The 4 Most Popular Potty Training Methods

Don’t get overwhelmed with all the options out there to transition out of diapers. I’ve got all the information you need to pick the best potty training method for your little one!

The 4 Most Popular Potty Training Methods

Finding the Right Potty Training Methods for Your Toddler

Potty Training Methods

It seems like there are as many potty training methods out there as there are kids these days!

When deciding what method to use, so many things come into play. You have to think about your parenting style, your child’s personality, and weigh the pros and cons of each method. 

It’s not important what method you use, but it is important that you choose the right one for your toddler! So if you feel like your child is showing readiness signs for the big switch, it’s time to start your research.

To make it easier for you, I’ve detailed here the 4 most popular potty training methods.

Do I need a plan for potty training? 

Absolutely, you need a plan. If nothing else, a plan will help keep you sane during this process! Potty training can be stressful, and being prepared with a plan is so helpful. 

A plan can also help your little one have more security. Remember that this is all new and maybe even a little scary to them! If they know what to expect, they’ll feel more confident and be less likely to resist your efforts.

Don’t be afraid to get them involved in the planning process. Make it a conversation and talk together about how everything is going to go!

Potty Training Methods

Take a look and see what will fit your child best. Have another favorite method? Let us know in the comments!

3-Day Method

The 3 day method is tried and true! It’s the ‘ripping off the bandaid’ approach to potty training. After a few intense days, your child will be going potty on their own!

How it works

To use this method, you’ll want to pick 3 days on your calendar and leave them wide open. Plan on staying at home and bunkering down with your toddler. 

At the beginning of the 3 days, say goodbye to your diapers with your toddler and throw them out! 

For the next few days, you’ll follow your child around and look for signs that they have to use the potty. You’ll want to take the lead and encourage them to sit on the potty about every 20 minutes. Having a visual timer or a potty watch is really helpful!

If they have an accident, don’t react to it. Just clean it up and move on with the process. If they have a successful potty trip, make it a huge deal and reward them with prizes

There will likely be a few potty training accidents and a lot of bathroom trips, but most kids who use this quick method will catch on by day 3 or 4.

Usually, parents using this method will choose to do naked potty training, with their child just wearing a long tee shirt. You can offer potty training underwear once they get the hang of things.

You can also decide if you want to use a children’s potty or not. Either way is fine for this method!

Pros 

  • You can take more control
  • Proven to work for many kids
  • Great for busy moms
  • Less resistance from your toddler

Cons

  • Big transition packed into a small time
  • High pressure for your toddler
  • Potentially lots of accidents

What child is this best for?

  • Easy temperament
  • Late potty-trainers
  • Ambitious & excited to try new things
  • Reacts well to rewards

Montessori Method

If you’d rather have your child take the lead, try out the Montessori method which is often “toilet learning.”

How it works

The Montessori teaching style is all about meeting your child where they are at and facilitating learning with a child-sized learning environment. 

So when it comes to potty training, the Montessori method means that you’ll definitely want a kids potty, potty training stool, and anything else they need to go to the bathroom independently. 

When you start to train, you’ll start teaching your little one about the potty with their new setup and let them explore it at their own pace. If they want to try to go, then let them try. If they aren’t interested, don’t force it. 

The Montessori method doesn’t recommend big reactions for successes or accidents. Instead, just treat it in a way you would any other casual part of the day. 

I highly recommend getting oversized underwear or training pants if you are using this method because your toddler should be taking their pants off independently which is tricky with tighter pants!

Pros 

  • Developmentally appropriate
  • Low-pressure for your little one
  • Low-maintenance for you’

Cons

  • Lots of supplies.
  • Long process.
  • Hard to encourage progress.
  • Need to later transition to a regular toilet.

What child is it best for?

  • Independent 
  • Stubborn 
  • Child familiar with the Montessori style
  • Early-starter 

Child-Oriented Potty Training

Child-Oriented Potty Training is also led by your toddler’s pace, but there’s some simple to follow steps that will guide you along.

How it works

The Child-Oriented method is a slow transition to using an adult toilet. Though your child will decide when you move forward with the process, you can still have some control over the steps.

First, you’ll want to start with a period of learning. This might include potty training books for toddlers, songs, or just conversations about potty training. 

After they seem interested, introduce them to a small potty and let them explore. For the next step, let them sit on the potty with all their clothes on. 

Next, have them sit with no diaper, but don’t pressure them to go poo or pee. Some moms during this phase will empty diapers into the potty to explain that that’s where it goes. 

Once they are ready, encourage them to go on their potty! 

This process could take anywhere from a week to a year! It all depends on your toddler and the pace they want to take. 

Pros 

  • Good balance of control
  • Low pressure for your toddler
  • Helps build trust
  • Less accidents than other methods

Cons

  • Can take a long time
  • Lots of teaching and work
  • Some children may be hesitant without more encouragement
  • Frustrating for busy parents

What child is it best for? 

  • Independent
  • Kids who may resist potty training
  • Kids with early interest
  • Slow to warm up to new situations

Day-Only Method

This method is a broad hybrid of other methods where you only focus on potty training during the day!

How it works

This isn’t exactly a true “method” but it’s worth mentioning because it’s so popular! 

It can be pretty stressful to potty train, especially at night! A lot of parents choose to only focus on the day in the beginning until their child gets the hang of it. At night, your child would resume wearing diapers.

If you’re going to hold off on nighttime potty training, you can use almost any method. Child-led methods that tend to move slower will work great with using diapers at night. 

If you choose to do a more quick-paced method like the 3-day method, it may be confusing to switch between wearing and not wearing diapers. If you tossed the diapers all at once, it’s probably best to just keep the momentum going through the night. 

It’s completely up to you whether or not you want to try nighttime training right at first. Some parents love the break they get at night, but some parents say it’s easier to bite the bullet and be done with it!

Pros 

  • No stress about night accidents
  • No night wake ups
  • Gives mom and child a break

Cons

  • May break momentum
  • Can be confusing
  • May cause potty training constipation
  • Second potty training needed for nights

What child is it best for? 

  • Nervous about potty training
  • Kids that have trouble staying dry at night
  • Early-start potty trainers 

I hope this post was helpful for you as you decide how to potty train your child! Whichever method you choose, remember that it’ll be over before you know it. Soon you’ll have a big potty-going kid right in front of you.

Ready to Potty Train? Check out all these Potty Training Posts to help!

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