Potty training the little man

I have to start by saying that I am in awe of my little manchild.

I posted recently about some signs of readiness for potty training, but I am a firm believer in not pushing the issue until I’m reasonably sure the child is ready.  The whole training process seems so much smoother this way.  Smoother = less stress for the momma.  I like less stress.  Less stress is good.

And so on Saturday morning, when I casually suggested that he might sit on the potty and he peed in it I tried not to get too excited.  He’s done it a few times before.  Instead, I just praised him, gave him a couple of chocolate chips, and procrastinated about putting his diaper back on.

A few minutes later, I loudly announced that I had peed in the potty and was going to have 2 chocolate chips.  Then I invited the rest of the household to do the same.  Most of the girls were gone, but those who were present all took me up on the offer with an appropriate amount of fanfare.  After all, who’s going to turn down chocolate chips in my house?

Then I gave the boy a cup of chocolate milk and repeated the process.  He peed again.  In the potty. Now I was excited.

Over the course of the morning, he had as many misses as hits and we spent nearly 3 hours straight in the bathroom – but he was interested and was actually having some measure of success.  I kept filling him up with liquids, and setting a timer to remind him to go potty in 15 minutes 10 minutes 6 minutes.  I got plenty of exercise lifting him onto the potty and holding him steady since he was bit unsure about balancing above the bowl.  (Yes, he sits for now.  Don’t remind him about the alternative just yet, please.)

Then finally, something clicked.  He suddenly understood the control mechanism.  I think it was the chocolate chips that did the trick.  He figured out that he could…ahem…save some…

And so we spent the next 2 hours in the bathroom enjoying that little breakthrough:  6 drops, 2 chocolate chips.  Jump off the stepstool, jump back on.  6 drops, 2 chocolate chips.  Jump off, about face, jump on.  Repeat.  He finally was getting himself into position, and even better he was developing bladder control.  In fact, his control was staggering, and I knew this was good practice.  “It’s good practice, it’s good practice,” I muttered to myself the 9,000th time…

Finally, I decided HE HAD ENOUGH PRACTICE, and we left the bathroom.

And that was that.  For the rest of the day, he took himself potty.  He sometimes asked for potty candy, and sometimes forgot.  He ran around with a bare bottom and t-shirt (“Please don’t put your pen** on the table, honey”) and had no more accidents that day.  Bowel movements?  One of those morning accidents was a bowel movement and he was thoroughly disgusted.  He’s so careful now, he does all of his gas in the potty just to be safe.  I’m ok with that.  Are you kidding?  I love that.

This post is part of Help For Growing Families, in the hope that other moms will find useful tidbit of info.


  1. Emily Secen says:

    My husband is from Turkey and males ALWAYS sit or squat there, so my son does, too. It’s not a bad idea. I’ve had 7 year old visitors who stand, come out of the bathroom with a pained expression and tell me that they accidentally peed on my wall. We’ll have to teach him how to use a urinal in case that’s all that’s available at some point, but otherwise, sitting is great!

  2. ”Please don’t put your pen** on the table, honey” sounds like something I would have said to both of my boys! They’re now 16 & 18 and quite well trained, lol. You’re practically there, even *I* can taste it!

  3. Lisa and Jeanie,
    Yes, he was born June 28, so he is 29 months. He’s just one or two months older than the girls were when they got trained, but I have to say that he was the easiest so far.

    Yes, I have to admit that I never expected to be issuing admonishments about keeping certain body parts off of the table. At least, not *that* body part. Elbows, yes. Chins, occasionally. Bottoms, even. But not THAT one.

  4. One of my friends is toilet training her second daughter. She bought her Dora undies and said, “Don’t pee on Dora.” Now, if Mia isn’t going to be careful, she puts on her Wiggles underwear.

  5. My eldest was completely potty-trained when she was 2 years and 1 month: day and night, poop and pee. The next five children were all over three when they finally were interested (beyond the few sporadic successes we had in the 2’s) and successfully trained. I had resigned myself to that. Then, a month ago, the older girls decided they were done changing diapers, and they had Abbie (2.5) potty trained, night/day/poop/pee within a week!!!! I did NOTHING! It was the most effortless potty training! I love having older kids! 🙂 I think that their trick was that they told her that the baby (in my tummy) was going to wear diapers, and that they’ll be for him. She decided that if babies wear diapers, she wasn’t going to anymore!

    Amazing. Now, we have 2 months of diaper-free life until the baby arrives! Wahoo! (And in 16 years of raising children, that has only happened once before!)

  6. You have me laughing hysterically here! I love that he figured out how “save some” and get extra treats! Very clever.

  7. LOL! This made me giggle…
    How old is he? You are right about not forcing. I am learning that it never works. My 3rd boy(4th child) has special needs and was close to 4. My other 2 boys were 2-2 1/2. My lil man is just 17 months so we will see….

  8. I laughed a lot at this post.
    Mine are WAY beyond potty training and sometimes you forget all those funny moments that were not always fun or funny at the time.

    Thanks for the time warp!


  9. Yay Boy! Good for him.

  10. Lisa in ND says:

    Thank you for sharing the potty candy! I didn’t try that with my boys but I’m going to with my daughter. She was born the same day as little Perry (6/28/06, right?), and we plan to be working hard in the upcoming weeks, as she wants some “pretty underwear”.

    My oldest boy trained easily at 2-1/2, but my youngest boy was over 3. He was very smart but just didn’t want to do it.

    Way to go, Mom!

  11. Jafeth is 2 and 5 months, he is probably about ready I am not sure if I am quite ready though… congrats to the little man!

  12. WOW!! I can’t believe he is potty training already. Great job : )
    My daughter will be 2 next week and we will be getting a potty after New Year’s. She was 6 weeks preemie so I don’t want to push her too much to start off with.

  13. Ha ha! That’s great! Congratulations!

  14. This is a hilarious post. Thanks for making me laugh! (at work, nonetheless)

  15. Hahahaha, I am laughing so hard “Please dont’ put your pen*s on the table”. Do you ever say things like that and just pause and think “I can’t believe I just had to say that”? Sort of like, “I know your pee looks like honey, but it’s not, so please no more tasting it, , and no more calling it Honey Pee”, which is a conversation we had when potty training our oldest.

  16. this just proves at 2 years old they have the ability to train. way to go little man.

  17. I must say, in all my potty training experience I never, never, never thought of having some potty candy to reward myself. What a wonderful example setter you are! 😀

  18. Wow! I think my 2 years-and-4 months boy is almost ready to start potty training, so it’s nice to hear success stories.

  19. How wonderful! My eldest was 2yo in March. We’ve had a good amount of sucess – but I’m not pushing it. For one thing, he’s just not motivated yet. I think he’s very close. We talk about it a lot. He knows a treat is just a tinkle away. But when it’s snowing and we’re trying to keep the house cooler and I’m trying to lay around so our third keeps “baking” a few more weeks to full-term? The stress is too much for me. Diapers over cleaning the carpet any day.

    I like it that we’ve had more “sucesses” than clean-ups. And maybe he would stay in diapers forever if I don’t eventually push him out of them, but I can’t help but feel that the longer I wait, the better off I am. I’ve seen too many friends clean up all kinds of messes from age 17mo – 2.5yo to want to rush it.

    So for now, we have the idea. He can get on and off by himself. He rarily doesn’t make it to the bathroom if he’s just wearing a shirt. And for right now . . . that’s enough. 🙂

    I’m in awe of your little man as well. It’s so encouraging to read about!!! 🙂

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