Potty Training Boot Camp Cheat Sheet

potty training bootcamp

If you are a mom of a toddler, no doubt you have heard of potty training boot camp. Let me break it down for you.

Most moms I know get really stressed out about potty training. It’s this huge transition like weaning and taking away the paci. BUT.




It does NOT have to be bad, horrible, awful.

I’m a fanatic about this approach. Everyone I know who did this has had major success. When I did it with my son just before his second birthday, he showed zero interest in using the potty.


I was SICK of changing dirty diapers. And sick of paying 1 million dollars a month for them.

From what I have read most children are physically able to potty train at 22 months. Potty training boot camp requires 1 thing that most parents find really difficult: staying home for 3 days straight.

I’ll admit with Ezra, we only lasted 1 whole day at home. But still the 3-day method worked great for us.

The first day he went through 17 pairs of underwear. The second day, he was down to 7, and the last day he didn’t have a single accident! I’m telling you, I was amazed.

Before I jump in with the basics, let’s talk about potty training gear.

I think when they are first learning, these little potty chairs really are the best. This Summer Infant one is $8 on Amazon. These little chairs are not super fun to clean, but they allow kids to keep their feet on the ground making bowel movements easier.

Once our son had it down, we ditched the tiny potty and got this seat you install right on the toilet. It’s amazing and way less disgusting. And also pretty cheap at $23.

Okay! Now here are the basics.

1 – Take your kid to the store and let him or her pick out new underwear. Do this the DAY BEFORE. Explain that tomorrow he will throw away his diapers and start wearing big boy underwear. Also, let him pick potty treats (I recommend M&Ms), stock up on juice and popsicles.

2 – When your kid wakes up the next morning, let him throw away the diapers (YES, REALLY THROW THEM IN THE TRASH). Don’t keep them or you will risk backing out and reverting. JUST THROW THEM AWAY.

3 – Put him in his new undies and NO PANTS. This part is important: The whole goal of the potty-training boot camp is to help kids make the mind/body connection. Until now they have ignored the cues from their body that they need to go to the bathroom. And probably ignored their wet diapers. They need to make the connection to what wet undies feel like and the feeling they get right BEFORE the wet undies.

4 – Give your kid lots of juice and popsicles. The first time he has to go pee, he will more than likely pee all over your floor. He hasn’t learned the cue from his body yet. DO NOT GET MAD. This is really important. You don’t want your kid to associate anger and

5 – Encourage your child to tell YOU when he needs to go. This is really important. Don’t ask him if he has to go potty. Put him in charge of it.

6 – The first time he has to go pee, he will more than likely pee all over your floor. He hasn’t learned the cue from his body yet. DO NOT GET MAD. This is really important. You don’t want your kid to associate anger and judgment with potty mistakes. This will only create anxiety and make the problem of accidents shameful.

7 – Let him know it’s okay and rush him to the bathroom to finish. Even if he doesn’t finish in the bathroom, give him a potty treat and praise, praise, praise! Call your mom and your best friend and brag on him! Then wait and repeat.

HINT: Buy some puppy pee pads and put them on your furniture. This will save you a lot of work!!

Here's your all-in-1 cheat sheet to potty training boot camp success!


Poop is a really hard thing for some kids. They often don’t even think about the concept of pushing when they are pooping. They just do it. Here’s what you need to remember about pooping in the potty:

1 – Be patient and loving.

2 – If you get angry this will only make it worse.

3 – You might want to give him prune juice to help make it easier at first. Some kids will just hold it instead of going.

4 – Some people put books or special potty toys by the potty to help entertain their kids while they relax on the potty. (Just keep sanitary wipes nearby.)

5 – If they have a poop accident, carry them to the potty and show them that the poop goes in the potty. It’s a hard concept to get, but they CAN DO IT. Sometimes it takes a couple of weeks for the poop to click. This is 100% normal so don’t stress about it!

About nighttime and naps

Some potty training experts say you should never use pull ups. I used pull ups at bedtime and naptime. I hate changing pee sheets. Follow your gut on this. Some moms won’t use them for naps but will use them at nighttime.

Kids will usually wake up dry by the time they are 3, but they can, in fact, go all night without an accident if you cut off their liquids an hour before bed and take them to pee before you go to bed. I did this for about a year with my son. I called it his dream pee. I would carry him to the bathroom, stand him up in front of his potty and even though he was half asleep he would pee and go back to bed.

Mamas who have done boot camp, what are your suggestions?

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