child sitting on small toilet

How To Potty Train A Toddler (in 5 Days or Less)

With four potty training sessions under my belt, you’d think I’d be an expert on how to potty train a toddler.

Not so much! Every child seems to throw you a loophole in one way or another, and it’s up to the parent to figure that one out. 

My first child was trained at 2yrs, 2 months

The second, at a year and 11 months. 

The third was trained at 2yrs, but wasn’t really speaking yet so getting her to communicate her need was a struggle. 

With my last daughter, she was trained to pee at 2 years but then suffered from constipation for months because of high anxiety about the toilet. This led to yeast overgrowth, and more. 

My baby is soon turning two, and my thoughts are turning towards potty training him. I am super excited to put the diapers away!

As a mom, I find it thrilling when I can take out my pretty purse again when we go to town, instead of the diaper bag. 

Potty training at the age of 2 has always been our thing. Almost always I get impatient and try before their 2nd birthday. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not. 

My top tip for potty training toddlers is to give it a week.

No More. 

If your child is starting to come to tell you when he or she needs to pee by the end of the week, you’ve won a big battle.

Will there still be accidents? Yes, of course. It’s unrealistic to expect perfection right away.

Some children have accidents occasionally for months on end. These accidents should be occasional, though. Not every day.

If after a week of training and your child is still not making any progress, put the diapers back on. Please. 

It only discourages him if you keep pushing. Give it a month, then try these steps again. 

5 Steps To Potty Training Your 2 Year Old in 5 Days (Or Less)

Step One: Clear your schedule.

Potty training works best if you are able to stay home for a week, with minimal distractions.

You will still need to do the laundry and make meals, but if at all possible, go away as little as possible. 

Step 2: Start on a Monday. 

This is just my preference.

Some prefer to start on a weekend because they have more time to focus on their child. Our weekends are when we usually go away, so I prefer to start on a Monday.

This gives me five days to have the training well on the way before we attempt a trip out into the public.

Going away is a distraction, and often derails the training that has already happened to this point.

Step 3: Toilet Time

Get out a small toilet, or a toilet ring like this one. A couple of our children have had a fear of the big toilet, so I recommend a small toilet.

It’s much more their size and makes them more comfortable. 

Step 4: Explain To Your Child.

On Monday or the day you are starting, first thing in the morning, explain to your child what you will be doing.

Be all excited about this. Act like this is the greatest thing he will do. Make him WANT to do this.

Step 5: Bring Out the Underwear.

Buy some new underwear for your child to wear. Buying some pretty ones, or ones with pictures is an incentive for the child.

Put them on your child, and show him what he should do. 

Step 6: Be prepared For accidents

Get out your mop, and a bucket of water. Cose off areas where you don’t want messes.

Our living room is in the center of our home, and this is not a place I want pee messes.

Close off these areas if you can. You will have messes. It’s part of the learning process.

Step 7: Bring out the Juice

Give your child LOTS to drink.

The more they drink, the more often they have to go, the sooner they catch on. The most difficult trainee is one who has the ability to hold up for HOURS.

Give them lots of water, as well as juicy fruits. Watermelon works great.

Step 8: Take her Every 20 minutes

For the first day, you will need to take her every 20 minutes.

With time, you will learn how long she has the ability to hold up. I start with 10-15 minutes, then work up to an hour. 

Step 9: Put her feet in warm water 

Some children are too tense to let go and pee. What is very helpful is putting their feet into a warm water bath, while the child is sitting on the toilet.

Warm water triggers the need for urine, so this often works. Also reading stories to your child on the toilet sometimes helps them relax.

Step 10: Give a special treat

Encourage! Don’t scold your child for making messes. When he does make a mess, use this as a training opportunity.

Reward his accomplishments. 

Every time he is successful in going to the potty in the toilet, reward him with 3 M&M’s. This gives him an incentive to pee into the bowl.

If your child doesn’t care for candy, give him something else that he loves to do.  

Give it a week.

If your 2-year-old has made no progress in a week, let it go. Put the diapers back on, and stop talking about it. 

Wait a month.

Then try again. Hopefully, you are successful the first time, but sometimes it takes 2 or three times. One of my daughters I tried at 1year 10 months, and again a month later.

Both times we failed. When she turned 2, it was like a switch had gone on in her brain. She caught on the first day, and by the end of the week, she was trained.

What about hard trainers? 

Some children fight training, either because of rebellion or because of fear.

My thoughts on potty training rebellious children are not to focus on disciplining when she makes a mess, but rather work on your child training in other areas of her life.

A stubborn child will not just be stubborn when it comes to potty training, but in other areas as well. Focus on those areas, and start training there.

Rule out a bladder infection.

Chances are she is fine, but this can make potty training difficult. If you suspect your child might have a bladder infection, see a doctor. 

Final Thoughts

Potty training is not something any one of us looks forward to, but I know we all look forward to having a potty-trained child.

It’s a process that is not the most fun, but the reward is big! Potty training your 2-year-old is possible in 5 days or less, but you need to be diligent.

Be encouraging and use this as a teaching time instead of a time of discipline. These steps will show you how to potty train a toddler, and give you quick success.

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