Dear Jill,

We have twin boys. They are having trouble going to the bathroom doing the “number 2” way. I’m looking for advice!


Dear Lisa,

Oh the joys of potty training.  Do you know at our house…because of the ages of our kids…at one point we were potty training and driver training at the same time?  I remember that season well! But I digress.

Let me start by saying that even my most stubborn potty training kiddos did not enter high school in diapers. No matter what challenges you are facing, it’s important to keep that kind of perspective in front of you. 🙂

I will answer your question by sharing with you general potty-training wisdom from moms who have gone before you.  For those of you reading, please feel free to add to the wisdom I share today—that’s the beauty of Q & A Day. I get the conversation going and you can add to it!

For this particular post I started with my wisdom from training 5 children, but I also consulted my daughter Anne who just successfully potty-trained their almost 3-year-old daughter who also struggled going “#2” in the potty.

1)      The key to potty training is to wait until your child is ready. Don’t compare your nearly 3 year old not-yet-potty-trained child to your neighbor’s almost 2 year old that is already potty-trained.  Each child is different (and with twins…you might find that even though they are the same age, they may potty train weeks or months apart) .

2)      Give potty-training a try for a couple of days. If they are not picking it up, put the underwear away and try again in 3 or 4 weeks. When they are ready, they will pick it up rather quickly.  When they are not ready, you will wear yourself out trying to make something happen that they are not ready for yet.

3)      When you are teaching them to go potty, let the timer do the “reminding.”  Set a timer for about every 30 minutes. When it goes off, that is the time to head to the potty.

4)      Keep books by the potty. This is a great time to read to your preschooler.

5)      Reward immediately. Praise and clapping goes a long way to reward a successful potty stop. Stickers work well as do small candies like M&M’s.

6)      Train little boys to sit to go potty (their wife will thank you some day).  As they get taller they can learn to stand and go potty (if you throw  a Cheerio in the toilet and tell them to aim at the Cheerio, it works wonders to improve their aim.)  By teaching them to go #1 and #2 in the sitting position, it also helps #2 to sometimes come on its own because they are in the right position.

7)      If you’re really having trouble with them going #2 on the potty, let them run around without underwear.  It takes away the option for something else (their diaper or underwear) to “catch it.”  Most kids don’t like the idea of it not having somewhere to go so they learn the potty is the only option.

8)      Encourage. Encourage. Encourage.

9)      Resist the reaction of anger when they have an accident.  You want going to the bathroom to be a positive experience for your little one.

Finally, #10 is to take care of yourself in the process. Potty training requires a lot of patience on your part so you can handle the accidents when they happen.  If you are tired and they have an accident and you react in anger, it makes pottying “unsafe.” This raises their anxiety and doesn’t produce the results you’re looking for.  Get the sleep you need and make sure your emotional fuel tank isn’t on empty so you can provide them the leadership they need.

What about you? What wisdom would you add about potty-training? 

Want regular encouragement?

Subscribe to get Jill's latest content by email.

(You can view our privacy policy here.)

Powered by ConvertKit