The 2 Phases of Potty Training

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

Potty training is usually accompanied by some of the funniest stories parents collect on their children. I admit I was a little nervous when I embarked on this challenge with Big Brother, and even a little more nervous when Little Brother announced he didn’t want to wear diapers anymore but un-dee-wear like his brother. 

Because every child is different, potty training will be different for each. After potty training our two children, I have determined that there are two stages of potty training. The teacher in me divided the stages into two phases. Being aware of these two stages and how to respond to your child in each, helped me relax during this sometimes stressful time. I’ve shared these ‘self-diagnosed’ phases with a few friends who are also potty training and they found them to be helpful and freeing as a parent of a Phase 1 child! My hope is that you will also read these and be encouraged in your efforts as well! 

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

Phase 1: Parent-Directed

What it is: The first phase of potty training is when the child does not yet express to adults that they have to go potty without prompting. They typically have all of the ‘readiness signs’ of potty training, will go successfully when placed on the potty, however unless placed on the potty they have accidents in their pants.

How Child Responds: The child will usually want to wear underwear, will have moments of success on the potty, but will also have accidents in their underwear or pull-ups.

How to Best Respond To Your Child: This can be extremely frustrating for parents/caregivers because they know the child is able to use the potty. However when you recognize that your child is in this phase, you as the adult recognize that you need to stay on top of your child’s bathroom stops.

Set a watch or timer to remind yourself to take your child to the potty. Once they are going consistently when you initiate them using the potty, cease the rewards (m&m’s have worked magic for our boys) and let them know that now when they want a reward they need to TELL YOU when they have to to go.

When they DO tell you, celebrate! Call Daddy at work and leave a message, call Grandma, cheer for them, give them your designated treat/reward, and let them know how proud you are of them. I always joke that you can never overpraise your child during potty training; and pride myself in all of the foolish ways I cheer them on! 😉

*Note: Parents, when you recognize that your child is in Phase 1, it is freeing to know they are on the right track, but still need your help!

potty training

Phase 1: Child-Directed

What it is: The first phase of potty training the child begins to tell the adult/caregiver when they have to use the potty.

How Child Responds: The child will announce that they have to use the potty. In the beginning of moving into Phase 2, they may disregard or put-off the urge to go when playing or having fun and have an occasional accident.

How to Best Respond To Your Child: Continue to praise your child when they announce that they have to use the potty. Continue to use rewards/treats as long as you need to until the behavior is learned and natural for your child.

Often times parents forget (until there is an accident) that they need to teach their child that they MUST STOP playing and tell an adult when they have to go potty. Teach them to go as soon as they feel the urge so they let you know in enough time to find a bathroom (or tree)! 😉  You do not need to teach them to ‘hold it’ as that will come naturally in everyday situations like shopping, riding in the car, etc.

If your child does have accidents, do not shame or embarrass them. All children have occasional accidents and causing them shame or embarrassment in front of others can actually reverse any progress.

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 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


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


  1. Thanks for the post. We are completely in stage 2 but he does forget occasionally and now sometimes limits his drinks because he understands drinks = more wee = less playing. Frustrating because fewer drinks = constipation = more poo accidents (which you wouldn’t think would be the case but is).

    The only thing I found really didn’t work was pull ups. Sorry sponsor but I found Huggies pull ups to be worse than useless. Too absorbent so during the day he just weed in them but not absorbent enough for night time use so they leaked.

    Talking of which, any tips for night time training? We’re still in (Pampers) pull ups for that.

  2. I just wrote about one of my most recent potty training experience on my latest blog postings! This is such great info! You’re a good momma!

  3. Mamacook- Thanks for sharing! I’ve read and heard so many places that nighttime training is both one of the indicators that they are ready to start potty training when there is little to no pee in their diaper overnight, but then I hear other say it’s the very last stage of potty training to conquer. Personally, our youngest (2.5) who is still potty training will have an accident in the night every once in awhile so we always put a pull-up on him at night. I also don’t stress about this, just know it will most likely take care of itself in time. Keep rewarding/cheering for them if they wake up dry. You could even have a sticker chart for dry nights, just to let them know how proud of you are of them. If they have an accident just reassure them that it’s ok and they can try again the next night! Some times night time wettings are beyond their control in the early years. As for constipation, I would add more fiber into their diet and or ask your pediatrician to recommend a fiber-packed vitamin to help them. Good luck! :)

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