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Potty Training Your Insane 2 Year Old: How to Potty Train Your Children

Updated on April 9, 2012

Ok, first off, my son isn’t really insane although it seems like it at times. One of those times is the unenviable time by which my wife and I are trying to “coax” our son to sit on his potty let alone use it for its intended purpose. No, it isn’t a stool from which to request a juice box or gummy vitamins, nor is it a seat to create a great up close vantage point to watch television. It isn’t even an object intended to hide hot wheels, miniature figurines, snacks, or other common items we as parents would rather not have our son use without a thorough sanitizing (one would think the snack wouldn’t taste good covered with Purell). Nonetheless, potty training a 2 going on 3 year old boy is no easy task. However, we have had some degree of success as of late through some techniques both discovered naturally by my wife and I as well as passed on to us from friends and family who have done through this same time in their own children’s lives. So what do you to potty train your toddler? The simple answer is ANYTHING THAT WORKS!

Friends, there is one 7 letter word that will tell you everything you need to know: BRIBARY. I think you know what I am getting at but I will give you, the concerned reader, and a few examples of what has worked for us to at least give our son some opportunity for success to lead him toward the brown and yellow promise land.

See No Evil...

Bribe # 1

You can play with my Iphone if you sit on the potty! I know a risky one right off the bat. I wouldn’t suggest this to anyone whose child is inclined to throw things randomly in fits of joy and or rage. It also helps if you have a few apps that will keep their attention while they are going through the arduous task of waiting for the golden waterfall to grace us with its presence. I recommend the Super why app, as well as any flash card app that your child enjoys success with and garners his complete attention. This method gave us our first, first thing in the morning success tinkling in the potty (and partially on the floor in front of the potty as it was indeed morning and he is certainly a boy)

Bribe #2:

You can have M&M’s if you go potty this morning! Everyone loves M&M’s right? A friend of ours told us that he was trained to use the potty as a child using this very tool. It worked for us as well. Flash back, our son often winds up sleeping in our bed for a good part of the night and by morning has often left quite the yellow puddle in the middle of our king size bed. As fun as this is, we were motivated to increase the coaxing to use the potty at this point. Thankfully he began waking up dry which makes it easier to achieve success because we could sit him down knowing that flow was imminent. Gummy bear vitamins can be used in place of M&M’s if you are looking to be both healthier as well as encourage your child to eat his vitamins.

Diaper Hat Pigtails


Bribe # 3

Achievement Stars. My wife came up with this idea after paging through numerous parenting magazines and finding that rewards (bribes) are a good way to make your child work towards a goal and be rewarded. We set up a magnetic dry erase board in our kitchen and whenever our son does something exceedingly well or listens to us when we ask him to; he gets to put a star on the board! We tell him that when he gets to 10 stars, he gets a present. The first one was a trip to Chuck E. Cheese’s. He was quite happy considering he had been begging to go about every 5 minutes of our waking lives over the previous 3 weeks. When he is successful going potty, he gets an EXTRA star to put on the board. This really seems to work and also helps your child put the idea of quantity with the numbers he is already learning.


Final Thoughts

The final thing I found helpful in our potty training efforts outside of bribery is a tactic a high school classmate of mine put on facebook as something she was trying with her kids. It is the “take off their pants and diapers” technique. In short, if I know my son is going to have to go to the bathroom first thing but is groggy and is waking up slowly, I take his diaper and pants off which is supposed to encourage them to hold it in instead of letting the diaper take care of the mess. If you are willing to risk the inevitable failure of this plan from time to time, I can assure you it really does work. My son started crossing his legs and giving other “tells” that may be out of his physical control but nonetheless obvious. I will try not to be crude and give any more description of the tell. I am sure you will figure it out.

Lastly if you can, convince your child that his or her diaper is indeed not a hat of any kind. Especially if it is used! J


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