Potty Training Tips – How My Toddler Was Trained in Three Days!

This post is sponsored by Cottonelle, but my love for their flushable cleansing cloths is all my own!

I eagerly started potty training my daughter at 18 months because I wanted her to be trained by age 2.  As you may have guessed, that didn’t happen!  She sat on the potty and peed right away.  Yay, right?  Wrong.  She immediately started screaming because it scared her. *big sigh*

I tried again a few months after her second birthday.  This time I had a spiffy potty seat and was ready to dedicate three full days to potty training with the naked method.  I was pregnant and getting bigger by the day so I didn’t want to have to chase her all over the house dripping pee {or worse!} so we confined ourselves to our small office to play, color, and sing.  She wore a tank top and that was it.  We had fun but she never peed.  I had an alarm go off every 15 minutes and I would get really excited that it was time to sit on the potty chair.  I thought the potty chair would be quieter than peeing in the big potty and perhaps less scary.  She complied and we had a good day….but she never peed.  Not once.  All day.  Seriously, the kid held her bladder for 6 straight hours and she drank A LOT!  As soon as I gave up that evening and put a diaper on her she peed.

Day two of naked potty training didn’t go as planned either.  We did the same thing as day one but I upped her drinking even more.  For lunch we had watery foods, I kept her favorite Minnie Mouse cup full, and she could have all the smoothie drinks she wanted {which are usually reserved as special treat}.  We sat the timer over and over but she never peed on the potty.  …then out of no where she starts wailing!  She peed a tiny bit and she was screaming that she was dirty.  It took quite a while to console her and I decided that she wasn’t ready.  Maybe if I kept at it she would have been potty trained sooner but sitting on the floor playing and putting her on the potty over and over again was too much for this pregnant nauseous mama.  So I waited.

I waited till she asked me to sit on the potty…and then I made her wait some more.  That’s right, she was asking to sit on the potty and I told her not right now.  You see, I have had friends who have potty trained and I’ve heard them talk about running them to the bathroom and cleaning up messes…several times a day.  I couldn’t do that near the end of my pregnancy.  Kudos to the moms who do but I couldn’t take on that task.  I kept talking about the potty regularly and she would usually go in the bathroom with me.

Now, I have a successful potty trained two and a half year old who has had so few accidents that I can count them on one hand.  After two days of potty training with zero accidents we tried letting her go through the night with panties on and she did great.  She was practically potty trained in three days!!  How did I do it?  A lot of prayer!  Besides prayer, I really don’t think I have a super formula but I want to share what worked for my little girl in case it will help encourage someone else.

We Talked About Going to the Potty

We talked about going to the potty a lot.  Every time one of us went we made a point to announce where we were going.  Toddlers love to imitate their parents and I had hoped that if I made a big deal when I went that she would want to as well.

We Invited Her Friends Over Who Were Potty Trained 

We spent time with other toddlers who were potty trained or at least further along in the process of training.  Seeing her friends sit on the big potty made it the cool thing to do.

Mister Rogers Going to the Potty

We Bought Her a Book About Going to The Potty

She LOVES Mister Rogers!  Not only is it her favorite show but it’s the only show she’ll watch {with the occasional animated Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood which was based off of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood}.  When I found a potty training book that Fred Rogers wrote I knew it would be good.  I ordered it from Amazon and I was very pleased with it.  Mister Rogers has a way of addressing complicated issues in such a simple, straight-forward way.  I love how he never down-played children’s emotions and talked to them pretty much as adults.  I could go on and on about my love for his work but I’ll save that for another post.

Potty Seat

We Bought Her a Seat to Set on the Potty

Feeling secure on the potty without Mommy or Daddy holding her was important in helping her relax and get the job done.  After she peed with the seat for a few weeks she is comfortable with us holding her on there without the seat but it was handy {maybe even necessary} in the beginning.  We still use the potty seat downstairs where we are most of the time but we didn’t buy a potty seat for every bathroom in our house.

Cottonelle Fresh Care

We Use Cottonelle Fresh Clean Wipes

They make a fabulous transition from wipes to toilet paper.  A clean bum has never been easier!  Plus, they’re great for temporarily cleaning up accidents until you can give them a bath.  They’re moist, soft, flushable, and with their new packaging they are also super convenient.


