There are many potty training methods out there, but one that is often talked about is the Oh Crap! Potty training method. While the name, “Oh Crap,” is likely what most toddler parents are thinking when it’s time to potty train their little one, it’s not the only appeal to parents. Below, we break down everything you need to know about Oh Crap! Potty Training.

What is the Oh Crap potty training method? 

The Oh Crap! Potty training method comes from the book, Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right, by Jamie Glowacki. The method is made up of 6 blocks that each focus on a different skill of potty training. Once your child has   grasped each block, they move on to the next. The book recommends staying home for the first 3 days as your child will be completely naked at first, and will need to be close by to a potty at all times.


What are the Oh Crap! Potty training blocks?

The blocks laid out in this method act as markers to track progress. Some kids move through a block a day, some take longer at one point over another. Each block is as follows:


Block 1: Peeing and pooping while naked, either with prompting or without.

Block 2: Peeing and pooping with clothes on, commando, with prompting or without.

Block 3: Peeing and pooping in different situations, with prompting or without.

Block 4: Peeing and pooping with underpants, with prompting or without.

Block 5: Consistent self-initiation.

Block 6: Night and nap.


What is the best time to start the Oh Crap potty Training method? 

Glowacki says most children between 18-24 months begin to show interest in the potty but are not ready until some time between 20 and 30 months. She notes that it can be done earlier but it will likely take longer for children to connect the dots. However waiting until after 30 months will be exponentially harder because by this point children know the power of free will and choice. The ideal potty training time frame is usually accompanied by these markers:

  • Your child retreats to a corner or private place to poop
  • Your child can communicate their needs
  • Your child can recite the abc song


How long does the Oh Crap! Potty training method take? 

There is no set time frame for this method, as it focuses on moving through the blocks as your child accomplishes each skill, but the author does say for most children it clicks after 3-7 days.


How does Oh Crap potty training differ from 3-day potty training? 

While Oh Crap and 3 day pottying training are both “bootcamp” forms of potty training, 3 day has you stay home and keep your child naked for 3 days and puts more pressure on the child without setting forth much of a guide for after that initial phase. Oh Crap! focuses more on moving through the blocks and skills versus a hard time frame.


Does Oh Crap! potty training really work? 

Some parents have had success with this method, however many have not. It is important to stay consistent and not move forward too quickly.


Are there any negatives to the Oh Crap! Potty Training method? 

According to our experts, one thing to keep in mind with this method is that it provides little guidance on how to prepare your child before starting potty training— including discouraging parents from introducing the potty to their child before actually starting to train. This can present some challenges because the child will not be familiar and comfortable with the potty before starting potty training. If the child is not comfortable with the idea of potty training it can create anxiety and fear, ultimately leading to a longer (or even sometimes unsuccessful) potty training journey.


Oh Crap! gives a window for potty training starting at 20 months. This can present as a problem because biologically speaking, until the age of 24 months, children have inconsistent control over their pelvic floor muscles — making it difficult to potty train before then. You also must wait until the child is emotionally ready, which could come later than 24 months. You need both biological and emotional readiness to be successful.


The method also recommends that parents, under no circumstances give their child a diaper or stop potty training once they start. This can often lead to constipation.


If you are worried about these challenges, or have tried the Oh Crap! Potty Training method and are facing some of these challenges, check out our new class, Potty Training: The Stress-Free Guide to Success. In our class we walk you through the process step by step. Not only to prepare you, your child and your home for what’s to come,  but also to ensure your child is developmentally ready to embark on their potty training journey in a healthy (protect those pelvic floors!), stress-free way that leads to long-lasting success.