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Potty Training – How to Get it Done Quicker with Less Mess


No need to overcomplicate things with the “experts”! Here’s how to do potty training faster and easier than you thought.

When my oldest daughter, Leah, was younger, I was definitely the milestone obsessed mother.  I had a stupid timeline in my head on when she was “supposed to” do certain things. Give up bottles at 12 months, get rid of binky at 18 months, potty trained and in a big girl bed at 2 years.

Boy, was I dumb.

I drove myself (And my husband, and my mom, and my child.) crazy.  And my child ended up doing none of those things at the “right” time. She actually wasn’t potty trained until she was almost 3 1/2. She was stubborn and so was I. It was a bad combination.

With my second daughter, Paige, I haven’t been driving as many people crazy (I hope). I’ve been much more laid back about when I want to encourage her to do the milestone stuff.  She had bottles til she was over 2 yrs old, still has a binky, still in a crib, and up until this past week, was still in diapers.

And considering how old Leah was when she finally potty trained, I assumed Paige would be the same way. But people are right when they say that the second child is ready sooner.  Paige has been randomly peeing and pooping on the potty for almost a year now, usually before baths. More recently, she has been waking up dry from naps, and keeping her diaper dry for long stretches. I could tell she was ready.

But I put it off for a few months. Its a lot of work.

And then as this summer was drawing to a close, and I was getting tired of trying to put diapers on her after going swimming.  She was dry a lot of the time. We were ready. I didn’t feel like doing any sticker charts or bribes with her (I don’t think she fully understands the concept anyway) or anything else “official.” I just bought her 2 packages of training pants (basically thicker/more absorbent than regular underwear) and one day, I put those on instead of diapers when I got her up in the morning, and randomly took her in to go potty throughout the day. It worked pretty well, but she still was having accidents on my floor 3-4 times a day.

After about 2 days of that, I didn’t argue with my husband when he put diapers back on her for a couple days. But I couldn’t deny that she was ready. I just needed a new plan. (I love plans.) After some googling and some thinking, and made up my plan.

The Potty Training Plan

First Day

On the first day, I set the timer for every 45 minutes (seemed like a reasonable time for her, you might have to start with a shorter increment), and when it rang, I took her in and set her on the potty (regular old potty, no spiffy chairs or anything) and set her on it far enough back that she can hold on in front of her – don’t worry, I keep it clean! I brought in the iPad with me so I could show her a little video clip and help her be patient til she went potty. If she didn’t pee, I would take her off and set the timer for 20 mins and try again. All day.

First day, zero accidents. But I felt like I was the “trained” one, and I was exhausted. It was a lot of time spent in the bathroom. But, zero accidents.

Second and Third Day

On the second day, I bumped the timer up to every 60 minutes. Good day, in spite of soaking the crib during her nap. And the third day, every 90 minutes. And that third day included a successful potty trip at Target! That is a big deal!

Fourth and Fifth Day

On the fourth day, I had to work. Daddy did a pretty good job taking her in to go potty, but there was an accident. But not the end of the world.

By the fifth day, I was just keeping an eye on the clock, and making sure to take her in every 90 mins-2 hours. She wore panties to church, and went potty in the potty there twice! At the end of the fifth day, she was starting to grab her little bum when she needed to go, and we would rush in and she would go potty just fine!

We are still keeping diapers on her at night, just in case. But as soon as she wakes up consistently dry in the mornings, we’ll ditch those too.

Poopy Training

Getting toddlers to go poopy in the potty can be a whole other story. I lucked out with Paige, since she had been randomly pooping in the potty for a few months. All I had to do was keep an eye on her around 9-11am (her regular pooping time), and when she looked like she was starting to “strain” a bit, I would just take her in and put her on the potty to finish her business. No biggie. Other kids can get really freaked out by the whole pooping concept, so my suggestion is to start getting them comfortable with it as young as possible. 

