When I think about potty training, I have to shake my head. Our first attempt at potty training our 22-month-old was definitely a roller coaster. Even though I made sure I was completely ready and ‘informed’ as a potty trainer, it just wasn’t my daughter’s time to be potty trained. This article is about our second attempt at potty training.
Admitting defeat and putting my daughter back in diapers after the first potty training attempt was a very tough parenting decision. We went through three full weeks of ups and downs before throwing in the towel. As much as I felt that she was exhibiting potty training readiness signs and was capable of doing it, my toddler did not have the self-motivation to wear underwear and use the potty.
For our first attempt, we followed the Oh Crap Potty Training method as much as we could. There’s definitely a lot of merit in this method and it works very well for many toddlers. For our second attempt at potty training, we loosely followed the Oh Crap method, meaning we followed most of the concepts but I wasn’t afraid to toss in a few non-OCPT methods too.
If you want to read about our first attempt at potty training, here you go!
- Related reading: Our experience with the Oh Crap potty training method
How long to reset after first attempt
The author of Oh Crap, Jamie Glowacki, recommends a reset if your toddler is just not getting it after a couple of weeks. Although she recommends a reset of only a few weeks to one month, we ended up taking a 5-month reset.
After deciding to take a ‘reset’ and put our daughter back in diapers, my husband and I let out a huge sigh of relief. I knew that we had made the right decision because we were happy and not stressed out anymore, toddler included.
Ultimately, the length of the reset depends largely on your family and your toddler. I’ve read many success stories where parents took a reset of 3-6 months, especially if the first attempt to potty train was before two years old.
Second attempt at potty training – how it began
After the experience of the first attempt, I was in no rush to go through that again. Plus, I wanted to give my toddler more time to develop and experience other transitions like moving to the two-year-old room at daycare, settling into her big girl bed at home, and teething with her molars.
For our second attempt at potty training, I had originally planned to train my daughter at 28 months and took the time off work well in advance. Then, she gave us a huge surprise at 27 months. We found her a couple of times taking off her diaper and trying to sit on the adult-sized toilet! She was suddenly interested in the potty on her own.
After this happened, I made the decision to start potty training her a few days later on a weekend even though we would only have two days off before she went back to daycare. My feeling was that we had nothing to lose. If the experience was a disaster, we wouldn’t even have to tell the daycare and would just send her in a diaper as usual.
Loose rendition of the Oh Crap method
Although I had the Oh Crap method in mind as a very successful potty training method, I deviated in many areas and tried new tactics.
Here is a quick recap of the training blocks.
- Block 1: Pee and poop completely naked or naked from the waist down
- Block 2: Going commando a.k.a. pants with no underwear
- Block 3: Taking small trips outside of the house
- Block 4: Fully-clothed, including underwear
- Block 5: Self-initiation, no prompting
- Block 6: Nap and nighttime training
Day 1 of the second attempt at potty training
Our daughter did not want to be naked from the waist down this time and was more verbal about it, so we skipped straight to Block 2, which is going commando.
That first morning went amazingly and eerily well. She self-initiated two pees and one poop in the morning! I rewarded her with a little ‘prize’ each time. (Rewards are not OCPT approved.) For pees, it was a small piece of candy. For the poop, she got a juice box and a Ring Pop. Since she was doing so well, I skipped to Block 4 and let her wear her Baby Shark underwear.
In the afternoon, she had her first accident and we calmly explained to her that ‘pee goes in the potty.’ After the accident, we started to face some resistance to the potty. Resistance was huge during our first attempt at potty training, so I started to freak out a little. Were we going down the same path? Would she just start holding her pee again? Was this a mistake?
That afternoon, I started to bribe her with ‘prizes,’ which totally backfired. She would sit on the potty for a couple of seconds without peeing and ask for a prize. After another accident, my husband asked me to stop bribing her with prizes. I agreed – it was a horrible fail at trying to get her to use the potty.
At the end of Day 1, there were some successes and some accidents. It wasn’t nearly as exhausting as when we tried to train her at 22-months-old, which I took as a positive sign.
My daughter really upped the resistance on the morning of Day 2. She simply refused to use the potty and had 3 back-to-back pee accidents within a couple of hours.
Every time she had an accident, she was getting more and more upset that she had to change out of her beloved Baby Shark undies. After the third time of completely changing her clothes, it was nap time.
Since the morning was full of accidents, I was a little worried for the afternoon. I had to keep reminding myself that accidents were ‘learning experiences.’ After her nap, something must have clicked because she did not have any accidents that afternoon. It was surprising and confusing for us, but we just went with it. I can only guess that the discomfort of the accidents motivated her to stay dry.
On Day 3 of our second attempt at potty training, my daughter went back to daycare. During our first attempt, potty training at daycare was a very bumpy road for us.
Although the staff was very supportive, my 22-month-old daughter was still in the infant room at the time. They tried to transition her to the 2-year-old room so she could use the potty but she was very resistant to all of it. In that first attempt, we faced many regressions related to daycare before deciding she was just not ready at all.
