Diapers to Underwear in One Day! {Big Brother’s Potty Training Story}

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Huggies Pull-Ups.

A few years ago as a recently new mom,  I remember sitting in the teacher’s lounge and hearing someone talk about a book they had read years ago on “potty training in a day.” I thought to myself (and possibly out-loud), “I’ll never be able to accomplish that in a day with my oldest son; who can be rather strong-willed at times.” I’ve also heard said, that moms should never say, “I’ll never!”

Diapers to Underwear in One Day! Our first child's potty training story #pottytraining

This was the day we first set up his potty…he was not very excited about the idea (notice the feet behind the shower curtain)! He was definitely not ready; this was 6 months before The Big Day. 

The thoughts of that conversation came spinning back this past fall as I began plotting our big attempt at conquering potty training for the first time. The following account is how we took our son (we will call him “Little Man” to protect his future humiliation) from diapers to underwear(and pull-ups) in ONE DAY!

1. The first key (and most important), was that our Little Man knew that we follow through with our words. As teachers and youth workers, we understood the importance of saying ONLY what we mean. If we tell him something we make sure we can and will follow through; even if it is inconvient for us. (If we say he had only 5 minutes more to play before bedtime, he knows that he can whine or even blow kisses but will not be able to convince us otherwise. If we tell him we will go to the park in the afternoon, we will go, and if it rains we will drop by an indoor place area somewhere. In other words our word is our word!) As a teacher, I had so many parents “threaten” consequences on their children in front of me and their child that both of us knew were never going to happen. My favorite one was when a parent threatened to make his son LIVE at school with me; as if I lived there! (It had no affect on the student because he knew, even as a first grader, that there was no way dad could follow through on that.)

2. The second key for us, was that he had his little potty for about 6 months. He had become accustomed to sitting on it with clothes on and looking at books while my husband and I were getting ready.  He was comfortable with the idea of sitting on the potty. We also found a few children’s books on using the potty (especially Elmo’s Potty Book) that were a big hit!

potty training 2

3. The third key was that I was watching for all the signs that were suppose to indicate he was “ready” to use the potty. Here are the indicators as described on BabyCenter.com:

Look for these readiness skills:

1.  Desire to please (likes to give gifts, enjoys praise)

2.  Desire for independence (takes pride in new abilities, wants to “do it myself”)

3.  Imitates adults and older children

4.  Language skills:  able to communicate needs, and understands words about the toileting process

5.  Motor skills:  able to walk to the potty, get on and pull down pants

3.  Bowel movements occur on a fairly predictable schedule

4.  Has longer periods with a dry diaper, which means your child’s bladder is able to store urine. (Your child wakes up from a nap dry, or stays dry for 2 or more hours)

5.  Is able to follow simple, one-step verbal instructions

6.  Shows an interest in imitating other family members or friends in the bathroom

7.  Through words, facial expressions or a change in activity, your child shows you they know when their bladder is full or when they are about to have a bowel movement

See the rest of the article on babycenter.com by clicking HERE!

4. The fourth key was plotting out and planning for our BIG DAY!

Materials I gathered: a package of wipes, a potty sticker chart, stickers, M&Ms, his plastic potty, underwear with his favorite characters (Thomas the Train and Cars), a sippy cup with half apple juice and half water,a potty timer watch that came with his pull-ups, and all the patience I could muster up!


Before our Little Man woke up I made sure I was ready for the day ahead. I chose a Friday because I don’t work on Fridays and then I would have the weekend to continue. I put all of his diapers away, gathered all the materials I listed above and prayed for patience. I also planned for accidents as I knew there might be a few. When I heard the familiar, “Mama! All Done!” bellowed from his bedroom his brother and I went to greet him.

“Good Morning Buddy!” I greeted him. “Today’s a BIG day… while you were sleeping Daddy and I got a few surprises for you! Do you want to come and see?” “Yea!” he giggled while rubbed his tired eyes.

I led him to the bathroom where I showed him the sticker chart, the M&Ms, the stickers, and presented him with his new underwear. “Buddy, all your diapers are gone because today you are going to start using the potty! When you put pee-pees or poo-poos in the potty you get stickers and M&Ms today!” I shared with enthusiasm.  “Wow!” he mumbled with his thumb still in his mouth. “You get 3 M&Ms and 1 sticker on your chart for pee-pees and 5 M&Ms and 2 stickers on your chart for poo-poos.” I explained. The numbers didn’t mean that much to him but they would soon!

potty training chart

I helped him take off his diaper and sit on the potty. Nothing. So we put his underwear on, set his potty timer watch for 30 minutes and went downstairs for breakfast. My goal was to catch him and have him go before he actually HAD to go. After breakfast he was able to go in the potty; we had a little celebration with M&Ms and stickers, reset his potty timer (mainly for me) and then went to play. The rest of the day, we went in and he at least sat on his potty every 30 minutes and tried. Sometimes he went other times he did not, but the idea was starting to click. We did have one full accident on the floor and one partial that we caught midway but we didn’t make a big deal about those and simply changed his underwear and reset our potty timer. At nap time and later then at bedtime, we used his “nighttime underwear” (pull-ups) as having dry naps was not our main goal.  By the time my husband came home, I needed a break! I had spent the entire day in and out of the bathroom while holding a rather curious crawling infant. :)

We continued the same procedure the next day and even ventured out to Costco. His big achievement for that day was that he “used the Costco potty!” We knew we were on the right track. Over the next week or two we did have an occasional accident but we didn’t allow those to set us back. After about 2 weeks we moved his little potty onto the big potty, then about a week later we took the potty seat off the toilet, and then finally we worked on standing up. We slowly weaned him off of the M&Ms and stickers as well.