Top Potty Training Tips

  • Use cloth training pants. Pull-ups just add one extra step to conquer between diapers and underwear and prolong the process.
  • Set a timer, to help your toddler’s bladder become more consistent/scheduled/organized, and to prevent accidents on the floor.
  • Gradually increase the time.
  • Don’t bother with treats or stickers or charts.  Instead, use lots of genuine positive encouragement, reinforcement and praise. This helps them internalize their success and motivates them to keep trying.
  • Begin early (12-18 months) by encouraging them to use the potty. But don’t begin actual potty training until they are legitimately ready (waking up dry, going long stretches with a dry diaper, and are able to pee on the potty).
  • If its not working, take a break and try again in a few weeks. The last thing you want is a kid that resents the potty.

Good luck! And make sure you reward yourself throughout the process. Its hard work! You earned it!

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Ashley Worthey

Saturday 12th of July 2014

My daughter is almost 2 and have been slowly introducing the potty. First, we just bought the little potty (1 for upstairs, 1 for down) and we just had her get used to seeing it in the house. We then encouraged her to sit on the potty (clothes and diapers on) and she is now comfortable to sit on the potty for 10 minutes or so. Then came our summer vacation and we took a break from it. As soon as we came home, I have been taking her diaper off so she can try to go and she has popped on the potty the last two days. Still no pee though. I'm all about plans and being as prepared as I can and was frankly terrified to start full on potty training. However, I like your plan and am going to try it with my daughter this week! Wish me luck!!!

katie olsen

Tuesday 10th of June 2014

I have tried to get my daughter to use the potty a few different times. She acts like she is scared to potty in it at all like she is doing something wrong. Ihave tried sitting on the regular one while she sits on hers everything she acts scared and its frustrating.


Saturday 17th of May 2014

With my son... it was my own personal nightmare (He was my first) He would even take off his diaper/pull-up/undies/cloth trainer and poop on my floor! Everywhere! He was always very sneaky and quiet about it! One day when he snuck off to the kitchen (Just before he was 3) I caught him in the act and rushed him to the toilet. He went in it and received so much praise (and some M&Ms because I was at my wits end and was ready to bribe by this point... my poor floors!) anyway after that day he kept going on the toilet... ALL the time. My husband was gone for one week for an interview. When he left we were tired and frustrated about potty training, and when he came back our son was potty trained! And after the first week he even stopped asking for M&Ms after he used the toilet! Now here I am with my daughter who just turned 2 last month and she started using the potty just before she was 1 (Off and on) and last night I put her to bed in panties and she woke up completely dry! We had 3 accidents yesterday, but 1 of them was my fault because we left the house and I forgot to see if she needed to go. Anyway so far so good! Don't worry moms it will happen for some almost overnight, and for others... not so much, but it WILL happen. Just breathe! :)


Sunday 12th of January 2014

Thank you for posting this! My daughter is 3 (December 22nd) and isn't potty trained yet. With the help and advice you have given, it has given me new ideas and a hope for an easier way to potty train her. Again, thank you.

[email protected]

Monday 13th of January 2014

Oh good luck!!! I hope its quick and easy for you (and her!) :) Thanks for commenting!


Thursday 19th of December 2013

What do you suggest for triplets? Am I to send all in the bathroom? Bc if I were to do ever 45mins per child and then about 20mins with eachone in the bathroom I would never get anything else done that day and what are the other 2 kids suppose to be doing while I'm in there with 1? I don't have a big enough bathroom for 2 extra potty chairs.

Elias Wakefield

Saturday 21st of June 2014

I babysat a set of triplets while they were being potty trained. For this family, all three kids were potty trained at the same time, but they waited until the kids were past their 3rd birthday. (2 boys, 1 girl) It was straight underwear (no pull ups). I think the first few times all 3 kids would come in the bathroom and just take turns sitting on the toilet for 1 min or so. Then mom or I would bring one in at a time. They got an m&m for sitting and trying, and an extra m&m for success. There may have been stickers involved. If my memory is correct it took about 2-3 weeks for all three to be completely trained. If you have a teenager or family member who would be able to help the first couple days, I think you could do all 3 at the same time.

[email protected]

Sunday 22nd of December 2013

Oh my gosh, I have no idea how to potty train triplets! I think I would do them one at a time, starting with the one you think will be the easiest. And space them out a month between so you don't go crazy! Good luck!

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