Quick and Easy Potty Training? It Worked for Us!

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We are exactly six and a half days into our potty-training career. Libbie hasn’t had an accident since day 4. Now before you say anything:

  • Yes, I know she is not done with accidents forever.
  • Six days? I know I am not an expert.
  • Sadly, we’re experienced major regression in the area of sleep due to the potty success.
  • But seriously. NO MORE DIAPERS!

We are so very proud of our big girl, especially since on the afternoon of day 1, this is what I was Tweeting:

Libbie really is insanely stubborn, but I knew she was showing all the signs of readiness. She could go hours without having a wet diaper. She knew when she was going. She didn’t like the way the diaper was rubbing her.

Encouraged by a friend who recently had a very successful potty-training run using the e-book at 3daypottytraining.com, I took some tips from her and a lot of advice from Little Llamas’ Potty Training 101. (Much thanks to Amanda for sending me the link to Little Llamas!)

Here’s what we did, and I hope you’ll have the courage to take the potty-training plunge!

1. Wait. As Little Llamas puts it, wait for readiness (but not necessarily interest). Up until this point, our method had been to put Libbie in undies and see if she would go to the potty. She had gone a few times, but entirely on accident. Then we’d get frustrated and stop trying.

We decided to wait until she was good and ready—and until we got back from Disney World! Secretly, I hoped she would just get up one day and decide she wanted to potty. She really is that kind of child. But it didn’t happen. At 32 months, it was high time to undergo the challenge and she was mentally and physically prepared.

2. Reward. My best friend and I took Libbie to the store to pick out a reward. You want something that has multiple pieces (a set of cars, a Lego set, baby doll accessories, etc). We gave Libbie several choices and let her pick one. Libbie chose a play purse set that has necklaces, bracelets, a perfume bottle, a phone, and a lipstick. (Similar to this adorable cupcake one!)

Libbie was also allowed to choose a salty snack, a kind of candy, new panties, and stickers.

We set up a sticker chart. For every time she got any pee in the potty, she got one sticker. (#2 also earned a sticker as well as a piece of candy.) (It’s really weird to write a post about poop and pee.) For every 10 stickers, she got one piece of the reward item. Often we reminded her, “Let’s get another sticker so you can get your phone! Only two more stickers to go!”

The first day, I would occasionally give her small rewards for being dry—things like an M&M or a baby puff (something she loves but is supposed to be just for baby brother!). Mr. V and I instituted something we think we should copyright, the Dry Five. We often asked if she was dry; and, if so, she got high fives from everyone present, including baby brother. Dry Fives all around!

3. Timing. For three days, I set the microwave timer to go off every 20 minutes. When it beeped, she had to try to go potty. Occasionally she was resistant, but we just kept putting her there. (She did wear a Pull-Up for nap and nighttime.)

4. Push Liquids. I know this is not what everyone wants to do, but it’s the path we took for the first two days. Feed salty snacks so that your child is thirsty. Let him/her drink a favorite drink. A lot of it!

5. Accidents. Every time she wet her panties, we expressed disappointment. We did not try to shame her or discipline her.

6. The toilet-paper method. By the end of day 1, I was SUPER frustrated, because Libbie would sit on the potty, stand up, and almost immediately have an accident nearby. She hadn’t gotten one drop of pee in the potty.

I decided to try a new trick: placing a piece of toilet paper in the potty. That way, I could tell if it were even the teensiest bit wet. Quickly, Libbie caught on and squeezed a few drops onto the toilet paper. We made a HUGE deal about it since it was her first success and she almost immediately went several more times in the potty. Woohoo!

7. Commitment. Libbie did not leave the house except for brief stints in our backyard for 4 days. I left briefly one day to run to the post office, but Mr. V was in charge. Mr. V was also able to handle most of the David duties so I could concentrate efforts on Libbie. We were all a little stir-crazy, but it was necessary.

You can’t turn back, either. We started Day 1 by saying, “NO MORE DIAPERS.” We chose a baby friend to give them away to. Be strong. As I said, for us Day 1 was awful and I wanted to retreat back to the changing table. But as we progressed the payoff was totally worth the pain.


I don’t want to write a book, so I’ll stop there, although I feel like I should add 100 more things! Again, I HIGHLY suggest you read Potty Training 101 at Little Llamas. I used a lot of her wonderful tips.

These are some books we had been reading for months as well that helped Libbie get some of the potty-training concepts:

I also recommend Gerber training pants, which are panties with extra padding in the middle; that way, if your child has an accident, the urine doesn’t get everywhere.

What are your potty-training tips?

Linked up with Works for Me Wednesday and Things I Love Thursday (because I LOVE not having two kids in diapers!!!).

12 thoughts on “Quick and Easy Potty Training? It Worked for Us!

  1. This is incredibly helpful. I know a lot of friends who've had this kind of success with their toddlers…but they've all been girls. I'm going to go read all your links and see if anyone has tips for a boy who LOVES to use the potty but refuses to do it consistently. Congrats on your diaperlessness!

  2. Oh wow, this is a hot topic at our house this week. We are struggling with potty-training our 3 year old. He goes pee at school perfectly, will not go #2 there. And he will not do either at home. Flat out refuses. After reading your post and Little Llamas I am ready to dig in and win this battle. And I'm definitely buying those training pants! Thank you so much, this is an answer to my prayers this week.

  3. Congrats!! I know potty training is one of the most difficult things about parenting. It is so frustrating, nasty and exhausting. These are really super tips. For me, just having patience and getting super excited when my daughter DID go was what helped. But I did all your tips too, they are wonderful ones!

  4. I used the "Little Llamas" Method too and by day 2 we were accident free! And we went to Chick-fil-a and he went in the public potty on day 2 or 3. Score! We haven't looked back since!

  5. Thank you!! Our (incredibly stubborn)daughter will be three on Thursday and shows no interest in potty training. We're going to start boot camp on Sunday (after her birthday party Saturday).

  6. Yay Libbie! We also had some of the Gerber training pants (still use them as underwear!) and they were great. Under the Nile also has some good trainers.

  7. Thank you for this post! I think we're nearing the time of being ready for this. I get so overwhelmed by all of the info, but you have some great tips and make it seem achievable.

  8. We did the three day potty ebook on Alana and it worked great. Took a little bit longer for #2 since she only goes one time a day. Lot harder to re-enforce. I'll have to check out that little llama website when it's James' turn. i have never heard of that site. Hope you are well.

  9. Way to go! We've conquered potty training but now since my daughter is almost 3, we need to get rid of the pacifier… The very thought of the stress associated with that makes me start to shake! Any upcoming posts of that issue??!!!!

  10. Caroline, We pretty much went cold turkey with the pacifier. I'd be happy to give you my few tips if you see this – shoot me an email!


  11. Pingback: Potty Training My First vs. Third Child: the Bad and the Ugly | Chattanooga Moms Blog

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