Oh Crap! How to Survive Potty Training Your Toddler

Oh Crap! How to Survive Potty Training Your ToddlerRight before my youngest daughter turned two, I thought to myself- hmm, I think it’s time to potty train her. My husband and I had started toilet training our eldest daughter around the age of 18 months, so I figured it was high time to start. Our firstborn was quite easy to train, but it did take a few months to click. With her, we went the daycare slash “let’s take you to the potty every 15 minutes” route and it was e.x.h.a.u.s.t.i.n.g. With kiddo number two, my energy stores were already practically nonexistent so I wanted to get the potty training over with ASAP. 

I started asking some friends how they had trained their toddlers, and a large number of my acquaintances overwhelmingly supported the pantsless method. I checked out the book Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki from my local library and read it from cover to cover. I would go on to re-check out this book 3 times! I understood the basics of this method but I wasn’t quite ready to implement it yet. I knew I had to be all in before attempting to give it a go, so I put the potty training off for a few more months. 

Flash forward to December 2020. My stash of diapers was dwindling {noooo} and my child had met all the potty training readiness markers Ms. Glowacki had written about her book. Singing the alphabet song? Check. Throws tantrums for no reason whatsoever? Check. Tries to sneak off to a private place to take a dump? Check check check. 

It was time. I girded my loins and told my husband that I had cleared our schedules for the upcoming week {not hard because well, Covid}. I double checked to make sure I had an ample supply of prune pouches {potty training constipation is a thing, y’all}, Clorox wipes, multipurpose spray, and paper towels. We rolled up the shag carpet in our living room and also busted out the leftover puppy training pads. 

In the Oh Crap! method, toilet training is broken up into 4 blocks. You should not move forward to the next block until you see that the previous block has been achieved. Here’s a brief summarization of the blocks:

  1. Can pee & poop in potty while naked {whether independently or led}
  2. Can pee & poop in potty while clothed but commando 
  3. Can handle trips outside of the house; able to pee & poop in unfamiliar surroundings {aka public restrooms}
  4. Night trained!!

On Day 1, I told E that it was time to throw the diapers away because she would be learning a new skill:: putting her pee and poop in the portable potty. Ms. Glowacki cautions that you should pick and stick to a phrase to help your child learn what action they should be performing. I chose:: “Go potty.” Ms. Glowacki also says that if done correctly, Day 1 of potty training should be the most exhausting day of your life. She was 100% correct. My only advice to make Day 1 less painful is to make it fun. We played with play dough, watched Disney movies, and made pizzas for lunch. E actually proved to be a quick study and managed to pee in the potty three times on the very first day. Yesssss. 

After Day 1, you really have to watch your kiddo and gauge their progress to know when it’s time to move on to the next block. For us, I kept E pantsless for a total of 4 days {I didn’t want to move too quickly and end up rushing her} but she probably would have been fine with just 3. I started putting pants on her {Ms. Glowacki is firm about not using underwear for at least 3-4 weeks unless your child is truly ready} on Day 5 and she was fully daytime potty trained by Day 6. Truly, by the end of the week, I was SO proud of my kiddo and she was OVER THE MOON excited about the new skill she had learned. 

If you’re getting ready to tackle this important milestone in your child’s life, take heart- it is not as bad as you think and you CAN do it!! Find yourself a shoulder to lean on {shout out to my BFF!}, lots of treats to imbibe in, and some grace to get through it. You got this!!

My Potty Training Toolkit::


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Cindy was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and raised in Sugar Land, Texas. She has a BS from the University of Texas at Austin in elementary education and a M.Ed in curriculum and instruction from Houston Baptist University. Cindy married her high school sweetheart, Stuart, after 10 years of dating. Stuart and Cindy are the parents of two beautiful girls and an adorable miniature schnauzer. In her spare time, Cindy loves to bake and try new recipes. In fact, her greatest ambition in life is to be a contestant on the Great American Baking Show one day. Cindy is also a huge Backstreet Boys fan and has seen them live in concert 9 times! Cindy has enjoyed writing her entire life and loves being a contributor for HMB.

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