THIS IS THE METHOD I USE TO POTTY TRAIN YOUNG (AND HOW YOU CAN TOO!)

I said I was going to write what I know and… well currently, I am potty training my youngest. (Insert cheers!) I am so over the diaper stage! 


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Other than the fact that diapers are the worst, there are a few reasons why I potty train young.


I have years of experience potty training countless kids, including my own, so let’s get right to it.


When potty training young, remember, you are essentially potty training yourself. 


What I mean by that, is that your young 2-year-old won’t have the cognitive ability to tell you every time they have to go to the bathroom. 


You’ll have to remember to take them every hour or so at the beginning, but we’ll get to that.


With my oldest son, I began potty training him when he was 19 months old. 


His little sister was due two months later and I couldn’t have two kids in diapers… for financial reasons and because I wanted to give the baby as much attention as possible. (Also, I thought my oldest was a big kid when he was 9 months old… you live, you learn.)


The method I used was the same one I used when I was an assistant teacher in a SPED preschool classroom. We mainly potty trained non-verbal kiddos on the spectrum. 


The method is a bit intense and works well for really young children as well. 


It essentially requires you to clear your schedule for a week (sometimes longer depending on their cognitive function.)


Step 1: PUT THE DIAPERS AWAY!

 

Once you start, do not put your child in underwear while they’re awake ever again. 


You will be tempted to because the first few days will make you want to throw in the towel. 


(Note: If you are causing your child distress during this process – major tears, screaming etc… It may be best to wait a couple more months. You do not want to stress your kiddo out.) 


Switching between diapers and underwear during the day is super confusing for them. 


Also – NO pullups. It is essentially just a diaper and does not have the right effect in making them aware they’re wetting themselves.


I do still do diapers at naptime and bedtime. 


Some people choose to forego them entirely, but in my experience, the interrupted sleep in changing them and their sheets in the middle of the night is just not worth it.


Take their nighttime diapers off once they wake up dry longer than a month.


Step 2: DO NOT GET ANGRY WITH YOUR CHILD!


You may think this goes without saying, but it can get really frustrating. 


You will be cleaning up lots of accidents. 


It’s okay! 


It is all part of the process in training them to recognize what their body is doing. 


Try to keep your tone positive when they have accidents. 


Step 3: Set a timer to go off every 10-15 minutes.

 

Have your child help you pick out the timer. For my first, we used the sound of a dog barking. 


Every time he heard the timer, I’d have him touch his undies and repeat, “I’m dry!” then I’d say, “Yay! You’re dry! Good job! Pee pee goes in the potty!” 


After a while, he’d hear the dog barking and touch is undies and announce that he was dry. 


(Ever seen the episode of The Office where Jim trains Dwight to salivate for a breath mint every time his computer restarted? It’s like that.)


Step 4: Set another timer to go off every 30 minutes

 

Pick out a different timer sound, and when they hear it, they’ll know it’s time to sit on the potty. 


When it goes off, take them to sit on the potty and say, “Okay, go pee pee in the potty!” 


They likely won’t the first few times. Sit for no longer than a minute or two and try to keep it lighthearted and fun.


Sing a song or read a short story, then get off the potty and say, “Okay, stay dry! Pee pee goes in the potty! We’ll try again later!” 


Then, just like step 3, they’ll start to run to the potty when they hear that timer.


Step 5: Accidents

 

They’ll be feeling their dry undies throughout the day a lot, so when they pee, have them touch their wet undies and say, “Uh oh! You’re wet! Keep your undies dry! Pee pee goes in the potty!” 


Then take them to the potty immediately, have them sit and clean them up. 


After a while, they’re going to start to register that the wetness in their undies should go in the potty. 


They may seem like they don’t care at the beginning, but having their day interrupted over and over again will start to get annoying, and they’ll want to pee on the potty. 


During the first week, make sure they’re drinking a lot of liquids. Juice, water, whatever they like so that they’ll have to pee a lot.


Step 6: How to handle the crap

 

Now, this will take much longer. 


Be careful that you don’t make your child constipated during this process. 


Make sure they’re getting lots of fruits and veggies and drinking lots of fluids.

 

Currently, it took about a month and a half for my 2-year-old to tell me he had to poop and actually fully went on the potty. 


He would finish in the potty a few times when I caught him pushing, but now he’s starting to tell me before he goes! 


You know your kiddo’s “pooping window” so make sure you’re paying attention to them during that time.


Generally, they’ll try to go hide somewhere. When you see them trying to poop in their undies, quickly move them to the potty. 


Sing songs, play a youtube video on your phone, read a book… but sit there long enough to give them time to do it. 


My kids don’t like when I’m looking at them when they poop (who does??) so I tend to just wander my eyes around the bathroom as I sit on the stool in front of them. Avoid eye-contact at all costs or they’ll freeze up and the praire dog will return to it’s hole. 


When they do drop one, make a BIG deal about it.


Jump up and down clapping, have other family members congratulate them, even give them a treat if you want. (We stopped doing treats after my first because it lasted almost a whole year. Every time he pooped, he wanted an M&M.)


If you notice your kiddo holding in their poop and becoming constipated, just allow them to finish in their undies (I know, sorry.) once they start. 


Promptly take them to the potty and dump the poop in the potty and say, “See? Poo poo goes in the potty! We go poop in the potty!” (This whole process is quite gross, but I promise they won’t poop in their pants forever!) 


Hopefully, you don’t have a kid like mine who would take his poop out of his undies and feed it to the dog, or set it on the windowsill behind my reading chair leaving me wondering what that smell was… 


Yeah, gross. So, PAY ATTENTION to them during their “pooping window”.


After your child starts peeing their pants less frequently, you can extend the timer sound to check for dry undies from every 10-15 minutes to more like every 30 minutes, entirely your call! 


This process seems daunting… aaaaand that’s because it is. 


I potty train young so they start controlling those bladder muscles young. 


The longer you wait, the harder of a time they’ll have.

 

Also, most places require three-year-olds to be FULLY potty trained (wiping, pulling down pants and doing all their own biznass) before going into childcare.


My two-year-old is a month and a half into potty training and has no pee accidents. I still have to take him to the potty when I see his “poop window” approaching and remind him where poo poo goes.


 But, I promise, they will not poop in their undies forever!


You got this.


How far are you in the potty training journey? What key takeaway did you learn from this post? 


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