ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Poopapalooza: Toilet Training Your Child

Updated on August 27, 2020
crankalicious profile image

Allen is a parent with two kids. He knows stuff. Lots of stuff. Parenting is hard.

The Challenge of Potty Training

The purpose of this article isn't to instruct parents on how to potty train their child. It's more to recount how we potty trained ours. Also, I will offer one example of a method that was fairly successful given my expectations. There are many successful ways to potty train a child. So, I'm not going to claim that this one is best. It worked well for me.

In the pantheon of parenting experiences, potty training is one of those things many parents dread. It's also one of those parenting experiences that has a million different approaches.

In fact, I live in an area with a lot of goofball parenting theories. There are probably ten different daycares with ten different approaches within two miles. Similarly, I've heard of some potty training approaches that boggle the mind.

My favorite is the "free poopers" approach. That's where the child, at a very young age, just loses the diapers. The kid just goes in his or her pants until they get sick of being uncomfortable. I think this method is completely stupid. Yet, I know of at least one couple who made it work. To me, however, it seems to create unnecessary mess and stress. Most people want to keep potty training as unmessy as possible. Free pooping sounds messy, really messy.

Labeled for re-use.
Labeled for re-use. | Source

My Approach to Potty Training

The parenting approach my wife and I decided to take when potty training our son was a low pressure approach. We introduced the concept of the potty when Tyler was about two years old, which was the point where he began to show some interest in it. However, it would be a mistake to say that this was the point where we began potty training.

In fact, very few children are ready to potty train at the age of two and it's only the foolish parents who will put pressure on a child to learn. Rather, we decided to let him become interested at his own pace. This is a point that's worth emphasizing. Pressuring a child to learn how to use the toilet is usually a bad idea. The more they feel rewarded and at ease, the better they will do.

While we had not read much on the subject of potty training, we had heard that most children will learn to use the potty when they are ready. The parenting problem that generally arises is that the parent thinks the child is ready before the child really is ready. Somehow we managed to keep from putting pressure on Tyler until he was two-and-a-half.

It was at that point that we began to feel a little frustrated because he didn't seem to be making any progress. Occasionally we would try to get him to go and he would refuse and our frustration would grow a little. Notice though how the frustration was entirely about us and not about him. He simply wasn't ready.

What's the Best Potty Training Method

See results


The breakthrough came as some of Tyler's daycare classmates began to use the potty and the subject would come up. Then we made the transition from diapers to pull-ups by showing him some of the movie "Cars" (though we try to avoid having him watch any television). Suddenly, he was interested in the pull-ups and understanding how to use them. His teachers noted that he was going through significant portions of the day completely dry.

Tyler had been wearing pull-ups less than a week when we decided to let him try underwear over the weekend. Though it was stressful that first day, he used the potty all weekend and hasn't looked back. He was about two years and nine months old when everything seemed to click together. We encouraged the potty use by bribing him with yogurt covered raisins and although we're struggling with how to wean him from this treat, we have to admit that they really worked. Truly, everything really did just suddenly seem to come together, exactly as we'd heard. Ultimately, our experience involved little pressure and little stress, the way I'm sure most people would prefer potty training to happen.

So, a few tips on potty training:

  1. Don't fight battles you can't win (from the book "Love and Logic")
  2. Let things develop naturally
  3. Introduce the idea, but don't pressure
  4. A little bribery is okay

If, as a parent, you can be patient with your child and let him or her develop the skills needed to use the potty at his or her own pace, you'll be a lot happier and a lot less stressed in the end.

Make it fun! (public domain)
Make it fun! (public domain)

The Second Child

Our second child, Mason, was a bit more resistant than our first. Tyler expressed interest early where Mason decided he just wasn't going to use the potty. Forcing him didn't seem to work. The other thing that didn't seem to work was bribery. Unlike Tyler, for whom the bribe encouraged him to try, Mason didn't seem to care. It wasn't until he was already going where he started to like the bonus of getting something. For Tyler, it was motivation. For Mason, it was just a bonus.

Mason's potty-training turned out to be a bit different, utilizing another method we had heard worked. Once he started going through significant portions of the day dry, we decided to devote a weekend to letting him wear underwear. We pulled the trigger on dropping the diapers all at once. We bought some particular brand of underwear that has a little extra padding to soak up accident, but we avoided using pull-ups at all because we heard that they can actually backfire because the child doesn't feel wet.

During the course of the weekend, we had Mason wear the underwear and encouraged him to go about every thirty minutes. Since he liked being resistant, he would often refuse. After a couple of accidents, we just started taking him to the bathroom on a regular schedule and giving him the opportunity to go. By the end of the weekend, he had made some progress, but didn't quite seem ready. We sent him to daycare in a diaper with underwear to practice. The next day, he wore the underwear and has barely had an accident since.

There's no understating the role of a good daycare provider in this process. They helped immensely because they continued the process we started at home and let us know when they thought he was ready. The focused weekend was a pain, but it was only two days and it really worked well.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Allen Donald


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)