How to Potty Train — According to a 3-Year-Old

Image Source: Lauren Hartmann
Image Source: Lauren Hartmann

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When it comes to potty training, everyone’s a critic.

The mere mention that you are working on potty training your little one is enough to elicit a laundry list of (often unwanted) advice.

But the thing is, every kid is different and thus, potty training is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Some kids may potty-train easily, some may find it challenging. Some will be pros not long after their first birthday, while others may still be having accidents at age four.

Every child needs to follow his or her own path.

That said, if there is anyone whose advice is actually worth taking, it’s the children who have recently been through it all and come out on top. Surely the recently potty-trained have some solid tips and tricks to share with their peers, right?

To test my theory, I interviewed my 3-year-old daughter, Fern, and asked her to share with me her best “tips” for her little brother, Clive. He’s only one now, but potty training is just around the corner!

Hey, Fern! Since you’re so great at using the potty all by yourself now, could you give Clive some advice since he’s going to have to learn to use the potty pretty soon? 

OK. What does advice mean?

It means when you help someone learn something by telling them how to do it. 

Oh. OK. What should I say to him?

Well, I’ll just ask you some questions. First of all, what does Clive need to know about using the potty?

He needs to know about wiping. You have to get toilet paper and wipe the front and then the back. He can use the big potty, but first, he has to use the little, white potty because he’s little. We can both practice going at the same time and I’ll sit on the big potty and he can sit on the little one and I’ll show him how to go. It can be a potty party! Ha! That’s silly!

How will he know if he has to go potty?

Oh wait … I’ll be right back. I have to go potty … [Goes potty, returns.] My body tells me — it says, “Go pee!” It feels like it has to go potty and it makes my tummy feel like it’s so full, like there’s a baby in my belly!

If Clive thinks he has to go potty, what should he do?

Go right away! Not just play with his toys or else he will pee in his pants. He should have Daddy help him in case he can’t find the potty. He can stand to use the potty, because he’s a boy. When he has to poop, he sits or he would poop on the floor. Then wipe. Then flush it and wash his hands.

What does he need to wear when he’s learning?

Undies! Maybe special ones with guys on it. What does Daddy wear, Mommy? He should wear that. And pants without tricky buttons so he doesn’t pee on them. He needs easy buttons.

(Mom note: Never underestimate the power of some awesome undies, but training pants are a great way for kids to learn the action of pulling on and taking off underwear without the guilt of an accident.)

What if he has an accident?

It’s not a very big deal. He can just change his undies and clothes. He can just keep wearing undies everyday until he goes potty in the toilet. He will feel happy and joyful. He can do it!

What is the best part about knowing how to use the potty yourself?

Washing your hands is fun. Also: wearing fun undies.

Starting your potty training journey? Visit the Pull-Ups® Big Kid Academy for tools, activities, and resources to make potty training fun for you and your toddler!

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