Real Life Potty Training STories

About This Series

This is the eighth installment in our series of real-life stories about how real parents helped their children move from diapers to potty trained. We created it in recognition of the fact that all kids are unique and that no two potty training journeys are exactly the same. There truly is no better way to grasp what needs to be done (and to motivate yourself) than learning how other parents tackled this major milestone!

Introducing Karin

Our eighth story is from Karin. Let's learn about her potty training journey with her son, Judson.

Question #1 - Please Tell Us About Yourself and Your Family!?

Hi! My name is Karin. I'm married with one son, Judson, who is 25 months old. We currently live in Illinois, but our little family moves often because my husband is an officer in the Marine Corps. I currently work full time as a Special Education teacher for a public high school, and I run my own blog, The Try Hard Girl.

Boy Inspecting Potty Chair

Question #2 - When Did You Start Potty Training?

We purchased a little toilet for Judson when he was about 18 months old. I felt it was a long shot for us to start that early, but thought we'd give it a try and see what happened. To my surprise, Judson showed major curiosity towards his little toilet, so we started sitting him on it before his bath every night. After he went pee in it a couple of times, we took it as a very positive sign that he was ready.

These early attempts, however, were more about familiarization with the potty. Training for us really began in earnest when Judson started daycare at 24 months old (just six weeks or so ago if you're counting) because they were doing it there. We didn’t want him to come home and lose out on his progress during the day.

Question #3 - What Helped You The Most?

One of my good friends recently potty trained her toddler and she was a great resource. It was super helpful to have someone who's recently 'been there, done that' to bounce my questions and concerns off. I also surfed Pinterest for hours on end, the verdict is still out on how helpful that was lol.

Question #4 - How Long Did It Take to Click?

Judson started pointing to his diaper when he would pee just before he turned two years old—this is when things started to "click" for us. In terms of poop, it took us about a month of training for things to start clicking. By this I mean that he would recognize he had to go and would let us know about it.

Question #5 - When Were You Really Confident They Were Potty Trained?

Boy Inspecting Potty Chair

Oh my goodness. We are still very much in the process! Judson is 25-months-old now, and I still do not trust him enough for him to go out with only ‘big boy’ underwear. We are in no rush though. We absolutely do not want the potty to be a scary thing or something that Judson feels pressure over, so we plan to go at his speed.

Editor's Note: This mom is using a training approach that aligns with the 'Gradual Parent-Led Method' detailed in our blog, Making Sense of Different Potty Training Methods

Question #6 - How Did You Tackle Poop?

Poop is still a huge issue for us! Even after more than a month of official potty training, it seems like Judson is scared to poop on the potty. He has always kind of hid when he does it in his diaper anyway. So, whenever he mentions poop, we sit him on the potty. He does get a little upset, but I give him a small toy to hold. I sit on the floor next to him and encourage him to go! I bribe with ‘candy’ (Pixar fruit snacks are his favorite). On the whole, things are working but it's still very much a work in progress. 

Question #7 - What About Training Outside Your Home?

As a general matter, we currently try to make trips short. If we are going to the store or park, I make sure to sit him on the potty (or at least talk about going potty) before we leave. My son has some pretty predictable potty patterns: when he wakes up, after eating or before bath time. So, I try to work around him when it comes to travel!

Question #8 - How About Nighttime Training?

To be honest, we are still on daytime training. There has been ONE time that my son woke me up in the middle of the night and told me that he had to poop. I think he knew that he didn’t want to sleep in a poopy diaper!

Question #9 - Any Potty Training Hacks You Can Share?

Boy Inspecting Potty Chair

I think what’s worked for us so far is consistency. I put Judson on the potty after he eats and before he takes a bath every day. And, he has specific times that he sits on the potty at daycare. He understands that it’s something that he needs to learn. 

Question #10 - Any Last Words For Parents Just About To Embark On Their Potty Training Journey?  

I have found that it’s more important for my son to not be afraid of the potty than to sucessfully poop or pee in it every time. I don’t want to make it a punishment or something that he feels uncomfortable with. I let him have a small toy while he sits and candy if he goes. He put stickers all over the potty so it is a fun place to be, and it’s all his. At the end of the day, I think it's important to be consistent and keep it positive! 

More Interesting Reads

smiling toddler showing diaper bum happy

Real Potty Training STory No. 5

The fifth installment in our series. See how this actress in L.A. potty trained her two-year-old son in between auditions!

toddler smiling in onesie

Real Potty Training Story No. 6

The sixth installment in our series. See how this educator potty trained her daughter during summer vacation!

toddler sitting on potty chair

Real Potty Training Story No. 7

The seventh installment in our series. See how this fitness coach embarked on her daughter's potty training journey at 13 months old!