Adventures of Potty Training My 21 Month Old Son

potty training 21 month old son

Mr. C and I previously attempted potty training (see major fail post here) when Max was 19 months old. Max is now 21 months and potty training this time around has been like night and day. Thankfully, Mr. C and I also learned to react with a bit more grace during accidents.

So a few months back, I received a newsletter from Baby Center about the potty training three-day method. I read it over and figured – sounds simple enough. I liked the idea of a potty training boot camp. Grueling, yet rewarding. And not having to deal with training pants or pull-ups was just bonus.

The three-day method, in sum and substance, is where you chase your toddler while he runs around butt naked for three full days. Hold a massive celebration for any pees/poos that make it into the potty. And by day 3, he will be potty trained. Voila!

Day 1:

Max seems very confused when we don’t put a new diaper on him in the morning. But, being a toddler, he quickly forgets and is more than happy to run around half-naked. No modesty issues here! He willingly sits on his potty while we read him some books and eventually pees. Mr. C and I make a huge fuss and do the potty dance. Said potty dance consists of us cheering and clapping and yelling “YAY! MAX PEE-PEE IN THE POTTY!” (Not a lot of brownie points for creativity in this household.) Anyway, Max then gets his first ever M&M. He promptly learns how to say “EM EM EM!”

Max, clearly enthused by this newfound activity, proceeds to pee in microscopic amounts about 15-20x per session. He tries so hard to get a drop out that his face turns red from the straining. Mr. C and I practically die from the exhaustion of potty dances and running from the potty in his room to the bathroom. I seriously think the kid breaks a record somewhere for frequency of pees in a day. Mr. C, who is tasked with most of the following (I give up after the first few hours due to being 8+ months pregnant), has his FitBit on and logs about 12,000 steps.

Max also poops in the potty but stands up too fast and a big chunk flies out. Still a success in my eyes! We pull out the BIG KAHUNA REWARD and give him some Oreo ice cream cake. He promptly learns how to say “AISH KEEM!” (I’m seeing a pattern here. And we were worried he wasn’t speaking enough…)

We give Max diluted apple juice to encourage more pee. Max downs massive amounts of juice. I have never seen him drink so much before. Candy and juice are not things he ever gets and he’s definitely taking advantage of this opportunity.

Max’s second poo of the day makes it all into the potty! He did accidentally pee outside 2x, but considering he peed 100x in the potty, I still think that it is an incredibly successful yet exhausting day.

Day 2:

Mr. C and I immediately take Max to the potty in the morning and he is able to get out a good pee. I’m hopeful that the novelty of peeing 20x in a row is wearing out. He seems to be peeing only about 5-10x per session now. Thank god.

Max makes his first big mistake during breakfast. He points at the potty and grunts (should have paid closer attention to his cues) but ends up pooping on the floor. Mr. C and I tell him that we are very, very sad he pooped on the floor.

After breakfast, we take him out for a walk around the block. Max is going commando. He pees before leaving the apartment. However, about 15 minutes into the walk (but literally only two houses over from the building), Max pees on the sidewalk. We ask him to sit on the portable travel potty but he gets very upset when we try to take off his shorts. All of a sudden, this boy knows what modesty is.

Max is pretty great with peeing and pooping in the potty for the rest of the day. We take him out to the park after his nap. I sound like a broken record telling him that if he needs to pee/poo just tell me because I brought a potty with me. He completely blows me off. I get a taste of what it’s like to have a teenage son. We take him to a quiet corner to try to get him to go. Again, he gets upset when we attempt to pull down his shorts. Max ends up holding his pee the whole time at the park so we rush home and he immediately empties his bladder.

The day ends with no mistakes for pee in the apartment and only one for poop. Still feeling pretty good.

Day 3:

This is our best day yet. Max makes zero mistakes with pee or poop. We take him to swim class and he does not pee at all while he is out. Mr. C takes Max to pee in the men’s locker room and he, again, refuses to go. I am starting to get concerned about how Max will handle going to pee when we are out… but that’s something we’ll have to deal with on another day. (It is worth noting that since Max was born, he has only ONCE EVER pooped while being outside. This makes it a lot easier for us not to be as worried with accidents outside the home.)

While I am taking a bath with Max, he grabs a little bucket and proceeds to hold it under him to catch his pee. Thanks for not peeing in the tub! I make a mental note to bring the bucket in lieu of a portable potty next time we are out. Maybe we can get him just to pee in the bucket instead.


We are now on our fifth day of potty training. We didn’t follow the method exactly, but I consider our results to be a complete success! (At home at least.) There have been a handful of times where he was distracted by whatever he was doing at the moment. A little tiny bit of pee would leak out but he would race to the potty and finish there. I’m totally OK with that.

In the potty training process, Max has learned the art of manipulation. Last night, Max repeatedly peed in the potty right before bedtime. He knew that as long as he was peeing, we couldn’t put him to bed. I finally had to wrestle him down to his diaper pad and get a diaper on him!

He has also picked up three new words – M&M, ice cream, and undies. A mom couldn’t ask for more 🙂

potty training 21 month old

what blackmail pictures are made of…

I’ll follow-up next time with a post on the method we used to potty train Max!

How did you potty train your toddler?

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One Response

  1. Debrah October 16, 2020

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