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Basics of Potty Training

Updated on November 14, 2018

Are You Ready to Potty Train?

Every parent dreams of the day that they will never have to change another diaper. It's almost as magical as the day that kids can get themselves in and out of their carseat. Perhaps even as fantastic as the day that you child helps carry in some groceries! I know nothing of the later events, but I am approaching a diaper free life (at least with my oldest)!

Ideally, my oldest would've been potty trained as soon as she began walking. But, unfortunately, she is just over two years old and is only just beginning the early stages of potty training.

You certainly can't chose when your child will be ready. Most children begin exhibiting signs of prime potty training time between 18 and 24 months, but some children won't be ready until they're 3 years old! How do you tell if your child is ready to begin potty training?

Does your child:

  • walk and sit unassisted?
  • request diaper changes?
  • show interest in using the potty?
  • follow and understand simple instructions?
  • pull pants up and down unassisted?

If you mostly answered, "Yes" you can give it a go! If you mostly answered, "No" you should give your child more time to mature before beginning potty training. Every child develops and grow at their own rate. If you try to force potty training, you may just be wasting your own time.

Potty Training Basics

If your child is ready to begin potty training, you will first want to purchase a small training toilet or a child sized seat for your toilet. Use incentives to gain your child's interest! Some parents choose to let their kid watch tv or color while sitting to keep them on the potty; others use treats such as candy or stickers. My pediatrician recommended using stickers when the child sits and candy when they actually use the potty. Keep in mind that you don't want to be giving your kid 20 pieces of candy a day; a single m&m or skittle will get the job done.

Training Tip!

Purchase an extra potty for a friend!

Some baby dolls come with a little potty just for the occasion.

Start scheduling potty break for you child. Begin by sitting them down on the toilet every 30 to 45 minutes. Once they get a grasp on the situation, you can slowly lengthen times between potty breaks.

Training Tip!

Be sure to keep an extra set (or two) of clothes and underwear handy; there will be accidents!

Ditch the diapers! The best way to teach a kid not to pee in their underwear is to put them in underwear. Diapers will absorb the liquid and stay somewhat dry whereas underwear will get soaked and feel uncomfortable. If you do not want to clean up pee all day, simply put the underwear on and cover it with a diaper; they will feel the wetness of the underwear and try to avoid it.

Training Tip!

Crocs are great shoes for potty training! They are easy to clean and dry in case of accidents.

Over Night Training

Unfortunately, most children are unable to stay dry overnight until they are 5 or older. Keep a box of overnight diapers around until then. Even once your kid is able to hold it overnight, accidents will happen! Make sure that you keep a fresh, clean set of sheets around for these occasions. Also, invest in a mattress cover!

My daughter often pees through her diaper overnight. So, I started placing an absorbent mat on her bed every night. I took the extra mats from the hospital from when I had my children (you're paying for it anyway); I figured they would come in handy.


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