potty training: the scoop

After almost two weeks of potty training my not-quite-two-year-old (21 months to be exact), I’m proud to say we’ve said hello to princess panties and good-bye to diapers. I can’t express how proud I am of my girl! So many people were concerned she was too young, but after a little research – she met all the signs to being ready.

What do you need?

I highly recommend this 3-in-1 potty chair by ubbi. It’s a little pricier than some other potty chairs, but I love that it can be used as a potty, a potty seat (that fits most toilets), and a step stool. Recently I found this guide, and it seems to be a helpful tool when choosing a potty chair too. We purchased this stool from IKEA awhile back to help with hand washing and it’s the perfect height for Joy Belle.

I also recommend a fun new cup! We purchased this water bottle specifically for our training days, which she loves because it’s pink and has a straw; mama loves it because it’s easy to see how much she’s drinking. You’ll want your child to consume lots of fluid to help them understand the urge to go. Several sites recommended juice, but my child is a water only drinker, so a new cup encouraged lots of extra hydration. (We also love these cups!)

What We Did

We committed to the 2-3 day, don’t-leave-your-house potty training method that so many other parents rave about and I wanted to share our experience you. I’m hoping other parents (like you!) can benefit from our potty training ups and downs. For those unfamiliar with this method, here is how it is suppose to go.

Day 1, toss the diaper. Start the morning by telling your little one that today there is no diaper and nothing to catch their tee-tee or poo. Wearing nothing but their birthday suit, the day is spent at home encouraging your toddler to consume lots of water, juice, etc. Every 15 or so minutes, it’s time to potty or at least try.

Day 2, go commando. Start the day by dressing your toddler in a t-shirt or dress, but no undies! This makes going to the potty a bit easier, as they should be getting the hang of things.

Day 3, bring out the big girl panties/boy undies. With 2 days of training, you should have a well trained pottier ready to keep their new panties/undies dry and clean. Hooray, you did it!

As successful as I’ve heard this method to be, that wasn’t how it went for us. It took us a good 5 days before I’d say she was grasping it and really wanting to potty. Our experience:

Day 1, every 15 or so minutes it was potty time! My anticlimactic child wasn’t amused or enthused with her successful potty trips. So, I created a little potty chart with sticker incentive – she loves stickers. Aside from a few accidents, day one wasn’t so bad.

Day 2, forget everything we learned on day 1. Potty time was a challenge and she refused to go on the potty pretty much all day. I was so discouraged, but determined not to toss in the towel. (Voice in head: You’re about to have two kids in diapers, stick it out!)

Day 3, we’re back on track! Potty time every 15 or so minutes, only two accidents for the day. Happy mama!

Day 4, stick to the plan and keep announcing potty time! Now that she was getting the hang of it, we started having potty time every 30-45 minutes. One accident for day 4, yay!

Day 5, we brought out the big girl panties (which she didn’t care about!). Up until this point, we still weren’t leaving the house. Confinement was starting to get the best of us all, so we decided to take the boat out on the river – we took the potty chair too. She was a champ and went potty like a big girl all day, with only one accident.

By day 7, I felt confident enough to say my girl was officially potty trained. Yes, she’s still had a few accidents since then – but all in all, she’s doing great. We encourage her to potty before all outings and take the potty chair with us. (The seat is removable, so it’s easy to carry into public bathrooms.)


Helpful Tips

Potty Time. For us, it worked best for me to tell Joy Belle, “It’s potty time.” rather than asking her if she needed to go. It seems to be a method that generally works best with our toddler. So often I try to make things more fun by asking her, “What do you want to wear?”, “What do you want for breakfast?”, or “Which hair bow do you want to wear today?”; when the reality is, sometimes children need to be told what to do. In this case, she needed a little reminder that it’s time to go potty.

Stay positive. Day two was discouraging. I felt like she regressed drastically overnight. From willing to go, to refusing to sit on the potty, I felt like a failure. However, I reminded myself to stay positive and continue encouraging her – whether she actually went potty or not.

Incentive. Joy Belle can be easily motivated by food (like her mother) and stickers. Since I didn’t want to be cooped up in a house with a super hyper toddler, I opted for pretty princess stickers as a reward. Stickers were the trick for us and even though I thought I’d be giving her stickers for years to come, she was really over the prize by day 3. We also did a lot of reading during potty time. She loves to read and almost always requests a book.

Stay consistent. By day three, I was ready to give up, but everything I’d read prior said to stay the course and no matter what – do not give up. Children tend to thrive on consistency. So whenever our 2-3 day potty training didn’t go quite as planned, we decided to stick with it and keep encouraging. After all, each child is different and it may take some of them a bit longer than others.

Potty time on the go. Outings are inevitable and if you’re like me, you dread public bathrooms, especially with a curious toddler; which is why I purchased the 3-in-1 potty for those necessary moments. We stash the potty seat in the stroller or backpack during errands. However, I’ve found it to be easier to just take the potty chair with us. It sits in the backseat of our car and I make potty time happen before we leave the house and before we head back home. It’s kept lots of accidents from happening on (even short) car rides home. But for those carseat accidents, I purchased this waterproof seat liner but this similar one would work too.


I also found our diaper sprayer to be especially helpful when dumping and cleaning #2 out of the potty chair. And these flushable wipes have made clean-up easier too! For on the go, I keep a wet bag in my purse and grocery bags for #2. Gross, I know. I’ve also stashed a roll of paper towels and Honest Multi-surface or Bathroom Cleaner (their free trial size is the perfect on-the-go size) in the base of her potty chair.

Memorable, embarrassing, and now laughable moments:

  • #2 literally flying through the air as I ran my child down the hallway to the potty
  • Joy Belle gagging at her own #2 as we flushed it and said, “bye-bye!”
  • getting creative on the disposal of the first #2 on an outing (lesson learned: stash some grocery bags nearby)

Since potty training has consumed our activities for a few weeks now, Joy Belle has resorted to teaching all of her dolls to go potty. Just the other day she turned one of her blocks into a potty for Minnie and grabbed a book to read to her while she went potty. It was actually a super adorable moment and I was so impressed with her creativity of making a potty.

As you begin potty training your little one, I only hope you find our experience and my tips helpful. This entire training has been a learn-as-we-go experience and one I’ll probably never forget.

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