it's potty training time… how long does this take?


So, we’ve finally jumped into the potty training madness. Josh and I kept waiting for signs of readiness from our toddler and then finally said, “Today is the day.” Now we’re two weeks in. We’re using a sticker reward system — she gets one for just going on the potty, two for successes. (The shiny and fuzzy stickers are the most coveted. She then uses them to decorate the potty.) Iris is clearly proud and liking the praise from us when she uses the bathroom. What I’m wondering is: How long until she’s completely trained? Oh, and we haven’t dealt with night-time yet. Should we soon, or make sure she’s mastered the days first? — Beth J.

From our partners
Mama Chilanga

My pediatrician said most kids are completely accident free during the day — even at school or away from home — by three. She said this seems to be true regardless of when kids start to potty-train.


Don’t use pull-ups! They just need to get used to the feeling of needing to go to the bathroom. With diapers and pull-ups there is too much padding so they just go. We potty trained our son in one week by going “commando”! The first day he held it for 16 hours! After that, he did much better. We just put him in regular underwear and explained to him that if he had an accident, it was no big deal. We would change underwear and cleanup. He had a couple of accidents on day one and two and never had anymore. He wore regular underwear to bed and has never wet the bed. We’ve found it’s better to just dive right in rather than test the waters and make a big deal about it. Also, we did it during the summer and took the week off so we could be there for everything.


When I began potty training our son stickers worked OK. So I began reseplaceing potty training a common theme seemed to be praise and positive reinforcement. I came across a website called We hung it in the kitchen and named the little boy on the front of the package, Bobby. My son could not wait to go to the potty so he could push the button, hear the praising message, and get his chocolate reward from, Bobby. It really got my son excited about using the potty himself and it was fun for him. Because he became so involved, potty training was easy. Within three days, he was all about using the potty on his own. So give it a try. Best of luck!


I thought this was a blog for “people who love their homes” not a parenting blog…


ha, yes I was thinking we could make it more relevant to shelterrific by comparing some of the cute potties out there (the baby bjorn model vs. the one from boon). :)
However, having a 2.5 yo myself, I’m glad to see this and read the tips! (My baby bjorn potty – ordered from Target – should be here today!).

In my experience, most kids are totally trained (day and night, with accidents only rarely) by about 3 1/2. If you start at 18 months, it’ll take 2 years. If you start at 3 1/2, it’ll take two days.

My advice: Don’t sweat it too much early on.

Good luck!




dont sweat the small stuff
i guarantee the kid will be trained when they want to be or before their 16th b/day
if not refer to dr spock

We had a really easy time potty training for going #1. We simply waiting until our boy was ready. We were lucky because he was ready earlier than most, but we never pushed it.

#2 was harder for him, but letting him go in the backyard (something he did anyway if I didn’t catch him sneaking around the corner) for about a month seemed to take care of it.

Just remember that every kid is different physically, not just mentally. Some kids have a harder time because they aren’t physically ready.


Jennag, apparently this is also a parenting blog and a wedding blog, although I prefer the shelter stories.

Beth J.

Thanks for all of the ideas and opinions. I know it’s not a straight home decor story, but the kid is, in fact, in our house. Another possibility: a potty-training story asking for carpet cleaning ideas.


We just went through this with our almost 3 year old. The key for us was using lots of praise and rewards and not getting mad when she had accidents. I took one full day of completely concentrating on her to do it (which meant having someone watch the baby for the day). I gave her a doll as a present in the morning and we named her and basically she helped me train the doll (with fake accidents and everything) in the morning then the rest of the day we focused on her going in the potty (wearing regular underwear) It worked! We use special “nighttime panties” or pull ups at night, but other than that, she is fully trained.


Is your daughter totally off bottles? That’s essential. Somewhere between 2 and 3 toddlers start waking up dry if their liquids are limited in the evening. That’s when they’re ready.

Potty training should only take a few days, a week at most IF they are ready. Buy some cute “big girl panties” (or boxers/briefs) with her/his favorite cartoon characters on them and tell your child “don’t pee pee on Dora” (or whoever) Make a big deal out of the big kid undies and using the toilet…this IS a rite of passage after all.

Make sure that your child always has access to a potty, that usually means stay home for the week you are training so that a potty is always immediately available.

Put a big jar of M&M’s on the bathroom counter and give her one for telling you she has to potty and sitting on it, two for pee and several for poop. If there is a special toy she/he has been coveting (like a doll or action figure, big wheel, whatever) BUY IT and leave it in the package in the bathroom. Tell your little one that’s the big prize for learning to go in the big potty and that they can have it when they go ONLY in the big potty with no accidents for 3 days and nights.

Get your child a potty seat or chair, whichever they are most comfortable with and use that for every bathroom visit. Get a little Rubbermaid stool she/he can stand on to wash her hands and have a special pump of kid soap just for potty training, a cartoon character or scent that is special to your child. Make the whole process pleasant.

Good luck!


I really thought my daughter was ready… she was removing her wet diapers, and asking about the toilet. we tried pretty hard or 2 weeks but she is suddenly not inerested. Accidents are the norm and we are abandoning toilet training at day14. C’est La Vie!

She’s 2…maybe in a month or so we can try again.


I just potty trained by almost 3 year old daughter two weeks ago. we used the dedicated two days to potty train her & gave her stickers & rewards. she has done very well (she doesn’t even need a Pull Up during naptime). However, we still do put one on her at nighttime. I figured once she is pretty set & accident free for a month then i will start to conquer nightime. Good luck—I know this isn’t easy!

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