Learn How to Potty Train in a Flash

Choose the quick-training technique that’s right for you and your toddler.

We talked to two veteran “quick-train” moms—Amanda Glasgow of Ft. Mitchell and Heidi Osterhage of Erlanger—to learn their tips and tricks for success with potty training.

Ready: Osterhage’s son didn’t like wet diapers and was dry through the night, so he trained at 15 months. Her daughter saw big brother going potty and wanted to try; she trained at 1½. Glasgow’s daughter was showing interest, while her son was staying dry at playtime and naptime; they trained at 2½. Children older than 2½ sometimes have trouble breaking the Pull-Ups habit.

Set: Our moms chose three consecutive days when they could stay home. They had underwear with favorite characters and cleaning supplies at the ready.    

GO! On day one, Glasgow put her kids in underwear, while Osterhage let them go naked from the waist down. Osterhage chose interval training, taking them to the potty every 15 minutes, gradually increasing the intervals. Both moms also waited to see cues they had to go, then rushed them to the potty.

On days two and three, both prompted their children with, “Let me know when you have to go potty.” Glasgow says, “It’s giving them control over their bodies.” Osterhage taught her children to signal with sign language; if the interval was longer than 30–40 minutes, she would say, “Let’s go potty.” 

Accidents: “I tend to stay positive, because they’re learning,” Glasgow says. Osterhage acted sad while cleaning up messes: “Oh, no. Mommy has a mess to clean up!”

Success: Osterhage made a big deal out of every success, while Glasgow used praise plus incentives, like one toy dinosaur from a bag full, plus a larger item to work toward. Moms have been known to make up celebratory potty dances. 

Glasgow recommends quick training, saying that once her children trained during the day, they were trained at night as well. “Both children were different, but it worked for both.” 

Osterhage says that for each child, it was quicker to learn one skill (peeing/pooping) over the other. “The first day is very hard—don’t give up!”

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