Oh, those toddler years; they are fun, frustrating, and filled with learning. There is so much to learn and
some areas can prove frustrating for both of you. Potty training can be one of those experiences. You can
make it easier for you and your toddler if you prepare, remembering that each potty training experience is
as unique as the toddler you love. Here are some things you can do to successfully potty train your
If you are unsure of when to start toilet training, you are not alone. Even experienced parents struggle
with this decision. Every child is different, but most toddlers begin to show signs of readiness between 18
and 24 months. However, age is not the determining factor for toilet training readiness. If you are not sure
your child is ready, wait until your child lets you know they are ready. If your child does not want to sit on
or use the potty, do not force them to do so. Remember: Often, boys start later than girls start and may
take longer to train.
Once your child is ready, establish a routine. Put your child on the potty a few minutes at the same times
each day. A good potty time is 45 minutes to one hour after a meal or drinking fluids.
It is not a good idea to start potty training at stressful or inconvenient times. Traveling, moving to a new
home or the addition of a sibling all can create stress in your toddler, which is not conducive to successful
potty training. In addition, if possible to do so, potty train in warm weather; layers of clothing worn in
colder weather make potty training more difficult for both you and your toddler.
The length of time it takes to potty train your child is also dependent on your toddler. Usually, the process
takes between three to six months. However, some children take less time, and some much longer. The
last toilet training task to master, and sometimes the most difficult, is staying dry at night. Limiting liquids
late in the evening can help your toddler stay dry throughout the night.
Prepare Your Child
Make sure your child has clothing that helps them with potty training. Additionally, your child should know
how to undress before you attempt potty training.
Use your words. Teach the vocabulary necessary for potty training. Use words to express how to use the
toilet, such as “pee,” and “potty.” Begin to talk about using the potty when you change a diaper.
Remember to use positive language.
Demonstrate the use of the toilet. Taking your toddler into the bathroom and letting them flush the toilet
when you finish your toileting rituals can teach them not to fear the water in the toilet, a problem for some
toddlers. Laughing or using a rhyme as the water goes down and explaining that big boys and girls use
the toilet and do not wear diapers, can also prepare your toddler. If your toddler has older siblings, they
can also serve as good examples for toilet training.
Have the Correct Equipment
Choose a sturdy potty seat and provide a stool for your toddler to reach the toilet seat. Some parents
prefer a freestanding potty especially designed for the toddler. You may need to try both to find out which one your toddler prefers. It is helpful to have your toddler sit on their potty next to you while you sit on the
The use of training pants is beneficial for some children, serving as a helpful transition between diapers
and underwear. Other children just treat them like a diaper and their use can actually slow the potty
training process. Again, each toddler is different. One idea is to use training pants only when a toilet is not
readily available, such as when on an excursion or traveling. Also, some children respond well to
purchasing “big kid” underwear and anticipating the ability to wear them.
Be Patient with Accidents
Every toilet training toddler has accidents. It is important to be patient and positive. If you child starts
having problems late in their potty training for no apparent reason, a visit to the doctor may be a good
idea to rule out a medical problem.
Bed wetting tends to be genetic. If you or your husband trained late or had bed wetting problems, your
toddler may have the same problem.
Recognizing that every area of your child’s growth and development is an adventure can help you
approach potty training with confidence. With preparation and positive thinking, you can be successful
potty training your troublesome toddler.