Several people have asked me how to potty train a 2 year old in 2 days. My fifth child just stopped using diapers at 23 months. Well, I’m no genius. I just did what my Mother told me to do.
Seriously, she didn’t coin the term “Naked and $75” but that’s basically what she did to potty train me and my sister when we were 2, without coercion or stress. And that’s the method I used.
Many people assume that potty training a 2 year old involves coercion or punishment, and reject it on that basis. Nope. Sorry, but that’s totally false. The idea that we need to wait for signs of “readiness” or somesuch is a modern idea and it’s nonsense.
“In past generations, most American children were out of diapers by 18 months” – See more at: https://www.parentingscience.com/potty-training-age.html#sthash.e9bfk0fq.dpuf (note the many studies referenced)
In many cultures where diapers are rarely used, infants are trained in the appropriate places and times to “go”. This is not abusive, and there are in fact many good reasons, both emotionally and physically, in favor of potty training at 2 or earlier.
All my kids were potty trained, even at night, at age 2. I believe that there is a window that takes place at around this age. If you miss it, your child will likely be in diapers for another year or so. No thanks!
It does take a relaxed attitude because of the messes that will happen, but the messes are important. All intelligent creatures are uncomfortable with soiling their living space, and toddlers are no exception.
How to Potty Train a 2 Year Old in 2 Days
If you want your 2 year old to potty train quickly and easily, the strategy begins months earlier.
Cloth diapers seem to encourage babies to train earlier. Babies can make the association with the uncomfortable wet feeling and the sensation of needing to “go” easier in cloth diapers.
I’ve noticed that all my toddlers are determined to remove their diapers at around 18 months of age. This is a sign of readiness that almost noone in our culture recognizes! And it’s a good time to introduce the potty.
Most babies will wake up dry in the morning when they are several months old, demonstrating that they are physically able to “hold it”. The idea that children take years to develop control is inaccurate. Parents all over the world demonstrate this when they practice elimination communication (EC).
Doing EC part time also helps you potty train your child at 2. (My EC’d kids trained several months earlier than non EC’d.) Part time EC could be as relaxed as just placing baby on the potty every morning first thing as well as after naps – most of the time they’ll go. At the very least, you’ll save a few diapers each day.
Let your toddler come into the bathroom when you go.
That way, they know what’s going on in there. You don’t have to get graphic, just talk to them about what toilets are for. If you are a woman at home all day with boy children, encourage Daddy to show ’em how it’s done. You don’t want your son to think that if they go on the toilet their equipment will fall off, like Mum’s obviously did. Strange, but true…some tots will come to this conclusion.
Talk about potty training with your toddler, beginning months before they’re 2. When you change your toddler’s diaper, talk to them about the potty. “Right now you go pee and poo in your diaper, but pretty soon you’ll go in the potty, just like mommy and daddy.” Sound friendly and easy and matter-of-fact.
Buy 3 or 4 of those cheap little molded plastic potties and put them around the house.
At least, one in each bathroom and one in the kitchen, or the room where you spend the most time with your toddler. Stick a towel underneath for the sake of your carpet if said child is a boy. Speaking of boys… you can take advantage of nature here by keeping an open mind. I know at least one 2 year old boy, who shall remain nameless, who was easily potty trained when his Mom let him go off the side of the (very private back yard) deck. I love the ones from IKEA because they’re small and fit into little bathrooms.
The spring or summer that your child is closest to 2, take two days off and don’t leave the house. It’s time to potty train!
Let your child run around nakeybums, or with an oversized tee shirt on so there’s no clothing to mess with once it’s time to sit on the potty. Every 20 minutes or so, place the child matter-of-factly on the pot.
DO NOT ASK questions like “Do you need to go potty sweetie pie!?” If you do, your child may answer no, even if they need to go, because they’re 2 and enjoy exercising their will.
Just cheerfully declare that it’s time to sit on the potty, and don’t ask permission. Don’t force it, and if he wants to get up right away, let him.
If you have a resistant child, set a timer to go off every 20 minutes. It’s amazing what a child will do when the power dynamic is taken away. When the “potty timer” goes off, it’s time to sit. Keep a stack of books nearby to encourage sitting a bit longer.
Use praise but don’t go overboard. This is the expected thing. It’s just what humans DO. Your kid doesn’t deserve a participation award for learning not to soil themselves and their space (the exception would be a child with special needs, obviously – they probably do need an award!).
Be cool. Say “You put pee in the potty, just like Mommy and Daddy” (and big brother, and that admired cousin, and the older play group friend…3rd parties are gold here!!).
Don’t make a big deal out of what’s happening. Don’t spend hours reading potty training books or videos to the child. Again, be cool. If you make it into a big deal, your child might resist. It’s better to be un-emotional and matter of fact. Like a very friendly cop.
Buy some “big boy shorts” or “big girl undies”. I hate licensed characters in principle, but this is an exception! Have these ready for the end of the two days. Your child will be less likely to have accidents if he is going to mess up his new undies.
When the inevitable accidents happen, don’t scold. Be patient and gracious. This is part of the job. Remember that even if you decide to spring for carpet cleaning, you will still come out ahead if you don’t have to buy diapers for another year or two!
And finally, the most important step of all: GET RID OF ALL THE DIAPERS. Children, even 2 year olds, are exceptional B.S. detectors. They will sense your sincerity and commitment, or lack thereof. You must get rid of all the diapers and commit! Otherwise, you’ll find yourself with a child who will hold their poop and beg for a diaper (I wouldn’t have stood for this type of nonsense, but know a kid who did this, and she ended up being a master liar and manipulator as a teen). Nope, nope, nope. Don’t fall for it mamas.
YOU know best mom, you are in charge. Do what’s best.
I waited with my daughter because I was due with my son when she turned two – and it did take another six months or so for her to get it and be done (which I think is my fault – not fault, but you know LOL). My son figured it out around 3 or so except a year later we are still wearing pull-ups (HATE THEM!) at night. 🙁 I don’t know how to train him to not wear one and admit it drives me crazy even if I don’t express the craziness!
Your advice is exactly what my Mom said to do though.
Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle says
So I know this is an old post, but I’m on my 3rd and still see great tips in here! I like the no BS and don’t make a big deal. I think both of those are key to getting the kids to do it, for sure.
I’m glad you enjoyed it Ember!