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Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 in Baby Atlas, Motherhood | 8 comments

Potty Training Atlas

I stress about a lot of things when it comes to my kids. I’m a worrier by nature. However, I never found myself obsessing over potty training like so many of my mom friends. I never bought a book on how to potty train my child. I don’t even think I googled it.

potty training boys

Dave bought Atlas a little toilet about a year ago (Atlas wasn’t even 2 years old yet) and I immediately told Dave he could put it in the closet because I wasn’t ready for all that. For some reason, potty training did stress Dave out and he really pushed me to push Atlas to get out of diapers and I pushed back. And here’s why I stood my ground on this issue: I really felt in my gut that when Atlas and I were both ready to cross that proverbial potty training bridge, we would do it together and we would do it with relative ease because we would be on the same page. We weren’t on the same page when he was 18 months old. I know there are kids who are potty trained well before 2 years old and I even know of some kids who were potty trained before 1, but I also knew my kid and I knew that wasn’t him. Atlas is like me – he is resistant to change when he feels it being forced onto him and he has to do things in his own time. I wanted to potty train Atlas when I could communicate with him and he could communicate well with me and when he showed interest in the whole thing. To be honest, my reason for this was selfish. I didn’t want to clean up multiple messes each day because Atlas was either a) not getting the concept or b) refusing to cooperate. I didn’t want to make the whole thing harder than it had to be by starting the process prematurely.

Potty Training

The Right Time

SO, all that said – Atlas turns 3 in October and we just started potty training last week. Atlas had been peeing in the potty for weeks every night before he got in the bath so he was familiar with the whole concept, but I was still keeping him in diapers because he really showed no interest in going during the day and we’ve been on the go, which makes it harder to potty train. Last week, I came down with a cold virus and Atlas ran out of diapers, which meant we were stuck at home due to my illness and he had no choice but to wear the underwear that we picked up for him weeks ago.

I put him in a pair of underwear and told him that today was a special day because today he was going to do a big boy thing! I stressed the importance of not peeing in the underwear because it wasn’t like his diaper and if he went potty in his underwear, it would be so gross and it would be all over his legs. He peed in his underwear shortly after, just to ensure I wasn’t lying to him. I put him in the bath, got him all clean and said, “See, I told you underwear are different. Now you know so next time when you feel like you have to pee pee you tell Mommy and I’ll take you to the potty.” A little bit later he ran to the bathroom himself, pulled his pants down and went all by himself and then came to tell me. And that’s pretty much what’s been happening the rest of the week, with some coaching/help on my part.

He did pee in his underwear 2 more times that first day. One of the times I think he just didn’t make it to the bathroom in time and the other time I think he was just being plain lazy and didn’t want to stop playing with his trains. He has yet to poop in his underwear and he runs to the potty every time he feels even the slightest urge.

So, I would say it’s been a relatively easy transition. Now, I have heard multiple stories of kids regressing, so I would by no means say we are fully trained and out of the woods. I imagine we still have some weeks of learning and things being touch and go, but we are definitely off to a great start!

*Side Note: We did try pull ups with Atlas and that was not successful for us. He couldn’t tell a difference between the pull up and a diaper so he just went to the bathroom in the pull up. So, I knew when it was time to potty train I would just be putting him in underwear and going for it. Pull-ups may work great for your toddler though.*

The Rewards System

One reason I think some kids can be easily potty trained at 18 months old is because their parents bribe them with M&Ms. That is so great, but that didn’t work for Atlas because he gets M&M’s on the regular because I’m a big sweet tooth so I get M&Ms on the regular. I briefly tried the whole, “If you pee in the potty, you can have an M&M” deal several weeks ago and he was all, “But I get M&M’s anyway?” Well played, Atlas. Well played.

So, I had to up the ante. I thought, “What does Atlas loves more than anything?” Easy answer: His iPad. So I took his iPad away last week (he was being naughty, so it all worked out in my favor) and I told him that from now on, he could only get his iPad when he pooped in the potty. I know that is harsh, but desperate times call for desperate measures. He immediately pooped in the toilet after this and to be honest, for the first day I was a bit worried he was going to give himself hemorrhoids because he wanted that iPad so dang bad. Yikes.

I also bought his favorite toffee treats that he only gets for being extra sweet to Andi Rose or the dogs or doing something helpful and I told him every time he peed in the potty he would get 1 of those and every time he pooped he would get 3 of those AND iPad time. Worked like a charm.

After the first 2 days of successful potty training, Dave ordered him some Finding Dory underwear + a Finding Dory stuffed animal because Atlas is currently obsessed with Finding Dory. Atlas thought that was the bees knees and he was so proud of himself and he’s since been taking Dory with him every time he uses the bathroom.

And finally, I can’t leave this last bit of info out because this blog serves as a little diary for me and I always want to remember this. After Atlas pooped in the potty for the first time he looked at me and said, “I just did an ewww buddy in this little potty, so now you need to take me to Disney World.”

That kid drives a tough bargain. And you know we are totally planning Atlas’ first trip to Disney World now, right?

*Also, Atlas calls his poop “Ewwww buddy” because whenever I change him, if it really smells I always say, “eeeew buddy” so that is what he has always called poop and now that is what our entire family calls poop. And now the whole world knows that…or at least the 2 people who read this blog do.

