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Simple Potty Training for your Toddler

Updated on May 15, 2018
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Heather is a published book Author who writes under multiple pen names, ghost writes for other Authors, and is an established Illustrator.

What are the Key Elements in Potty Training?

When it is time to potty train your little one you need to remember that not only will it take your child time to adjust to a new habit, but you as the parent are responsible for your child's success in potty training. There are key elements that you need to remember when beginning to potty train your toddler.

  • Toddler Readiness
  • Consistency
  • Repetition
  • Preparedness
  • Patience

When To Start Potty Training

You are more than likely reading this article because you are at a loss when it comes to potty training. Perhaps you have already begun potty training and it isn't going so well, or maybe you haven't yet begun potty training and you have no idea where to begin. Knowing where to begin is half the battle. After you have read through this article in it's entirety you should feel confident about your potty training journey with your little one.


The best time to begin introducing potty training is between the age of 18 months and 24 months. Around this time, your child is learning his or her first words and can comprehend what they mean. A child is also more aware of the impending sensation that they 'need to go' around 18 months of age. Are you unsure if your child is ready to begin potty training? Children will begin to exhibit signs of potty training readiness. Here are signs that signal your child is ready to begin potty training:

  • Your child says 'poopies' or 'peepee' when they have soiled their diaper
  • Your child is visibly uncomfortable when wet and tries to remove their own diaper
  • Your child runs into the bathroom and points to the potty
  • If they wake up from a nap with a dry diaper

If your child exhibits one or more of these signs then it is time to potty train. Every child learns at their own pace so don't be discouraged if it takes a little longer to instill a habit.


Lose the Diapers

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Being Consistent with Potty Training

The next key element, and most important, to potty training success is Consistency! Make sure you establish a potty training plan with your partner to help your child develop proper potty training habits. All of your children's caregivers, babysitters, or family members need to be consistent with your potty training plan as well. Any inconsistency will only lengthen the potty training process.

Once you start potty training you cannot let unwilling participants, laziness or busy schedules interfere with your potty training regimen. Do not be tempted to let your child 'go' in their diaper because you are otherwise occupied at the time, and it is just easier to change them. You must be committed to your potty training mission and stick to a plan that will work with both you and your child.

What is a reasonable potty training regimen?

A potty training plan may be as simple as taking your toddler to the bathroom at timed intervals, chosen time frames such as before and after meal times, upon waking time, and before bed. You must also be open to the cues that your child gives you. If you notice your child wiggling, having far-off stares, or your child tells you they have to go potty then you need to take your child to the restroom, even if you had just taken your child to the restroom less than 10-15 minutes prior.

Create a Healthy Potty Training Habit for your Toddler

The more you introduce your child to using the potty, the faster he or she will catch on. Repetition is an essential element for potty training success. Research shows that it takes about a week of a consistent behavior to develop a habit. You can develop a healthy potty training habit with your toddler too! It may sound too simple, but it really is that simple.

Your potty training plan should be adjusted to the potty frequency of your child. Trying something new can be a scary concept for toddlers.Taking your child with you to the bathroom when you go may help ease their fears of trying something new, and they will be more willing to participate because they will be copying you. Monkey see, monkey do. I would suggest bringing your toddler with you to the bathroom on multiple occasions, first, before introducing them to a potty of their own. After your child is familiar with the bathroom concept then you can bring the potty in and have him or her 'do their thing' at the same time you do.

Going at the same time as your child will not be a necessity for every trip to the bathroom, but in the beginning stages of potty training; it is a good idea.

Get Your Toddler Excited about Potty Training

As with trying anything new and different, your child must be interested in potty training. If you get your child interested in the idea of potty training first then they will be much more willing to participate in the process, and you will have less toddler meltdowns.

We live in a virtual world and have more visual learning tools available to assist us. Buy a potty training video that incorporates songs and pictures. Toddlers love to watch videos with colorful imagery and fun songs they can sing along to. You can also purchase potty training books to read to your child. The more you discuss potty training with your child and the more exposer to the idea of potty training, the more curious and excited they will be about the subject.

Once you have introduced the idea of potty training to your child, next it is time to go shopping for a new potty. Every child gets excited when they have something new. For them it's like they are getting a new toy. There are even little potties that light up, make flushing sounds, or sing songs once your child uses the potty, or flushes the handle. These type of potties make potty training a fun experience for your toddler.

Let your child pick out their favorite character underwear. Make sure you tell them its their big boy/big girl undies just like mommy, daddy, big brother, or big sister. Having an older sibling, or cousin can sometimes expedite the potty training process because your child will want to do things just like them.

Be Prepared for Potty Accidents

There can, and will, be accidents during the potty training process. Make sure you bring extra clothes, wipes, and a backup towel if you plan to leave the house for any amount of time.

If you are uncomfortable with the idea of a 'bare bottomed babe' in public, (As is understandable) then you can revert to pull-ups. However, limit pull-ups to outings only. The sooner your child is accustomed to the feel of undies the faster the potty training will be successful.

Allowing your child to feel the uncomfortable wet feeling of undies is a step in the right potty training direction so even when your child does have an accident (even though it means more laundry for you) you are still making progress with your child. Try to use a pull-up as little as possible. Using pull-ups too often may revert your child back into the diaper mind-set. If your child is using the potty on a consistent basis then the need for pull-ups during naptime, or in public will be reduced and potty accidents will be less frequent allowing you to transition to undies completely. Keep in mind that even children up to age 9 may occasionally have a nighttime bedwetting occurrence.

HELP me Potty train!

Patience with Potty Training

The last tip I have for you is: Be patient. Your child will catch on, and when he or she begins to successfully use the potty, make sure you show him or her how proud of them you are. Get excited. Clap your hands and make a big deal of their accomplishment.

You can even start a mini reward system to continue their interest such as stickers, a special movie they get to pick, going out for ice-cream, etc. Try out different methods to decide what works best for you and your child. Potty training success is cause for a celebration because it takes time, patience, and effort for both you and your child. You should be just as proud of yourself, as you are for your child, because you committed to the potty training plan and endured the 'Adventure' of teaching an new and essential life skill to your child.

Potty Training Poll

What factor has made potty training most challenging for you?

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© 2014 Heather Ann Gomez

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