When I get excited about something, I love sharing it with you! That’s why we’re talking about potty training this week—specifically, my totally honest experience with the Oh Crap potty training method.
(Seriously, though—I never thought I’d get excited about potty training…)
Let’s be real. Potty training is an intimidating milestone!
I put off thinking about it as long as I could, but I eventually had to face my fear.
I had to teach my son how to use the potty.
And you know what? I lived to tell about it, and it actually turned out to be a great experience.
Why Oh Crap Potty Training?
When I finally started researching potty training methods, Jack was nearing 18-months-old. I felt completely overwhelmed by all of the conflicting information I found.
I read book reviews, blog posts, and forums, but I ended up feeling more confused than when I started my research.
Sticker charts and candy are magical! No, don’t use any kind of reward system.
Buy a little potty chair! No, just have your child use the regular toilet.
Pull-ups are the way to go! No, pull-ups are confusing and feel like a diaper.
As with anything in parenting, potty training can be polarizing. What works perfectly for some parents doesn’t work at all for others. There’s more than one successful potty training method!
Finally, I realized that I was just going to have to pick one of the many methods I’d come across—and stick to it.
This post contains affiliate links, and some links below will take you to Amazon. You can read my disclosure policy here.
Enter: Oh Crap! Potty Training
In my research, I had seen a lot of praise for Jamie Glowacki’s book, Oh Crap! Potty Training, so I decided to give it a shot.
Jamie’s method is simple and straightforward—a no-nonsense approach if I ever saw one! She’s an advocate for “doing it once, and doing it right”.
She doesn’t believe that potty training should be a long, drawn-out battle that takes place over the better part of a year. Rather, it should be a quick, intense time of learning where the parents are fully invested and committed.
The book is thorough and well-written. It covers all kinds of “what if” situations, and answers lots of frequently asked questions.
Jamie has had many, many years’ experience teaching toddlers how to use the potty, and I felt comfortable with her approach.
Reading the book built my confidence. I started getting excited about potty training (what?!), because Jamie helped me to believe that I could do it—I could teach my son to use the potty!
What I Didn’t Like About Oh Crap! Potty Training
Before we go any further, I want to mention what I didn’t like about the book. This is the most common complaint I read about in other reviews, so it was no surprise to me.
Jamie uses a lot of cursing/ language in her writing, and while I know it’s meant to be funny, I personally find it to be more off-putting than anything.
So just be aware of that, if you’re more sensitive to that sort of thing. I just wanted to throw in that disclaimer, because it’s the one element that keeps me from 100% endorsing the book.
How the Oh Crap Potty Training Method Worked for Us
For this review, I’m just going to give you an overview of how potty training went for us using the Oh Crap potty training method.
I Did Something Crazy
Jamie believes the ideal potty training window is between 20 to 30-months-old, and Jack was 28-months-old when we potty trained.
I’d actually thought that Jack was ready to potty train closer to 20 months (he’s a super-verbal communicator, showed all of the signs of readiness, etc.), but it was not meant to be.
We ended up putting it off for quite a few reasons—two broken legs (he has a brittle-bone condition), a 3,000 mile cross-country road trip and move, settling into our new home, Christmas, a trip to visit family in Florida, tent camping—the list went on! It was just one thing after another.
Finally, I got tired of potty training looming over my head, so I did something people told me was crazy.
We had a 3-week trip to Washington fast approaching—and only 9 days before we had to get on the plane.
On top of that, my husband was going to be gone on a business trip the entire week before we left.
So I did what any
crazy determined mother would do: I decided to go for it. I decided to start the day after my husband left on his business trip—just 9 days before getting on a plane and flying clear across the country.
What could possibly go wrong?!
I believed that potty training would click for Jack, but the timing still felt crazy.
Potty Training Prep
I read almost the entire Oh Crap! Potty Training book before getting started, and highlighted all of the parts I knew I’d want to refer to later on. (I did skip the sections that weren’t relevant to us, like the part about daycare.)
We had purchased all of the necessary supplies (see below), and had everything we needed to get started.
