Your Oh Crap Potty Training Cheat Sheet


When you’re already stuck at home, you might as well potty train your toddler right? I personally think there’s too much of a to-do about whether kids are “ready” and that it’s usually about whether the parents are ready! So if you have not potty trained yet, I recommend that you grab the chance to do it while we’re all sheltering in place.

My favorite potty training method is Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right. It’s the method I ultimately used to graduate from elimination communication and go completely diaper-free.

The downside of this method is that you can’t leave the house at the beginning. I have heard so many moms protest this limitation! That’s why I say you should do it now.

I read the book cover to cover and took detailed notes before I started training. I want to share my notes with you so that you can either 1) use them as a preview or 2) use them as a summary to refer back to after you read the book. I do not recommend that you skip over reading the book though! The author really knows what she is talking about and helps you understand her methodology in detail.

Some background: The Oh Crap method is broken into “blocks” instead of days, because each child will spend a different period of time in each block. Only move forward when your child masters each block.

Here we go:

Block 1

  • Remove the diapers from the home. Say “bye-bye diapers” to them with your child.
  • Keep your child completely naked for the whole day and watch them like a hawk. That means no playing on your phone or reading a book. Buy prepared meals or warm up something frozen.
  • Stare at your child all day. When you see them start to pee (or poop!) or you can just tell they’re about to, move them to the potty. Tell them plainly, “pee goes in the potty”.
  • You will figure out their poop signs first, but hang in there are trust the method when it comes to figuring out their pee signs.

Block 2

  • Put clothes on your child but NOT underwear. They are going to be going commando for approximately one month. When kids are accustomed to eliminating into a diaper, any clothing pressure will trigger them to go in their pants. Go for loose pants with elastic bands that you can pull down quickly, or even just dresses for girls.
  • In this block, you can take small outings. After your toddler uses the toilet, take a walk around the block. Don’t get to ambitious–set your child up to be able to get back in before they need to pee again.

Block 3

  • Now you can take longer outings (you know, as long as you can considering the Shelter-in-Place order).
  • Make sure your little one pees before you leave. That means you wait until they go.
  • Don’t have them sit for a long period of time, because that goes against this approach’s methodology.
  • Same goes for naptime and bedtime. Be a little flexible, allowing them to go before you put them down, even if you are electing to hold off on night training (which, by the way, the author claims is easiest done all in one go–personally I night trained two full years after I day trained, but I did go back to the same book)

Block 4

  • Introduce underpants! You can do this about three to five weeks from the time you start potty training.

Block 5

  • Block 5 is not something you do, it’s something your child does.
  • You will notice that he begins to consistently (if not 100%) self-initiate. That is when you have crossed over from a non-potty trained child to a potty-trained child.
  • Ease up on prompting when you see this, but don’t stop completely. Continue to prompt before you leave the house, before bed, or any other time that just makes sense.
  • Block 5 generally happens around three weeks after you start training. So hopefully that will be right on time for us to get back to normal!


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