Potty Training Resources

Emi Sano
11 min readDec 12, 2023
Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

I know I have written a Potty Training blog before, but that was really about my experience and not really a “how to” guide on potty training.

A few of my friends are just now starting their potty training journey with their toddlers and I’m going to make a post of resources for them to check in with.

First, I want to point out an Instagram account I found very useful: https://www.instagram.com/pottytrainingconsultant/?hl=en

Okay let’s begin.

Let’s start at the very beginning…

How do we know toddlers are ready to start potty training?

A big TELL: they indicate when they already went pee or poop in their diaper or they’re about to/going pee or poop.

A small TELL: they are interested in what you’re doing while in the bathroom.

What to do when they are curious about the potty?

Talk about it! Read books and watch little short educational videos about going potty. Take them with you when you go potty and then maybe have a little one set up for them to sit on or use while you go. Play with their toys and pretend they need to go pee and use the toilet!

Start changing their diapers in the bathroom standing up! Also would be a good time to let them sit on a potty while you’re getting a new diaper set up. They might to pee again (or end up going poop) and if they do… “HOORAY YOU DID IT ON THE POTTY!”

I also started naturally setting my toddler on the potty in the mornings when I changed his diaper and right before bath time. It was a good way to contain him when I needed to get a clean diaper or set that bath water up. Sometimes he would go and sometimes he wouldn’t. I never told him to go potty either, I just said “let’s try sitting on the potty.”

It’s never a “forced” event. Let it come naturally. If they feel like this has suddenly become a NEED TO DO type of activity — they’re out.

What happens when they become disinterested?

This happens often! My tip is: let them. Go back to it when they’re interested in toilets again. Of course, the first day will be exciting and it’ll be fun to sit on and go pee! Then when it because a task, a must-do, the stress that comes along with it will make them say, no, thanks. Let them become disinterested in the physical potty. Continue to read books. Continue to talk about. Continue to model what you do on the toilet. Pretend play with their toys. They’ll come back.

There’s so many resources, I don’t know what to do! How do I begin?

Take a deep breath. It’s not a sprint to the finish line. It’s a marathon. Take it day by day and don’t sweat the “accidents”. Lift up the “successes”.

Break down the methods please?!

There’s all kinds of potty training methods out there. There’s the naked method. The Oh Crap! method. Straight to underwear method… and if you wanted to start earlier there’s even Elimination Communication method that parents start with their children as infants.

Whatever you choose… don’t take it as the golden rule. Bend with your toddler. Use it as a guide and build off it with how your toddler is. Sometimes… they don’t want to be naked! Sometimes… they don’t like underwear! You never know until you start.

With each method I’m listing below it’s important to stress that you use gentle reminders about going potty and where pee and poop goes.

“Oh looks like you’re peeing! Remember pee goes in the potty not on the floor.”

This shouldn’t be a battle between you and your toddler. If there’s ever any strong emotions like screaming, crying, kicking, to go on the potty… maybe it’s not the best time to start OR you’re not doing the right method for them.

It’s also important to note that it’s okay to stop and try again a few weeks later.

Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

Brief list of potty training methods and my opinions on them based on what we did:

  • A Clockwork approach: set a timer and have them go on the potty whenever the timer goes off! I couldn’t find a specific resource on this one one. Lots of anecdotes. What most suggest is doing every 30 minutes and then expanding the time each day until you reach optimal time where they will start to know their own pee cues without needing a timer to tell them to go. Eventually you will phase the timer out and by then they should be telling you when they need to go every time.

My personal opinion: The only issue I had with this one was that he wasn’t really knowing that he needed to go and wasn’t feeling a full bladder and just emptying whatever he had at the time. When I stretched out the times to 1.5–2 hours it actually made him feel the fullness to where he’d empty the whole bladder and had some accidents in between. In the beginning, he used to go on the potty and let out a tiny trickle, be so excited he did it, and then get up only to have a full pee accident 5 minutes later. I only did this method the first two days.

  • Clean underwear method: Ditch the diapers. Let them pick out their underwear to keep clean for the day! Gentle reminders to go potty to “keep the underwear dry/clean”. Load them up on liquids and they should have a regular pee schedule (generally 30–45 minutes after they drink their water). This method sets you up for many many dirty underwears in the beginning so be prepared to have lots of laundry. It’s suggested to buy training underwear (the ones with padding in it) for the first few days. This doesn’t hold the pee in like a pull-up would but at least takes in a little so the accident isn’t as messy.

My personal opinion: We did this while doing the clockwork approach. This method faired a lot better than the timers. We did have lots of pee accidents and poop incidents, but it didn’t last very long. He was quick to let us know he has to go potty so he didn’t have to change his underwear. We did wear the padded underwear for a while until he stopped having accidents. It wasn’t a great absorbent tool if you’re looking for that, but it did help “pad” the amount of pee that would fall on the floor/bed/couch.

  • 3-Day method: It’s also known as “the long weekend” method because that’s usually when people try to do it while they’re off work. Some people do this in the summer too so they can have their kids play outside and not get the house dirty!! This is where they’re naked for three days and you have them watch them like a hawk for pee and poop cues throughout the day. Load them up on fluids and then have them go on the potty whenever they pee outside of the potty. Having them naked lets them physically SEE what happens when they release to pee or when poop comes out of their butt! For more help on how to do this method click here: https://www.thebump.com/a/3-day-potty-training

My personal opinion: Do this only if your child is comfortable with nakedness. Mine was not and we would only do one bottomless day. I’d have to say it did get him to stop his pees and recognize the poop cues a lot faster than I expected!! We didn’t get fully potty trained in three days but I only did the naked method for an afternoon because my toddler was not about the bottomless lifestyle.

