How to: Potty train a two year old boy!

Taylor Keating

Can I just preface this with the fact that potty training is freaking scary. I had dabbled in the act of potty training my son about a handful of times before finally committing (and even then it was sort of not fully committing until I knew that he was into it and could handle it). Had day one been a nightmare, I might have backed off and pushed it off another month or so. I don’t really know.

Potty training, especially a boy, and you’ll understand why in a few paragraphs (think sprinkler) is a lot of work. Not only do you have to be on your child 24/7 for a few solid days at home, but you have to be on your game. And I have to admit, with the smaller girl always attached to my hip, it’s hard to fully devote my attention to Lincoln.

And then there’s just a million and one excuses. He’s not developmentally ready (says who, and what’s the actual requirement for potty training? It all seems sort of arbitrary), he’s not showing an interest (well, he likes the word poop and to flush it, is that interest?!), he’s not asking to go potty. I think more than any of those questions and standards, it’s on the parent to be ready to do it.

After deciding that I could handle a weekend of potty training, I got two different potty training books, one of which had been sitting on my shelf since March 2020. I took them out and placed them on my nightstand and…never read them. I have every single intention of reading them, but I was just too tired at night and had other things prioritized so I decided to go into the potty training blind—using only my gut as my navigation system.


If you follow me on Instagram and have checked out my stories before, you are well aware that my kids are more likely to be naked than clothed. It’s just how we roll in my warm house. I chose to do the pants-free method where they have nothing on from the waist down for the first couple of days. It wasn’t anything new to us which was great.

I had our gate up so we were pretty much confined to one room and that way I could keep an eye on him closer. Usually, he roams around visits Mammy in her living room, my mom up in her big bed, and will stop and chat with the cats on his way. He was standing in the back corner where we have all of our toys and paused. That little motion was enough for me to prompt and ask, do you have to go potty? He said no. I asked him to try and he complied.

The little potty we were using was in the living room already and not the bathroom so he walked over briskly and stood while peeing. Now, this was a new development. Previously and at school, he was always sitting down to pee. No idea why it flipped, but he aimed great, did a little pee and stopped. I told him to push all the pee out and he did, a much more complete pee and that was that! I gave him a little M&M and he went on his way.

I failed to mention that we had timers as well. The purple one with sand is 30 minutes so after he got his treat, we flipped the timer together and I explained that when the sand was all in the bottom of the timer, that that would mean it was time to go try on the potty again. He nodded and went off.

For the rest of the day, he peed when he was “trying”. I put on a diaper for naptime. He had been waking up dry but honestly, I didn’t want to stress him out and have him naked in there so I explained that diapers were for sleep times to make sure we’re dry and comfortable to rest our body. No problem. He accepted the diaper and went down for a nap.

He woke up dry, but by the time we made it downstairs to the gated room, he had peed a little. I changed him and he asked for a diaper. I told him that diapers were only for naptime and he protested a bit. He was standing kind of awkwardly, legs crossed and face a bit red. I asked if he had to go poop and if that was why he wanted a diaper. He said yes. I put the diaper on, instantly he walked to the corner, pooped by himself and asked Mama, you change me. I have big poop. Changed him and that was that. He continued to pee on the potty at each 30 minute interval and didn’t complain a second.


He woke up from overnight wet but did great all day long. Not a single accident. He pooped after nap when he had his diaper on still. It must’ve been when he was waiting on me to go get him from his bed. Either way, he wanted it off right away and loved getting his little treat for going potty and using the timer.


We all had a rough night of sleep and needed to get out of the house so we put a diaper on Lincoln for the morning and went to the farm. He didn’t ever ask to go potty when we were there, it was a new potty area and we were only out for about 2 hours total. When we got home, I took off his diaper and it was dry! He went to the potty right then when we got home, a large amount of pee and then ate lunch. I don’t think the diaper confused him at all. No problems at all.

At home, he asked again for a diaper at the end of the night before bed and I knew it was most likely because he was going to poop so I said ok. About 10 minutes later, he pooped in there but it was dry, no pee. He went pee again before bed and putting a clean diaper on.

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An early childhood educator at heart, now raising two toddlers with big feelings and writing about mom life through a real lens.

Ridgefield, CT

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