Let’s talk potty training. As with most transitions, Capri was a breeze and Walker took more work.

With Capri, we did the 3-day bare butt thing and we were shocked at how easily she picked it up. With Walker, our nanny first recommended we start with him right after he turned 2, which felt too soon to me but was willing to let her give it a try. I’d say the first attempt got him to about 75% potty trained, but we ended up deciding it was too soon. He was essentially peeing on the floor on purpose for attention so we put him back in diapers. At age 2.5 during the summer, when the weather was warmer, we decided to go full force.

I genuinely think potty training details – when you start, if they’re ready, what process you use – is one of those things that depends on the kid, but I’ve heard 2-3 is a good age to start for most kids. Boys are usually on the latter side.

Here’s what worked for us:

+  Books for everyone

We read this book before we started anything with Capri and ended up doing the 3-day bare butt training method. However, that book was super helpful on a subject Paul and I had no idea about.

I also ordered the kids books of their own so that we could start reading about the process / going on the potty, which definitely didn’t hurt. My kids liked these books: here, here and here.

+ Clear the weekend

Since we did the bare butt thing, we made sure we had ZERO plans over those 3 days. I had heard from friends how dedicated you had to be and that it was more successful when you could be on call for the potty every 20 minutes. I got a bunch of activities, art projects, and things to do around the house. You will spend A TON of time either in the bathroom waiting for them to go, reminding them to go, or cleaning up messes, so don’t make plans and your life will be easier.

+ Let them pick big kid underwear

This was more incentive for Capri than Walker since she cares more about clothes. We let both of them choose their own big kid underwear before we started so they’d be excited.

+ Set reminders

Honestly this is the worst part of the process, IMO. We had to remind the kids to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes. Our nanny recommended this timer watch with Walker, which meant we didn’t have to set an alarm 10000x a day – and he liked it. We had him wear this for a couple of months after he was ‘trained’ because it takes time to get them fully used to trying often.

+ Give rewards

What worked for us was giving the kids treats every. single. time. they used the potty during the naked weekend. Capri also liked this chart, so I think it depends on what motivates your kid. After she filled it out, she got to pick a present.

+ Make it accessible

I highly suggest choosing a bathroom near where your family spends most of the days to be ‘the potty’ during training. We got the kids a ladder seat for them to access the toilet and be more comfortable. There are also kid’s toilet seat covers and mini toilets, so I think it’s just a matter of what suits your kid / bathroom situation. I was just not down to put a mini toilet in a room that a toilet would not be found in, such as the living room, kitchen, etc. We do have a mini toilet but it sits next to the “big” toilet in the bathroom.

+ Invest in a waterproof mattress pad & extra sheets

We put our kids in pull-ups at night and naptime while training because I have heard far too many stories of kids wetting the bed multiple times in one night. Absolutely not. I will say, both kids woke up with dry pullups after about a month. To me, that was worth not having to deal with accidents in the middle of the night. However, once they were done with the pullups, the waterproof mattress protectors and pads are a must.

+ Bring the potty everywhere

I swore I’d never be this mom, but here we are. This was MAJOR, especially with Walker, and we still bring our portable potty to this day in case we’re somewhere without a bathroom or only really gross public ones. You’d be surprised how often we use that damn thing in the trunk…

WANT MORE LIKE THIS? You might like Walker’s Big Boy Bedroom Transition and Baby + Toddler Transitions.