My 5 Steps for Potty Training Progress

In Questions about potty training I was just starting trying to get some answers for the best way to approach potty training my 2 year old son. I have tried some things that didn’t quite work out and now am doing some new things. Notice in the title of this blog I said “progress” not “success”. We have been on this potty training road for 4 months with little to show, but I’ve made some changes to our approach and we have seen improvement in the past couple of weeks.

1. Rewards

The first thing we added was a reward system, in which he got a sticker for every time he uses the potty, asks to sit on the potty, and stays dry. The sticker itself is a reward, but for every 10 stickers he gets he can choose a small toy from a prize box. We he fills the entire chart he can choose from reward cards the include: ice cream/frozen trip, McDonald’s trip, park, using mommy/daddy’s phone, computer, tablet, or game system, a bigger $5-10 toy, or going to the pool. Potty Time was a section on a bigger behavior chart, but we decided to separate it and make the rate in which he got prizes different because he was getting overwhelmingly more stickers for potty related tasks versus the others. Some have warned against using a reward system, but it has been working for us. And there are rewards for some things in life so why not introduce working hard to earn things early on.

2. Cold-Turkey

I tried going turkey as in him wearing nothing on his bottom and it resulted in pees and poops all over the house. Then I started using pull ups. It was a big mistake to use them, at least for as long as I did. So we are going “semi” cold-turkey. For now he is wearing underwear while he is at home. When we are going out it public or daycare he wears pull ups. If we are going to a friend or family members house he will wear underwear and I bring the potty cover and a few changes of underwear and clothes. He will do this until the end of the month, then I’m letting his daycare teacher know he will not be wearing pull ups any more. We will keep them for night time a little longer, I’m not ready for those struggles yet. But this aspect was all me being prepared to deal with the inconvenience. I am ready to attack this thing head on now.

3. Characters

The thriftster in me was buying the generic hanes or fruit of the loom patterned underwear, but I saw much better results when I bought the more expensive underwear with characters he loves like Paw Patrol, Minons, Spongebob, Batman, and Ninja Turtles. But they cost SOOOO much, I still struggle with it at the register. There are sales now for back to school and he is in a boys 4 now so I’ll rack up while I can. The first day I put on a pair of character underwear he stayed dry. This hasn’t been the case everyday, but he has more dry day with them. So for now I will sacrifice a few dollars to save tons in diaper cost.

4. Timing

He is able to tell me he has to potty, but I cannot rely on that alone. There are 4 main times I automatically set him on the potty; before sleeping, after sleeping, returning home from daycare or going out, and after eating and/or drinking. At those times I sit him there for no more than 15 minutes. If he goes I will sit him down every 20 minutes or if he asks, if not I try again in 10 minutes. If he has an accident I sit him down every 10 minutes.

5. Talking

I feel like I am constantly repeating “If you have to pee pee go in the potty”, then it gets condensed to “pee pee in the potty”, and then its just “pee pee potty”. Every 5 minutes I’m asking and/or telling him “do you have to pee?” or “tell me if to have to pee.” I just want to engrave the concept that he needs to use the potty, not his underwear, or the floor. For some reason if I ask him where he is supposed to pee he will never respond and say “potty”, but if I ask him in a yes or no question like “are you supposed to pee in the potty?” he will say “yes”. I’m not sure if that has something to do with his cognitive development or if there’s some disconnect and its the reason he doesn’t fully get it. He seems to do better after he’s had an accident and his daddy talks to him in a very stern voice and tells him he’s disappointed and that he needs to try harder. Usually after that he stays dry. Either way we will continue to have these conversations until it finally clicks.

So these are some of the changes we have made within the past couple weeks to see progress and this horrible process. Why can’t humans be like cats and just know what to do? Things like night time training, and standing up to pee are on the back burner for right now. I’m not even too stressed about number 2’s since he doesn’t do those as often. We just need to get the main peeing under control then we will focus on the rest. Has anyone else had these experiences? What worked or didn’t work for you while potty training?

9 thoughts on “My 5 Steps for Potty Training Progress

  1. LoL I wish they can be like cats in that department…. I started potty training then stopped but I am going to resume when she is almost 3 😅😅😅 hope that’s a better age and good luck and just keep at it.


    • I’m still trying to get things down with my son. He’s pretty much day time pee pee trained. But he isn’t night trained and he waits until then to poop. I’m trying to build up the nerve to take night time pull ups away.


      • Oh I’m with you on the night pull ups. He uses the bathroom just fine its at night where im struggling as well. I’m wondering if it will be as difficult to potty training baby girl 🤔


  2. Potty training is tricky and requires patience. I had to train my twins twice. The first time, they weren’t quite ready but my enthusiasm made me start, it was a fail. I didn’t even stress much the second time because they showed signs of readiness. Just keep going, he will get there 👍👍


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