The night before we started, I set out Jack’s potty chairs—one in the upstairs bathroom, and the other downstairs in the main living area.
I also had a large stack of new library books and some fun activities ready to go.
In our house, the upstairs is mainly carpet, and the downstairs is mainly wood. So I decided that we’d stay downstairs as much as possible for the first few days, and picked up all of the rugs.
Everything was ready.
Potty Training, Day 1
I woke up early with palpable excitement on the first morning of potty training. I can’t explain why—I’d been terrified for months!
Maybe I was just excited to finally check potty training off the list.
Regardless, I knew that my mood was incredibly important, so I tried to stay excited and upbeat the whole day for Jack’s sake.
When I got Jack up, I cleaned up his dirty diaper and told him that we were all done using diapers. I told him that we were going to throw all of his diapers away!
He thought that sounded good, so I gave him a few diapers, and we threw them away into the trash can together.
I also took off his pajamas so he had nothing on, which didn’t phase him at all.
Day 1 is the “naked day”. It’s all about observation—watching for your child’s cues—and it’s so much easier to observe their subtle cues without clothes.
Watching your child is the only thing you’re supposed to do all day long on the first day. That’s it! It is of the highest importance to stay engaged.
Day 1 is also the only day that you’ll give your child extra fluids to drink. We don’t really buy juice, so I made up some lemonade using water, lemon juice, and a few drops of stevia. I didn’t want Jack to end up with a sugar-high.
We also ate lots of watermelon that day!
It’s important for things to stay as normal as possible, since toddlers do well with familiar surroundings and routines.
Jack was loving all of the one-on-one time, and so was I, to be honest! We had a great morning together, reading stories, playing games, and playing in the backyard.
Day 1 Progress
At first, Jack had several accidents—lots of misses and no wins. But I stayed upbeat and used the specific terminology Jamie recommends, and we kept trying. I kept cleaning up the floor.
Then, all of a sudden, he started to get it! He told me that he needed to go potty—and he did!
Jamie says self-initiation will take most kids about 3 weeks, but after about 3 hours, Jack was already starting to tell me when he needed to pee!
I couldn’t believe it! What a gift.
Jack loved helping me empty the pee into the toilet, and he especially loved getting to flush it away! It was his reward. We had no need for candy or stickers because he was immensely proud of his accomplishment.
When naptime came around, I told him that we’d be using “special sleep-time diapers” during naps and at bedtime, emphasizing that he didn’t need diapers anymore during the day—just when he was sleeping. It made sense to him. (They were just regular diapers.)
Jamie recommends ditching diapers during naps and nighttime right off the bat, but she says you can do it either way. I decided to put off for a while, hoping that he would eventually nap and night train himself.
(Spoiler alert: He did!)
The rest of the day was more of the same and went really well. I fell into bed that night totally exhausted, but very thankful.
The Next Few Days
Each day that week got a little bit easier.
By the second day, Jack was ready to start wearing shorts again. He would start to pee, stop as he realized what was happening, and tell me that he had to go potty.
Needless to say, I washed a lot of pairs of shorts that week!
With the Oh Crap potty training method, Jamie recommends that kids go commando for several weeks. That way, they can more easily learn to push their pants down by themselves, and also don’t feel confused by the snug, diaper-like feeling of underwear.
Our first little outing was a walk around the block. Jack used the potty before we left, and had no accidents while we were out!
On the third day, we took a trip to the grocery store. I lined the carseat with a puppy training pad, cutting holes for the buckle, and limited his water intake.
After Jack had a chance to use the potty at home, I stuck it in the backseat so that he’d be able to use it if the need arose.
We shopped for a week’s worth of groceries at two stores, and made it home without any accidents! Bringing the potty with us was a great idea—we used it more than once.
I unashamedly drove around with a potty in the backseat for several weeks afterward, just in case.
For a while, Jack would have about 1 accident each day. Usually, it was just a little pee on his shorts, which wasn’t a big deal.
Then, he was only having an accident every couple of days.
As the weeks passed, accidents occurred less and less frequently, and Jack was able to wait longer and longer before needing to use the potty.