The Resources

Potty Training Aids

Several months ago we bought Atlas 2 books on potty training and he loves both. He’s loved the Elmo book, P is for Potty, forever because of all the flaps that lift-up – any type of pop-up book or hide-n-seek book is always a winner in our house.  We recently started reading The Potty Book for Boys and Atlas is super into it. (They also have the same book, but written for girls here.) He loves that the little boy in the book has a bear because Atlas carries his bear (who we all affectionally refer to as Boo Boo) with him everywhere! We read that book a lot last week and Atlas kept saying, “He uses the potty and I use the potty.” He seemed to get that little parallel.

Atlas will use the regular toilet, but definitely prefers this little toddler toilet. I’ll probably give him another few weeks using the little one, but once he’s totally comfortable I am removing the little one because quite frankly, I hate cleaning it after each use. #gross #aintnobodygottimeforthat

We also have this little adapter that goes on the regular toilet and Atlas has a much easier time using the big potty with this on there, so I think we will keep that on the toilet for a while. I have this device upstairs and I keep the little potty downstairs, so Atlas can easily go to the bathroom upstairs or downstairs, depending on where we are.

I think the special Dory underwear really made Atlas excited, so I would suggest getting underwear with something on them that your kid totally digs if you’re about to start potty training. Every night before bed, Atlas insist on picking out his underwear for the next day. It’s hilarious!

potty training book

The Requirements

I knew potty training was going to require patience, but I didn’t realize to what capacity my patience would be needed. Atlas only had a few accidents & none of them were horrible, as I mentioned above, but oh my word! I had to stop and drop everything multiple times a day to assist him in the bathroom and it did drive me a little mad. I think the whole thing was more difficult because I also have Andi Rose to keep up with, and at 14 months old she is into everything, so I can’t really turn my back on her for a second because she is so busy! So I would have to stop what I was doing, scoop up Andi Rose and run to the bathroom to either wipe his bottom, clean out that little toilet (I’m OCD, so I lysol and bleach that thing down every time because Andi Rose will sometimes play with it when I’m not looking – I know, so freakin’ gross), help him wash his hands, administer his treats and do the potty dance (Oh, did I not mention that earlier? We also have a potty dance and song I made up.).  It is an ordeal, ya’ll! But it was what was working for us so I rolled with it. It just made getting anything done (folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher, making meals, etc) extra hard. But he’s already more independent after a few days into training and doesn’t require as much attention so it is getting easier.

But my advice would be to clear your calendar for a few days and just prepare yourself for spending a lot of time in your bathroom. And be ready to get excited a million times a day over even the tiniest drop of pee in the toilet. By the end of the day, I would be looking at Dave like, “Can you PLEASE do the potty dance this time?”

This definitely isn’t a how-to post because I’m no expert. I just wanted to share what our first experience with potty training has been like thus far and what is currently working for us. My biggest piece of {unsolicited} advice for moms who are semi-interested would be to do what is right for you and your child! Don’t be pressured by anybody to potty train if you and your toddler aren’t ready! Nobody knows your child better than you, so you do what works for your family! 🙂

*Final Note: Atlas does still nap in a pull up and he sleeps in a pull up at night. I have no idea when I’ll transition him to underwear for sleeping, and I welcome any tips/advice you may have. But again, it isn’t really stressing me out. He’s asked to sleep in his underwear several nights, but I’ve told him he can’t do that until he wakes up with a dry pull up several mornings in a row.*

If you have any questions that I didn’t answer in this post, just leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond. Also, if you’re not a mother and you just read this I’m so very sorry for what you just endured. 🙈


  1. Your doing a fine job! All I would say about night time training, I know you give him water before bed and keeps his cup by his bed. I’d eliminate water after a certain time at night because like I teach my kids in science, “What goes in will come out!” 😂 Good luck!

    • I know I will have to eliminate the water – I just obsess over him staying hydrated. I’m crazy. I get it from my mama. 😉

  2. Ok I just have to say, that even though I have no kids…and I have noo plans to have kids any time soon…I just cracked up so hard at this post! I love that he asked to go to Disney World after doing a #2 for the first time. Kids are so funny. Glad it has been going somewhat swimmingly so far!

    • You’re so awesome – thank you for reading that post! lol And kids are hilarious – he’s at such a fun age right now and he makes me laugh every single day!

  3. I’d say you’re right on track. But I agree with Aunt Christy, eliminate the water when you’re ready to have him in underwear. Great job Atlas!!!

    • Thanks, Kathi! And I know I need to cut out his nighttime drinking but I also worry about him being dehydrated. SEE?! I seriously worry about everything! LOL

  4. When you notice Atlas has a dry pull-up after a nap or in the morning for at least a week, you know he can just wear undies. Worked for my 3. They all regressed at some point, but it wasn’t anything major. The boys were really easy…Charlotte on the other hand…we literally spent an entire day in the bathroom. I even had to eat my lunch in there! BUT by the end of the day she had it down. Sometimes she would accidentally drip a little before she made it to the potty and she would say “it’s ok, just a little trinkle”!

    • That is too funny about Charlotte! And people always tell me girls are easier to potty train than boys. That just proves there are no “rules” with kids – every child is different!

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