I recognize that this was one child, with one temperment, so that being said, I’ll update you on our Little Little Man when we get to that time with him! :) Good luck!

CLICK HERE for potty training charts!


Pull-Ups helps take the scare out of potty training by making it fun and easy with new Monsters U character training pants! You can help make potty training easier by staying consistent and using rituals like the potty break. Make it a game and ask your toddler, “What does a little monster take?”…“A Potty Break!”

Visit Pull-Ups.com and “like” Pull-Ups on Facebook for more potty training tips and resources.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Huggies Pull-Ups.


Read more Potty Training Tips: 

10 Potty Training Tips for Vacation #huggiespullups #pottytrainingtips #pottytraining

The 2 Phases of Potty Training #pottytraining #pullupsbigkids #pullupspottybreak


  1. I took a similar approach with Charlotte! She was pooing on the potty from the time she was about 17 months old because she had bad constipation issues that gave us plenty of warning when she was going to poop and it was easier for her to go in that position than standing. When we decided to tackle the peeing, she was easily bribed and won over with chocolate chips. The only difference was that I gave her one for being dry between dings of the timer, and one if she actually put pee in the potty. I did notice that she was “saving” some pee so that she would always have some to put in to get that extra chocolate chip, though. I had to give the kid credit for figuring that out! We’re going to be tackling the potty for Naomi soon and I plan to use the same method. Hopefully it works for our second born with a completely different personality!

    • @Brittany,
      That’s so funny; it’s amazing how witty they are sometimes! I like the treat for staying dry between timers; may need to save that for the next time! Keep me posted on how it goes the second time around! :)

  2. Thanks for Sharing this. I am going to save it for when it’s time to potty train Harper.

  3. I think Ian will be going to college with diapers. I’ve never seen a boy be so stubborn when it comes to sitting on his potty.
    We talk about it every day and his response is always that his sister can use the potty, not him!Your Comments

  4. Your 1 winner on “Our Story of Potty Training (Diapers to Underwear in One Day!)” is:

    1) Brittany: Brit…….@gmail.com

    Congratulations Brittany; you’ve won a Cheerios Play Book! Email me your contact address at: cheeriosandlattes@gmail.com then watch your mail!

  5. This was fun to read, thanks! :)

    Each of our 3 olders were compleeeeetely different in this process (feels funny talking about potty training with 1 that is now 22.5yrs old!)…can’t wait to see how our 2 littles do! Our babygirl is already super interested and loves to sit on her little potty…it’s all moving too quickly!


  6. Potty training is such an adventure. Our three year old daughter is practically potty trained but our 20 month old son has no interest in starting.

    • Char,
      That’s what I hear! My 1 year old I have a feeling is going to be quite the character… we will see how potty training goes there! :) Good luck to you and you little guy! :)

  7. What a help this is. My youngest of 6 turned 2 in December. She is ready to toilet train. I am not ready, lol. I need to just do it. I homeschool the other 5, so i am busy, i just need to take the time to do it. Thank you for the tips.

  8. Miranda says:

    How old was your son at the time you potty trained him? My daughter turned 2 today and I still give her juice, water and milk when she’s thirsty (I know I should stop that and get her on a set drink schedule which will help with more regular diapers) – but I guess because of that I just dont know if shes ready because I cant tell if her bladder is holding her urine. Im sure it is if I would get her on a schedule for when she drinks because all the other signs are there, and when she sits on her potty before taking a bath she wants to wipe and everything else, but Im so nervous she wont understand the chart and m&ms, so thats why I was wondering how old your son was. She will be going back to daycare in August because I have a year left to complete my degree and they will potty train her there, but it may be helpful if she’s potty trained here first in an environment where she’s more comfortable! :) Thanks for your help, I’m so excited to try this!!

    • Miranda- He was a little over 18 months. I think you might be surprised at how much buy-in you will get with the m&m’s and potty chart. If you reward her right away, she will make the connection. You can do it! :) You just have to commit and go for it when the signs are there! Keep me posted, I love to hear other tips that worked. Little Brother will be 18 months in a few weeks and he’s getting closer to being ready, but not quite there yet. :) Good luck!

  9. Great tips! I’m hoping to try this with son #2 soon, so I pinned it for future reference! I popped over from Six Sisters’ Stuff–thanks for sharing!

    ~Abby =)

  10. hey there! my son turned 3 in sept, and we’re trying your tips! today was our ‘big day!’ i used all of your suggestions and also added a poopoo present bag – so when he goes poo poo he gets the sticker m&ms AND a prize from the bag. counted up the stickers today, he peed literally 13 times. :O and he had about 4 or 5 accidents on the floor (more in the morning, i think he was still learning what exactly what was going on). I am beyond exhausted and he’s down for the night in a pull up. He never did poop today either. Hoping he’ll poo poo tomorrow!

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