We Reward With Treats

Early on in potty training it was so tempting to give her a treat for setting on the potty and trying but I held firm and waited until she peed.  Now she gets a chocolate treat of an M&M, or a frozen blueberry, or a craisin.  She doesn’t get to pick which one, we just alternate what we offer.

Travel Potty Seat

We Bought a Handy Travel Potty Seat

This little guy folds up nicely to fit in my diaper bag.  It even came in it’s own plastic bag that I’ve continued to put it in.  This gives me peace of mind when venturing out of the house.  I hate dirty bathrooms but when a kid’s gotta go, they’ve gotta go.

Princess Panties

We Bought Her Princess Panties

Her daddy made a BIG deal about her wearing princess panties when she peed in the potty.  After one day of a dry diaper we went to Walmart together and bought princess panties.  I didn’t know if they had them or not but after we promised them I sure had my fingers crossed.  Walmart came through for us but I was very surprised how expensive little girl’s panties are…and how rough the material is.  {As a side note, the ones I bought on clearance at Crazy 8 are much nicer if you’re wanting to spend the money or wait for a sale.}

When Daddy was telling her all about her princess panties she could get he also mentioned to her that she’s growing up so fast and pretty soon she’ll be starting school, she’ll have to get a backpack, etc, etc.  She clung to the fact that she would be getting a backpack.  After it was clear that she wouldn’t forget about it we said that if she kept her princesses dry for a week she could have a backpack.  Thankfully, I found a soft and small Winnie the Pooh backpack at a local consignment sale!

That’s about it, I don’t know why it worked but I just know that it did. As much as it bugged me hearing people say that “you just have to wait till they’re ready” and “you’ll just know when they are ready”…it’s true.  Waiting really paid off for me.  I would much rather have a potty trained kid almost instantly than six months of rushing them to the potty.  Having her communicate with me that she has to go is much nicer than me trying to know her potty schedule and remembering to take her.  I can’t promise you’ll have the results I did if you do everything like me because all kids are different but I want to encourage you that it will happen.  Your kid will eventually be potty trained!

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About Ashley

Ashley is very happily married and the mother to a beautiful little girl, and she is the main voice behind Embracing Beauty.


  1. Dawn Kropp says

    Cottonelle is my go-to brand for Toilet Paper, now i need to check out their fresh clean wipes. Thanks for letting me know about them 🙂

  2. redheadbabymama says

    We tried all of this last summer (Red was just over 2) and it was a straight failure. It taught him to hold his pee for 3 hours, but he still wouldn’t use the potty. Here we are, weeks before he turns 3, and he STILL doesn’t care at all to use the potty. *sigh*.

    • AshleyWalkup says

      That’s how my daughter was and it was discouraging….but he’ll get there when he’s ready. Everyone learns eventually!

  3. Robin Rue says

    My oldest was trained in a day, but my little man had no interest in training. It took him a lot longer.

  4. ♡ Toodies Momma ♡ says

    My daughter took potty training well but it was the #2 that we had a hard time with. The Cottonelle wipes helped SO much in getting her comfortable with going on the potty. Now she is fully trained!

  5. Terry My Journey With Candida says

    Great tips… but thank goodness I no longer have to think about potty training. I can’t remember how my Daughter did.

  6. Wow, you are good! Luckily daycare trained my son, it was so easy!

    • AshleyWalkup says

      Oh no, it’s not me. I think the fact that she was ready made a big difference. Daycare? That’s so nice!

  7. Rewards and big boy undies is what worked for our 3 year old! It took a couple weeks though – #2 was where we struggled until he accidentally went on the potty while peeing. Then, it was fine!

  8. Susanna Barbee says

    Great advice! This is very encouraging. We are about to start training our toddler.

  9. traceynicole says

    Awesome tips for moms in the potty training stages! Thanks for sharing!

  10. This is great! It took a little longer than 3 days, but my son potty trained rather quickly.

  11. Henrietta says

    I remember trying to potty train my daughter when she was around 2. She did very well and I thought we were all good, until one day when I was cleaning out her toy box — I discovered she had peed in it at least several times! Luckily, I used to sort her toys once a week, so it wasn’t too awful. After that, we had to have a discussion about how you must stop playing long enough to use the potty! Potty training is certainly an adventure!

  12. Veronica Solomon says

    Those are really good motivations to go potty. I love the princess panties

  13. Karen Koblan says

    That’s great! I haven’t even started potty training yet. I’m so not looking forward to it!

