Potty Training Worked For Me-A Dry Approach

Potty Training Worked For Me-A Dry Approach

I wasted a lot of time worrying about potty training with my first child. I thought it was going to be an awful experience and that he would never go on the potty. I didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt and that was my biggest mistake.

I’m currently in the process of preparing to potty-train my third child who at 24 months is wearing underwear at home and going to the bathroom on the potty sporadically. We will be applying the following Dry Approach Method in the next couple of months to get him fully trained.

I will admit-some kids are harder to train than others. Some show interest and some won’t go near a white throne to save their lives. But if you are ready to begin potty-training, these tips will help. They worked for me!


1. It’s best to begin potty-training between ages 2 and 3 but expectations must be appropriate depending on their age and even their gender. My 24 month old is not going to be fully trained and have no accidents or sleep through the night without a diaper. But he can use the potty, begin to indicate to me that he is ready to go to the bathroom, and start wearing underwear at home.

2. Keep in mind that there is usually no “good time” to train as far as our busy lives go. You just have to do it.

Preparing For the 3 Day Potty Training Dry Approach:

1. Choose a weekend or a time when you will have someone else around to help you-spouse, family member etc.

2. Commit to dedicating your entire 3 days to potty-training and clear your schedule from all other activities.

3. Purchase underwear for your child. Make sure you have plenty of pairs on hand in case of accidents.

4. Load up on fun drinks, popsicles, sweet treats, and candies for rewards.

5. Have cleaning supplies ready for accidents and mentally prepare yourself that accidents happen-don’t freak out, just go with it.

6. Buy one more significant item that will be a final reward for the completion of the potty-training marathon. My first son was into trophies and I ordered one online that had his name on it!

7. The day before you begin, explain that you are going to teach your child how to use the big girl or big boy potty just like you use and that they are going to have a fun time! Explain to them that they will get some fun surprises!

8. Plan to use the big potty in the bathroom instead of little training potties. I wanted my kids to use a regular toilet, so that is what we trained with. Feel free to use a small seat insert to make them more comfortable. For boys, go ahead and sit them on the potty to pee unless they show interest in or are already standing to pee. Then sit them down to try for a poop.

Begin Potty-Training Dry Approach:

Day One:

1. Begin by putting them in underwear but leave other clothing off-shirts are okay but certainly no other pants.  Take them to the potty in the morning and then from then on, take them to the potty every 15 to 20 minutes. The goal here is not to pee or poop although that may happen. The goal is to check for dry pants!

When you get to the bathroom, tell them that you are going to see if they are dry and then ceremoniously check to see. Cheer wildly for them! Then tell them they get a treat for keeping their pants dry after they sit on the potty. Place them on the potty and encourage them to pee or poop. They may not be able to do so, but that’s okay. The goal was to keep dry, not go in the potty just yet. Give them their treat.

If accidents happen, just clean it up graciously, tell them that they can try again to keep their pants dry next time, and continue with the process. When they do go pee or poop in the potty, treat it like a party! Be encouraging, celebrate, and affirm them. Remind them that going in the potty helps them keep their pants dry and clean and that they will be rewarded for dry pants.

2. Keep giving your child fluids.

3. After 20 minutes is up, take your child to the potty and check to see if they are dry. Repeat step 1 until naptime. Remember, you are not rewarding them for peeing or pooping on the potty-but for keeping dry. They will begin to feel successful and confident.

4. At naptime, put a diaper or pullup on your child.

5. After their nap, repeat steps 1 and 2 until bedtime and then again put their diaper or pullup on for nighttime.

Day Two: Repeat the steps from Day One.

Day Three: Repeat the steps from Day One.

After the 3 Day Dry Approach:

By this time, your kids' focus will be on keeping their pants dry and by virtue of focusing on that victory, they will feel confident about using the potty. They will also understand the process and even be going on the potty regularly.

Continue to use diapers at naps and nighttime until they are dry during that time period when they wake up. I allowed my children to do this naturally on their own time and before I knew it, within a month or two of potty training, they were also dry during sleep times. I still rewarded my children with a candy treat for keeping dry and going on the potty for a couple of weeks after the marathon. Then I gradually explained that at the end of the day they would get a treat, etc. You can use your own discretion about this but I wouldn’t stop cold-turkey after the 3 days.

That’s it, friends! I would encourage you to think positively about this process-even enjoy it! You are doing what parents are meant to do-teaching and training your children with an important life skill. That’s awesome! I’ll be praying that the dry approach works for you and that equipped with practical steps, you can potty-train without stress and enjoy the process!

YOUR TURN!! Do you think your child is ready to potty train? How does this method look different than what you thought you might try with your child?

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Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory. Psalm 115:1

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Amber Lia

A former high school English teacher, Amber is a work-at-home mom of 4 little boys under the age of 10. She is the best-selling author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, say Something New. She and her husband Guy own Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly TV and Film production company in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach, or searching for Nerf darts all over her house, you can find Amber writing to encourage families on her blog at Mother of Knights (www.motherofknights.com).