his tippy toes and say mommy, mommy. This was another way he would tell me. Keep this in mind and closely watch your child’s behaviour. Some children tend to hide to pee/poo in their pants.

If you child is more successful on the potty today, introduce pants, NOT underwear. Underwear gives your child a similar feeling to diapers; you will end up having more accidents.


Continue to remind your child, make a huge deal when they pee/poo in the potty.

If you choose to go out for an hour, you must leave your child in pants without underwear. Ensure you have a spare set with you and wipes.

When you get to your destination ensure you take your child to the potty right away. Half way through your hour, ask your child, if they say No you can decide if you want to take them. I found that it worked better if I listened to my child.

Continue to talk to your child about using the potty, reading book about it and singing songs.

Potty Training Song:

(Tune of twinkle twinkle little star)

Tinkle Tinkle little pee

In the potty you will pee

Poopy Poopy stinky OH

In the potty you will go

Tinkle Tinkle little pee

In the potty you will pee

Day 3:

This should be the day that your child finally uses the potty. I found that my boys started telling me on the third day that he had to pee/poo. There were times I noticed he was to engaged in an activity and reminded him.

I kept him without underwear for the entire week at daycare, the following weekend we introduced underwear.

Your child may still have a few accidents, don’t make a big deal about it, and remind them to tell you or their caregiver they have to go.

At daycare, I had the teachers remind my son still as he would get to engaged in playing and forget.   We also brought 5 pairs of extra clothing. By week 2 he was telling them he had to go. The teachers used a sticker chart for him and once he arrived home we would give him some smarties to reinforce how proud we were. We slowly stopped doing this in week 3.

I wish you the best of luck and hope that you have as much success as our family did.

Amy Gibson BCD, RECE

Written By: Amy Gibson BCD, RECE

Amy, having earned a Bachelors Degree in Child Development, has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for the past 10 years. First working in an infant classroom, and then moving to JK, preschool and toddlers. Currently Amy works as a Supervisor of a childcare facility in York Region.

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