Useful Tips To Note When Potty Training Your Toddler

Editorial Team

Potty training doesn’t have to be hard or stressful.

Just like with walking and talking, toddlers have different timetables when it comes to using the potty. Though some toddlers adjust in a few days, it may take your little boy or girl several months to get into the potty habit.

There's no right age to start potty training, as every child is different. Most parents start potty training when their child is between 12 months and three years old. However, it is thought that the older a child is, the easier and quicker it is to potty train them.

The following tips should help you when you decide to potty train your toddler:

Tip #1 Assess your child's readiness for potty training

Don’t be pressured to toilet train your child too soon due to pressure from other parents or your family members. You should watch for the signs that your child is ready to start potty training, before you begin.

Here are some of the signs you can look out for;

  • Fewer wet diapers. You will notice that your child is wetting his or her diaper less often, this may be a sign that he or she is gaining bladder control. A useful skill for potty training.
  • Increased awareness of bodily functions. Your child may have begun to notice when he pees or poops. He or she may try to call attention to it by crying or complaining. You may also notice that your child will retreat to a corner for privacy, after each bodily function. These are good signs that your little one is ready for potty training.
  • Ability to dress and undress. If your toddler is able to dress and undress his or herself e.g. pull down training pants and pull them back on again, then potty training is the next step.
  • Your child can say the right words. If your child is able to say the words: poo, pee, wee, go potty or something similar, then he or she can express the need to use the potty.  Potty training will go more smoothly if your toddler understands the necessary words.

Tip #2 Make potty training preparations

Once you decide that it’s time to start potty training, then go ahead to make the necessary purchases for your child.

Some parents choose to start potty training using training seats that can be attached to a toilet and others might prefer a potty. A potty is probably easiest to start with, rather than a toilet as it's easy to get on and off, and can be moved around the house. However, you may prefer to buy a training seat to attach to your toilet, if you decide to do this, make sure you also purchase a step to make it easier for your child to get on and off the toilet seat.

You should buy pants for your child, a necessary requirement when potty training. Wearing real underwear may encourage your toddler to use his potty and you can choose some pants that have your toddler's favourite cartoon characters on them.

You could also try using training pants for your toddler instead of proper underwear, as these will help take care of any small accidents.

Tip #3 Start a potty training routine

As soon as you decide to potty train, let everyone who looks after your child know that you're going to start potty training e.g. grandparents, daycare staff or childminders. Everyone who looks after your child will need to use the same, consistent approach.

You may begin by taking things slowly. For example encourage your toddler to sit on the potty once a day. This may be after a meal or after giving him or her a hot drink or whenever you feel your child is most likely to poo.

Next you can sit your child on the potty after he or she has just had a wet or dirty nappy. This will help your child understand where the wee and poo is meant to go and encourages him or her to get used to the potty and accept it as part of the daily routine.

Some children may initially show reluctance to sit on a potty, don’t force them or push them. You can wait for a couple of weeks again before trying.

If you persist when your child is not ready, he or she will only get upset and you will become increasingly frustrated, as your potty training efforts turn into a battle-ground.

Tip #4 'Show is better than tell'

By now you will have noticed that your child copies a lot of what you do. Children learn by copying, so seeing you use the toilet will help your toddler to understand the purpose of a toilet.

You can make it fun by making funny faces and gestures when you need to go to the toilet. When you are there explain what's going on as you go yourself. Show your child how you wipe with toilet paper, pull up your underwear, flush the toilet, and then wash your hands.

You will be surprised that seeing you do it, and talking him or her through the process step-by-step, will get him or her used to the process of potty training.

You can also let your toddler see his older siblings using the toilet. This will help him see the process in action.

Ensure that you always wash your hands when you are done, let your child see you do this and teach them how to do this.

Tip #5 Praise your child

Encourage your child by praising him or her each time he or she uses the potty successfully. This way he or she will start to understand that getting something in the potty is an accomplishment.

When accidents happen, be calm. Your toddler will have several accidents before being completely trained and it can be frustrating, but don't get angry or punish him or her.

Potty training can take time. So when you little one has an accident, calmly clean it up and let him or her that next time the potty should be used instead. You can even sit your toddler on the potty afterwards, to show where the wee or poo should have gone.

Potty training does not have to be hard or stressful. While you should ensure your toddler is ready to be potty trained before starting, you can achieve your potty training goals by taking a few simple steps.

Tell us, how did you successfully potty train your toddler?