Why my toddler goes commando…in other words “Naked Potty Training”

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I apologize that this final post in my tips for potty training series was so long in coming!

The following is my potty training secret weapon… It is especially helpful with younger potty learners.

Naked Potty Training

For the majority of potty training children there will be accidents.  (Please note, I am referring to pee accidents.  If your child is unable to control a bowel movement it might be a good idea to delay potty training.)  Even after a child learns to recognize the need to go pee they will have to learn how to control their bodies so that they can make it to the toilet before they actually go pee.  As I noted in my potty training tips, when a child is just learning this skill it is important that they not have anything on their bum that feels even remotely like a diaper.  This includes underwear.

Hence, “naked potty training“. Leave a child completely naked from the waist down and it won’t take them long to learn the cause and effect relationship of urination.  “Oh, so when my body feels like this it means if I don’t do something about this, then the floor will soon be wet.”  Even if you decide not to let your little potty trainer run around “in the altogether”, letting them go commando will help speed the potty learning process. Your potty trainer will notice a little pee trickling down their leg beneath their pants much faster if they don’t have any underwear on to absorb the moisture.

When I’m at home I take it so far as to let my little potty trainer run around naked from the waist down (a pair of baby leg warmers can come in handy for this if you’re potty training during the winter).  What about the pee, pee accidents, you ask? Don’t they get on the floor?

With naked potty training you can either A.) Shut you and your child in the kitchen or other room with easy to clean floors, or B.) You can simply follow your child around with an absorbent cloth for a few days (cloth diaper inserts work like magic for this).  We did “A” with our first child and “B” with our second. I found that “B” was much less stressful for me.

The more you can stay with your child when they are naked potty training, the more successful your experience will be. If you have older children it can be easiest to start training on the weekend when your spouse can be home to help with the older children.

During potty training, whether you’re doing naked potty training or some other method, it is so important to remain calm. It is essential that this be a positive experience for your child. If your child begins to pee on the floor, calmly, but quickly tell them, “stop peeing” or “you are peeing”, and take them to the potty. Remember, there is no need to get upset when a child has an accident.  If the child peed a little on the floor, but was able to finish up on the potty, give lots of praise for going on the potty.  My youngest and I had a little potty repertiore he loved to recite, “Do we pee pee on the floor?” “No!” he’d yell. “Do we pee pee in our pants?” “No!” he’d yell again.  “Where do we pee?” (said with much anticipation) “In the potty!” he’d yell proudly….it was cute.

It will likely take two or 3 days for your toddler to get the hang of controlling his or her bladder.  Once they’ve caught on you’re on the right track, but you’re not home free yet.  Most (younger) potty learners will take a little while to fully master control over their bladder.  Let them go without underwear under their pants until you are confident that they recognize and can tell you that they need to go potty before they actually begin going.  My older son went commando for about 2 months.  My younger son was ready for underwear in just 3 and a half weeks.

For more in my Potty Training Series read:

How to know if your child is ready to potty train

5 Tips for Successful Potty Training

My review of Potty Time! an exciting DVD to help your toddler get excited about using the potty.

Class dismissed!  Do you have any questions?  Have you tried this with your kids, or what other methods have you found successful?


About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


  1. I think this is a wonderful idea. In order for them to be aware that a change in behavior is expected they need a little reminder to be consciously aware
  2. Love this approach. It's definitely something I'll have to consider. I've used the 3 day potty training method. It worked amazingly well for 6 months and then we went on a family trip and had major regression :(
    • With my first we used a combo of the 3 day and then after that, when I saw that he was past diapers, but just wasn't quite ready for underwear, I decided to have him go pants-less for a while (commando when we had to go out somewhere).
  3. Thanks for the great post. I have heard of this and I plan to follow this method when I start potty training my son. Friends have told me that going commando is much faster than with trainers and underwear. The problem I have now is trying to figure out when to start potty training. My son is 17 months. He doesn't seem ready and I am due in June with a new baby. I think I may wait until after the baby is born and just before my son's 2nd birthday to start. That way the progress we make won't be delayed while I am in the hospital and caring for a newborn.
    • If it were me, I'd probably wait--unless you're son is all of a sudden is totally ready for potty training. There will be so many changes happening when you have your baby. Adjusting to a new baby will likely be a lot of stress for him, and learning to stay dry and use the potty might be a little much at that point. Though I never waited with my kids, often the older kids are the faster they potty train.
  4. With all three of mime the "naked" game has always been the magic bullet for me (after I got the proper motivation for each child). I am not that brave, so I haven't ever had them go comando when we are out of the house. The result of that is that it takes a little bit longer for them to lear to go potty when we are out. As much as I can I try to get several days we are going to be in the house for a LONG time so that we can get as much potty training in as concentrated amount as possible. Love the leg warmers. We did that with our little girl who was learning during in late fall.
  5. Very good tips. I'll have to give it a shot. We're going on a road trip in 7 weeks and I'm hoping my 2 year old will be potty trained beforehand.
    • Good luck! Don't worry if your little one isn't fully trained before you go. Sometimes it is convenient when you're not anywhere near a bathroom to be able to say, "don't worry honey, just go in your diaper". LOL It doesn't work for me any more, unfortunately. My 2 year old is very offended when we're on the road and I tell him to go in his diaper. ;)
  6. Awesome tips! thank you :)
  7. We're doing the naked potty training with my toddler right now for about a week, and she's only had a handful of accidents after the first day. My question is, what happens when you leave the house, as I'm sure you must. We put her in underwear to go to the church nursery, and she had 3/4 accidents in just 2 hours, and I'm sure it was because she thought she was in a diaper again. But we can't send her out commando while she's playing with other kids and (she mainly wears skirts and dresses) show everybody her naked bum. Any thoughts?
    • When out and about with my boys I just had them go sans underwear and I'd carry an extra pair of pants for them in my purse. You obviously can't do that with a little girl in a skirt. I'd put her in cloth training pants for church nursery (you can buy the gerber ones at most major retailers). They are absorbent enough to catch one accident, but they'll also let your daughter feel wet. Other than that I wouldn't worry too much about it. The amount of time she spends in the nursery is going to be so small compared to the practice she'll be getting at home during the week that you should see a lot of improvement at church next week and the week after. Let me know how it goes.