  • Oh Crap Potty Training Method: Oh Crap! is a book that lots of people referenced when I was starting my potty training journey. I never read it, but the key points were what I’ve been saying. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Take it day by day!

About the book:

Worried about potty training? Let Jamie Glowacki, potty-training expert, show you how it’s done. Her six-step, proven process to get your toddler out of diapers and onto the toilet has already worked for tens of thousands of kids and their parents.

Here’s the good news: your child is probably ready to be potty trained EARLIER than you think (ideally, between 20–30 months), and it can be done FASTER than you expect (most kids get the basics in a few days — but Jamie’s got you covered even if it takes a little longer). If you’ve ever said to yourself:

-How do I know if my kid is ready?
-Why won’t my child poop in the potty?
-How do I avoid “potty power struggles”?
-How can I get their daycare provider on board?
-My kid was doing so well — why is he regressing?
-And what about nighttime?!

Oh Crap! Potty Training can solve all of these (and other) common issues. This isn’t theory, you’re not bribing with candy, and there are no gimmicks. This is real-world, from-the-trenches potty training information — all the questions and all the answers you need to do it once and be done with diapers for good.

I don’t have a personal opinion on this, but from what I’ve noticed I think I did something very similar to this approach!

  • Eye on the Prize: Prizes!! Who doesn’t love winning prizes? Start a sticker chart for successes and watch your toddler run to the potty so they can get their prize! They don’t have to be expensive prizes. You can get little knick knacks or fidget toys from the dollar store. Slowly spread out the amount of times they get their prizes so they’re not just doing it for a new toy every time they’re on the potty! A key point is to give lots of PRAISE as well as a PRIZE. When you phase out the prizes keep the praise going!

My personal opinion: I didn’t do this. But only because my toddler was 2 and he didn’t understand the concept of a prize or a sticker chart when we started. Now if I started potty training at this age he’s at, I would definitely do a sticker chart and grand prize! I think it’s fun to work towards a common goal and to have it being a positive experience of showing off their successes!

  • Medley: Take what you want from each method and put it in a way that supports you and your toddler!

My personal opinion: I think this is the best method. There’s never a one size fits all method when it comes to doing ANYTHING with your toddler. Take what you find works with your toddler and do it! You don’t need to stick to one method and keep forcing it to work.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Okay I’ve picked a method I want to do! What do I do now?

Remember to PRAISE and be super excited whenever they use the potty. This is a positive experience and it should be FUN for them. Never shame them for accidents. Don’t even make it a big deal.

Be prepared for lots of cleaning.

Accidents WILL happen. Have lots of towels, pee pads, sheets, set up wherever you’ll be. I bought reusable pee pads to have on the couch and beds. I was basically doing a load of laundry a day due to the accidents that happened.

I used a rubber play mat on my living room carpet and just only allowed him to play in that spot for the time being.

It was hard to keep him contained but it worked out for us as I was able to keep the potty on the mat too and we were able to just plop him on as soon as he started releasing pee or poop.

Lots of paper (and regular) towels and a few missed cues later, we were able to have a successful pee stop and finish on the potty after three days!

Have lots of liquids available… and prepare for lots of pee.

No matter the method you choose you want them to feel that full bladder. Have them hydrate a ton. Watch for pee cues! It’s usually when they’re dancing or holding their legs together that they really need to go.

Have lots of underwear ready.

If you choose to go straight to underwear, have lots ready to change. I bought about 12 pairs of underwear because that’s about how much I’d go through in cloth diapers for two days. I also used our wet bag to hold all the pee soaked clothes until I had time to rinse them and wash them later.

I also decided to forgo pants during this time. It was really a pain to have to change his pants AND his underwear each time there was an accident. So instead we just went underwear only and he was fine with that. Since we potty trained in the middle of winter I turned up the heat in the house so he wouldn’t get too cold.

Give yourself at least a week before going out to places or be prepared for accidents when you are in a new space. If you do need to leave the house, make sure to have them go potty before you leave and when you arrive so they know that they’re still needing to use a potty instead of wearing a diaper. I would avoid putting on diapers or pull-ups or use terms like “special car underwear” to avoid confusion and support the using of the potty when they need to go. When you are out, use gentle reminders to let them know to tell you when you need to pee.

Have a portable potty (or two) when you are traveling or out in public. I had a car one (any one that you can put a bag in to catch the pees and poop) and a foldable potty cover I could place on the public toilets. I had a tiny backpack that my toddler could wear and I would slip the potty cover in the bag so we always had it on us whenever we were out. It was SO handy.

Link for potty cover: https://joolbaby.com/products/travel-potty-seat

Bring with you lots of changes of clothes. Again, if you’re going out and about remember they need more potty breaks than you do in the beginning. Also, it’s a good idea to bring at least three pairs of extra clothes in case of accidents. If you need it… have pull-ups as a back up/last resort. I would really use those sparingly as it does add to the confusion where pee and poop goes.

Remember it’s not a sprint! So take it day by day. Always lift up the successes and never shame the accidents! Accidents happen and that’s perfectly okay.

I hope this was a valuable resource for you! Please let me know if I am missing anything and I’ll try to edit and update accordingly.



Emi Sano

Emi Sano is a self-published author of “Voices: a short story collection” and YA novella “We Don’t Talk About That.” She freelances as a writer/blogger.