  14. Melissa Vaughn Coleman says

    3 days! Wow, I feel like it took a whole year for us. lol

  15. Robin Gagnon says

    Princess panties are a help.

  16. Beth@FrugalFroggie says

    The rewards we used were stickers and plastic animals. I still have one more to potty train.

  17. My girls were super easy to potty train. I just set a potty seat in the room, and let them get use to it. Then we started with letting them use it. It wasn’t a three day process, but it was a non-stress process. My boys on the other hand, were a pain in the tuckus. They just did not want to go on the potty. We had issues with one of the twins until he was 6 when it came to #2.

  18. Yes, kids that can do it will d it in their own time. I think the pressure of rushing them only delays it.

  19. The wet wipes were a good idea. Some kids are frightened by wiping with toilet paper. – Jenn @ The Rebel Chick

  20. lovenerdmaggie says

    I think it is helpful to let kids do it on their own time.

  21. SippyCupMom says

    These are great tips! We did 3 days with my son and we will also do it with my twin girls!

  22. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says

    Waiting paid off for me as well. It just won’t happen before it’s time, will it?

  23. I need to start now. My daughter is practically training herself. She’s been watching her brother. I think that’s helping.

  24. Mommy2jam says

    My toddler is potty trained however we still have accidents. I agree these are all great tips.

  25. Yes, I agree that waiting until they’re ready is important. If you try before they’re ready, it’s just wasted time. Ugh.

  26. Saving Said Simply says

    WOW, 3 days is impressive! We went cold turkey for 1 week and I thought that was fantastic!

  27. Keikilani Jackson says

    That is impressive! If I let my boys go naked during potty training they just peed on the floor!

    • AshleyWalkup says

      Well my daughter is a little OCD about being dirty and I’m sure it’s more fun for boys to pee anyway. 🙂

  28. We are about to start potty training in my house, and I have NO clue what to do. I am doing a lot of research.

  29. What girl doesn’t want princess panties! I’m glad that you were able to help her get over the fear of using the potty. It sounds like you listened to your daughter and discovered a way to encourage her!

  30. mail4rosey says

    That’s nice that the seat is able to fold up and go with you. And hurrah for finding the backpack! 🙂

  31. Onica {MommyFactor} says

    Potty training kids isn’t ever easy or mess free but if parents stick with it, kids will get it. These tips and tools will really help other parents and kids going through this process.

  32. Good tips! My son was not potty trained until he was almost 4! He would have NOTHING to do with it and one morning he woke up and said he wanted to wear underwear to school without his pull up. I promise you – not one accident. Slept through the night accident free and went on all week without having one. I wasn’t sure to be happy that (FINALLY!) he was potty trained or upset that he really could do it the whole time he just chose not to! LOL

  33. Krissy Higgins says

    Potty training definitely can be messy, but it’s easier if you are prepared! I love having flushable wipes in the bathroom (and in my travel bag) along with extra undies, and outfit. My son was a lot easier to potty train than my daughters!

  34. Alesha @ Full Time Mama says

    I found that there was no sure way with my kids; all 4 of them were different, but they all trained eventually. Still working on the night training with my 3 year old, but that will come in time…
    Those flushable wipes are the best!!

  35. My daughter also potty trained very quickly. We thought she was ready and tried without success so we quit. A few months later she expressed interest again and within a week she had it down.

  36. ToniPatton says

    Mine daughter potty trained quicker than my sons. But each of them were different.

  37. Lia Moore, Full Circle Eventi says

    My son was pretty quick! I’ve been told abnormal for boys. But we did 3 day method and commando! Worked great at 21 months!

  38. It definitely is possible to train your kid that quick if they are ready. The twins wasn’t ready that fast, but my youngest boy did it within a week. Great job Mom!

  39. My daughter took so much longer but my son was super quick. Just like your dottie.

  40. I want to get the fold up travel potty seat…thanks for the recommendation! And now that I know y’all like Mr. Rogers, I love you even more!! 😉

  41. What would make a three year old revert to pooping in her pants after going to the potty for eight months. We have never had a wet night, she sleeps in panties. I take her often but she clearly lets you know while she is on the potty that she will pee pee, not poopy. Then she will play for hours and suddenly get quite and in a place where she can’t easily be seen. She always says ‘I sorry’ during cleanup and hates being dirty or sticky from food. It is like it is her secret and she will not ask you to go potty, or tell you when she has. Any suggestions?

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