Potty Training 101

Posted on July 26th, by Senior Explorer in Parenting 101. No Comments

Dear Parent,

It is time for your toddler to make his/her next big transition, from diapers to underwear!  Remember when your baby was learning to crawl and you would get down on the floor and encourage him/her to come to you or those first few steps, when your words and smiles gave your child the courage to tackle what seemed impossible a few months earlier. Well, now your child needs you again to master his/her next life skill! Below are Urban Explorers tried and true rules for potty training. We ask that parents stick to our potty training program in order for the process to happen quickly, effectively and with positive results for both you and your child.

I have been potty training children for 25 years and this method has proven over and over again to be successful. Most children are using the potty with only one or two accidents per week within two weeks and by one month are using the potty all the time!


  1. Always send the message to your child that you have faith in his/her ability to master using the potty. (You do this by following the rest of the rules=)
  2. Diapers and pull-ups are ONLY for napping and sleeping! Use underwear or allow your child to go naked the rest of the time, if you are worried about accidents in the car, place plastic underwear on your child before getting in the car. Always use the potty before leaving the house and as soon as you get to your destination. (This includes school – if you are in a rush at drop off, your child’s teacher will take the child to the potty as soon as you leave.) DO NOT send your child to school in diapers or pull-ups and DO NOT place your child in a diaper or pull-up when you pick up. Using diapers and/or pull-ups is very confusing to a child. They cannot understand why it is okay sometimes too wet themselves and other times it is not. The no pull-up/diaper rule is the most important rule! Once your child starts waking up from naps/night time sleep dry, he/she is ready for underwear all the time.
  3. The naked method: At home allow your child to “go naked” (no pants or underwear). Keep a training potty close by and remind your child to use the potty for their pee-pee and pooppy (Those are the terms I use at UEP. Be sure to let me or your child’s teacher know if you use different terms at home.) When he/she accidentally goes on the floor or chair (they will) just clean it up and remind them to use the potty – It is okay to say “Hurry get to your potty”  when you see them having the accident, even if they are finished – It will help them make the association.
  4. Until your child is using the potty independently, you need to tell your child “It is potty time”. We take the children to the potty every hour. You should do the same at home. If it has been an hour since your child last sat on the potty, tell them it’s potty time and have them try to put their pee-pee in the potty. I offer a book for them to look at while they try to go and privacy. Many children do better without you watching. (This is very individual to the child and adult. Every kid is different and your child will give you cues to what he/she is comfortable with.)  FYI: Asking a toddler if they have to go potty is like asking them “Are you ready for a nap?” Their answer will usually be no.
  5. Do not start off with having your child use the adult potty. They are very intimidated by that. You would also be uncomfortable using a toilet that is twice as big as you.
  6. Never scold your child for a bathroom accident. Just kindly remind them that they need to use the potty the next time. If they get upset when they have an accident comfort them, they are usually disappointed, just like they would be if they couldn’t climb up the slide by themselves.
  7. Always have your child use the potty right before putting on their nap time/night time pull-up and as soon as they wake up. This needs to become a habit.
  8. Potty training has its up and downs. A month can go by with no accidents at all or your child may be using the potty independently and all of sudden he/she starts having several accidents a day. When and if, this happens take a step back in the process.  Just start using the naked method again, take the potty back out of the restroom and keep it close by, have your child go potty every hour again. He/she will soon be back on track. Do not revert to using diapers/pull-ups.
  9. Handle potty training as an everyday occurrence. Do not make a huge ordeal out of it. Give the same smiles and praise to your child that you would when he/she did anything that made you proud.  Always ask your toddler if they want you to share their success with families and friends. You never know when a child might actually be embarrassed, so sometimes it is best to discuss potty training with others when your child is not around. Watch for his/her cues as to what they want you to talk about.
  10. Do not offer candy/stickers when you first start potty training. This is something that should be saved for children that are having a very hard time with the transition and it usually is not necessary.
  11. The “stubborn child”: Many parents complain that they cannot get their child to use the potty when they say it is potty time. Do not fret! Just keep that potty close by and tell your child “There is your potty. Be sure to put your pee and poop in it when you have to go.” These children do best with the “naked method” as described above.
  12. Restaurants/Grocery Stores and “trips to Target” with your child: The best thing to do is put these on hold for two weeks. After that your child should be ready for a couple hours away from home and using an adult toilet.

These 12 rules are fairly easy to follow but they do require a commitment. With your help, we can make this transition easy for you, for us and most of all for your child!

UEP requires that you purchase and send in at least 10 pairs of training underwear (thick cotton ones usually made by Gerber and available at stores like Target) and 4 pairs of plastic covers (also made by Gerber and available on line. Some people have found them at Dollar General and Family Dollar). Your child’s teacher will let you know if pull-ups are needed for nap time.

Be sure to dress your child in pants/leggings that are easy to get on and off. No snaps, zippers or buttons.

If you have any additional questions please email me, Ms Jenni or your child’s teacher.

Thank you for your help and support during this transitional time for your child!


-Ms Jenni

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