For this second attempt at potty training, I had to take my feelings and expectations out of the potty training process at daycare because it was really beyond my control. On Day 3 of potty training, I let the daycare know that we had started potty training again over the weekend.
During that first week, she started using the potty at daycare! It wasn’t accident-free by any means. She was having at least one accident a day, but there were a lot more attempts and successes than accidents. Due to the daily accidents, I sent her in Pull-Ups in the beginning. I tried sending her in underwear, to see if that would make a difference with accidents, and it didn’t.
One month in
As I write this article, we have been potty training for a total of 4 weeks. Since the first two days of potty training, we have only had one accident at home. I’m not even sure that we would count this one accident because she self-initiated, took herself to the potty, and was struggling to pull down her underwear as she started peeing.
Otherwise, she is peeing and pooping on the potty like a champ at home. She self-initiates most of the time, which is Block 5. There are still times when I see her grabbing her crotch (*her pee sign*) and have to tell her to use the potty.
Although we are doing excellent at home, daycare is still a struggle. She continues to use the potty at daycare, but still has accidents. I’m not sure why because she is completely accident-free at home. I’ve spoken to the director and she tells me that they are taking her to use the potty and she is using it.
I’ve decided to give it extra time with daycare. What else can I do?! I know some parents have struggled with potty training at daycare and it has taken months! I recently spoke to another mom who has the opposite problem. Her daughter is almost 3 and will only use the potty at daycare, but not at home.
Potty training can be a confusing process. In time, I’m hoping she will become more verbal and 100% self-initiating, which may eliminate the accidents at daycare.
**Update**: Literally 1 week after I wrote this article, approximately 5 weeks into potty training, the daycare staff asked me to start bringing my toddler in underwear only. She was accident-free at daycare while wearing Pull-Ups!
Nap and nighttime training
We have had zero problems with nap and nighttime training. My daughter suddenly became dry at naps and nighttime shortly after we hit the reset button on our first attempt. Since then, she hasn’t regressed in this area.
It was very easy to start letting her wear underwear at night from the beginning of our second attempt. As I said, this potty training thing is confusing and it doesn’t make sense sometimes. Nap and nighttime training are Block 6 of the Oh Crap method and my daughter had this down before we started our second attempt at potty training.
Potty training is a process
I truly, truly believe that potty training is a process, even for those methods that tout potty training success in three days. And the process can take months. Like Jamie Glowacki says in her book, potty training is all about building successes.
Even though we are one month in and my daughter is doing great overall, I wouldn’t say that we are fully potty trained. There are still accidents at daycare. She is still using the little potty and won’t even touch the full-sized toilet except to flush it. On outings, we have to bring along the little potty chair everywhere.
Despite not being ‘fully potty trained,’ I am seeing successes and progress along the way and it’s amazing. On Week 3 of potty training, she learned how to completely pull up her underwear and pants on her own. Prior to this, we were pulling them up every single time! In the last week, she has learned how to turn on the faucet, wash her hands, and turn off the faucet completely on her own (with the help of a step stool and faucet extender).
These little successes are adding up and we are well on our way to being fully toilet trained. When will we get there? I don’t know. For most, it takes 3 to 6 months to master full toilet training. (Source) I really think that daycare slows down the progress a bit, but for some, it might not. Also, completing nighttime training can take years for some children.
The bottom line is that potty training is a process.
Three month potty training update
Wow, we are three months into potty training! Overall, it has been relatively easy and my toddler continues to build on her successes. In the past three months, we’ve had some pretty major potty training milestones.
We were able to go camping for an entire weekend accident-free! This did involve pulling over on the freeway a couple of times so that she could pee, but it was well worth it. She also recently transitioned to a potty insert on the adult-sized toilet. We had her pick out her own insert at Walmart, which was a huge motivator for her.
In the last month, we did have one setback, which was a small regression at daycare. For about a week and a half straight, she was having unexplained daily accidents. There were no major changes at home. I inquired about it at the daycare and they couldn’t explain it either.
Then, one day, it just stopped and she became accident-free again. Since there was nothing major going on at home or at daycare, my only guess is that it was a cognitive, developmental leap that threw her off for a bit.
Lessons learned after our second attempt at potty training
As a parent, I’ve learned so much about my toddler, her learning style, and potty training in general. I’m so happy that our second attempt at potty training was a success. I’m also excited for my toddler, who has gained a newfound sense of independence as a result.
Here is my biggest takeaway after this second attempt at potty training. When a toddler is truly ‘ready,’ meaning they want to potty train and are motivated to do it, the training process is so much easier. Our second attempt at potty training at 27 months was a breeze compared to our first attempt at 22 months. I do attribute this to the extra physical, emotional, and cognitive development during that 5-month reset.
Since daycare is part of our lives, I have also realized that the process really does take longer with daycare involvement. As a parent, my best advice is to let go of any expectations you have for potty training at daycare. It may go really well, or may not go well at all. Again, it’s a process.
Finally, we have decided that we will not start potty training our second daughter until she is around 26-28 months. We found that this was the ‘sweet spot’ for potty training.
Thank you so much for reading this article and I hope that our potty training experiences have helped you in some way along your potty training journey. If you have any comments, please drop them below!