The Key to Successful Potty Training


Our kids are definitely past the potty training stage.  I’ve had a ton of friends recently who have shared their struggles with potty training.  This post is for them.

Just because our kids are now potty trained, does not mean it was easy, when, in reality, even though it was a long time ago, it was almost traumatic.  You know what I’m talking about.  You are freaking tied to your house while you unsuccessfully try to potty train your kids, in my case, two boys.

Our first child potty trained very easily.  Naively, I thought it would be that easy with the second one.

Man, sometimes, I even laugh at my stupidity.

We tried for FOUR DAMN MONTHS with the second one.  He was three, and couldn’t start Mother’s Day Out without being potty trained and I was DESPERATE.  I wanted to reward him if he pottied in the potty, while my husband disagreed.

I am married to an Internal Medicine doctor, which in most cases, helps me not one damn bit with the kids, because he has no pediatric training.  However, one of his partners is a dual board certified in Medicine and Pediatrics.


Desperate, I called Amy (his partner) one night.  This was our conversation:

 Me:  Listen, you know I never call you about pediatric stuff, but I’m desperate.  Radcliffe         won’t go in the potty.

Amy:  Oh, that’s easy.  You pay him.


Me:  I need more information than that.

Amy:  Get a jar, and label it ‘the potty jar’.  Put it somewhere where he can see it.  Every time he goes in the potty, give him a dollar and he has to put the dollar in the jar himself.  Then, if he has an accident in his pants, he has to physically go get a dollar out of the jar and pay you a dollar to clean him up.

Me:  Really?

Amy:  Yep.  He’ll be potty trained in twenty -four hours.

So, I went to the store, and bought a jar.  I painted it with ‘Potty Jar’.  Radcliffe had been wanting a specific toy from the toy store, so I explained the rules to him, and told him that when he got ten dollars in his jar, I would take him to the store and buy him the toy.

Right off the bat, he used the potty and he got a dollar.  I caught him staring at the jar obsessively.  Then, he had an accident in his pants.  I made him go get the jar off the mantel and he had to physically pay me to change his pants.  This was the last accident he ever had.

He was devastated.  Later that afternoon, I heard grunting from the bathroom.  I walked back there, and he was sitting on the toilet, trying to squeeze anything out that would get him his dollar back.

And just like that, 24 hours later, our youngest child was potty trained.



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