Potty training can be as intimidating for parents as it is for children, especially when you don’t know how to start. But if you stick to these simple potty training tips, your little one will be out of diapers and using the potty in no time.
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Is your child ready for potty training?
Your little one might be ready to start potty training if they:
- are between 18 and 30 months old, this is the age range most experts suggest to start introducing using the potty
- have the ability to communicate needs, to be able to tell you when they have to go potty
- can understand and follow basic instructions
- have the ability to pull their pants and underwear down on their own
- have the ability to sit down and get up from the potty on their own
- stay dry for longer periods of time
It’s important to remember that every child is different. Some kids will take longer than others, and some will have a harder time grasping the concept than others.
Don’t get frustrated if your child just isn’t ready yet and don’t feel pressured by other people who were able to potty train their kids at a younger age.
Related → Sleep Training at 18 Months
What You Need:
10 Tips to Potty Train Your Toddler
1. Buy some books (for them, not you)
Before you start get some books with their favorite characters learning to use the potty. This will help reinforce in their mind that everyone uses the potty.
2. Use cloth undies
Don’t think that you can put pulls ups on your kids, tell them to go on the potty, and they will know the difference. Pull ups are going to feel just like diapers so your toddler won’t be able to recognize what has changed in their minds. Yes you will have a bigger mess to clean up when there’s an accident. But it will not take nearly as long for them to notice the difference between wet undies and wet pull ups.
3. Pull Ups are okay when necessary
After a few days of strictly wearing undies (expect to bed), I bought some pulls up to use at naptime, bedtime, and leaving the house. However I didn’t want Marley to think they were diapers or that it was okay to use them as diapers so we told her they were special undies. Of course she bought it.
We put them on her when we leave the house and she’ll still tell us when she needs to go potty. She also wears them to bed and usually wakes up dry from a nap but a little wet in the mornings.
In the end, do what works for you. You can always change your ways later if using pull ups too often or too little isn’t working.
4. Buy a little potty
Some people will tell you not to use a children’s potty because you’ll have to potty train them twice. My kids transitioned to the real toilet when they were ready without any issues. But if you prefer to skip the small potty you can.
I like to use the small potty’s so I can bring it into whatever room we are in the first few days. Having it in the same room helps remind kids when they need to go and it makes their commute shorter so there are less accidents.
5. Dedicate 3-4 days to just potty training
When I decided it was time to potty train Marley, that’s all we did for three days. We didn’t leave the house, just spent all day hanging out in the dining room (hardwood floors and wooden chairs for easy cleaning). I bought a training potty to keep with us and the kids colored or did other activities at the table.
6. Use a timer
You might think you don’t need a timer (like me) but just get one. Seriously. I would get wrapped up working on something and completely forget to remind Marley to try to go potty. Then she would get wrapped up playing or not paying attention and forget that she had to go. This is usually when she would have accidents. So just get a kitchen timer or even a potty watch to remind both of you when it’s time to try to go.
7. Reward them with treats and stickers
Positive reinforcement is a major key to potty training. Marley would get a gummy bear for peeing and two for pooping. We also used a sticker chart (because stickers are almost as awesome as gummy bears to toddlers). Hang it in the bathroom or near their potty so they can get excited about getting a new sticker when they go on the potty.
8. Be Consistent
It’s so easy to want to take a break and skip a day, especially after four or five days. But I promise it will be easier in the long run to just keep going. Otherwise you might have to start all over again.
It’s also important to stay consistent between caregivers. So make sure grandma or the babysitter are on the same page with what works and what doesn’t.
9. Be Patient
Potty training can get very frustrating very fast, trust me I get it. When you’re on day four and they’re still have more accidents than successes, and you’ve been stuck in the house for half the week your patience can start to wear thin.
So go into potty training expecting accidents and be prepared for them. Keep the trainee off the furniture and away from nice rugs until you have full confidence in them. But I highly suggest having some OxiClean Gel Sticks and Woolite Carpet Cleaner on hand just in case.
10. Make it fun
Toddlers base the amount of time they spend on something on how fun it is. So the more awesome you make it, the more into it they’ll be.
The first two days of training Marley we would dance and cheer like crazy every time she went. Then Oliver would sit and read her books when it was time for her to try to go. Other times we would sing P-O-T-T-Y to the tune of Bingo to help her go.