After about a month, we noticed that Jack was typically staying dry during his naps and at nighttime. It started out as an occasional occurrence, but his dry diapers gradually increased.
Finally, I realized that he was staying dry through the night, and just wetting his diaper once he’d woken up in the morning.
So we decided to ditch the diapers altogether, and he did great! He woke up dry every morning and waited to pee in his potty.
After about 6 weeks, Jack was completely potty trained during both daytime and nighttime, and was pretty much accident free.
He still has the occasional accident, but it’s usually because we gave him something to drink too close to bedtime.
After Jack had been night trained for a little while, I finally introduced underwear! Yes—he went commando for two months, but it made life so much easier.
I didn’t want to introduce underwear too close to when he was still using diapers at night, and introducing them a little later on had no ill-effects.
My baby is officially no longer a baby.
[cue ALL the tears!]
Potty Training Supplies and Costs
Here’s everything I bought and how much I spent to potty train Jack:
$8 — Oh Crap! Potty Training book
$2 — 2 packages of Dollar Tree puppy pads
$22 — TOTAL
The Oh Crap! Potty Training Book
I could have done this a little cheaper by borrowing the book from the library, but I wanted to make sure that I had the book available as long as I needed it. I also highlighted it like crazy—something I rarely do to my books!
Using puppy pads may seem a bit silly, but they honestly offer so much peace of mind! Because you get rid of diapers cold turkey with the Oh Crap potty training method, it’s initially a little scary when your child is sitting on the couch or riding in their car seat.
Puppy pads can be fairly expensive, but the ones from Dollar Tree are an amazing deal and allow you to buy just a few pads at a time. Two packages of these pads were more than enough, and we needed them less than I thought we would.
Jack wasn’t phased by them at all—he just thought they marked his special spot on the couch!
I highly recommend picking some up for added peace of mind.
The Potty Chairs
We needed two potties because we’re renting a house with two floors.
(I would have picked the grey version over the red one, but oh well!)
The design of the BabyBjörn potty chair is excellent, and I’d highly recommend it if you’re not sure which one to buy. Jamie Glowacki actually recommends this one in her book.
We stayed with my in-laws for three weeks the week after we started potty training. My mother-in-law kindly purchased a potty chair for Jack—and it’s the most adorable potty I’ve ever seen!
At first, I didn’t even realize that it was a potty! But it’s a beautifully designed whale potty—and it worked great.
(Isn’t it just the cutest?!)
Best Oh Crap! Potty Training Tips and Takeaways
Through the potty training process, I learned few important things that I want to remember for the next time around. You might find them helpful, too.
- It’s important to stay upbeat and positive, even when you feel like pulling your hair out.
- The “naked day” is essential for speeding up the potty training process.
- Telling your child, “Let’s go pee!” instead of asking them, “Do you have to go pee?” is incredibly helpful in the beginning. Eventually, you’ll be able to ask them if they need to go, but it takes a while for them have that much awareness.
- Rewards, candy, and sticker charts can be helpful, but aren’t always necessary. Leaving them out simplifies things quite a bit. Jack was proud of his newfound skill, and flushing the toilet was reward enough for him.
- Puppy training pads are an awesome tool in the first week for peace of mind!
- Pull-ups are an unnecessary expense in most cases, and can prolong the time it takes to fully potty train.
- When potty training our next child, I’ll have Jack stay with his grandparents on the first day so that I can spend the same focused, one-on-one time with that child.
Final Thoughts on the Oh Crap Potty Training Method
If you’ve read through this entire post, you’re a rockstar! I know it’s super long and detailed.
To sum it all up, yes, I would recommend the Oh Crap potty training method. It worked like a dream for us, and I think it could work well for you, too.
I certainly don’t claim to be a potty training expert—not by a long shot. This is just our story, and what worked for us.
I feel blessed to have had a relatively easy experience with Jack. But every child is different, so I doubt potty training will be as easy the next time around.
Even so, I’ll definitely be using the Oh Crap potty training method again.
Buy the book and give it a try! What do you have to lose?
Have you tried the Oh Crap potty training method? Which potty training method has worked well for you?