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How to Potty Train a Toddler

Updated on September 4, 2010

Potty training can be a very difficult process for both the parents and the child. Once the child is fully potty trained, however, the parents can save a ton of money and time from not having to use diapers. It is very important to be consistent and patient when teaching the child to use the potty. The following are some simple tips to help potty train any child.

Make sure the child is ready- There really is no exact age that all children are ready to be potty trained but the most common age is 2-2 ½ years old. Every child is different though so it is best to look for the signs of potty readiness. Some hints that the child is ready are

· Showing interest or curiosity in the toilet.

· Acknowledging when they are soiling their diaper.

· The ability to pull down his/her own pants.

· Keeping a dry diaper for 2 hours or longer.

Getting Prepared- You should let the toddler know ahead of time that he/she will be starting to use the potty. Make them a part of the preparations. Some stores will have floor displays of the children’s potties so let the child try them out and pick out one that he/she likes. While you are at it, go ahead and let them pick out some new big kid underpants that they will be excited about wearing. Many children like reading books while they are trying to use the toilet so you will want to have some small, cleanable children’s books to keep in the bathroom. You will also need plenty of easy-off pants so that the child can get them off without assistance. I do not recommend pull-ups be worn anytime the child is awake and at home because they have the feel of a diaper. They are necessary for bedtime and outings at first but anytime the child is home he/she should be in underpants.

Encouragement/Rewards- It is important to give the child plenty of encouragement when they are being potty trained. Go to the potty with them so that they can see how it is done. Whenever they use the toilet, tell them what a great job they did. This will get them trained much faster than scolding them for then have an accident. You don’t want to embarrass or shame the child for using their diaper. You should comfort them instead and give them encouraging words to use the toilet next time. You can also reward the child with a piece of candy or a sticker every time they use the potty.

Be ready for surprises - The first stages of potty training can be very difficult because there will most likely be a lot of accidents. If you will be out for several hours don’t underestimate the amount of back-up clothes you need to bring for the child. A child being potty trained can easily go through 2-3 pairs of pants in a short outing if they are not wearing pull-ups. Also, remember that pull-ups hold a lot less than regular diapers so they need to be changed more often to prevent leakage.

Be patient- As said before, every child is different. Some children are so excited that they don’t have to use a diaper anymore that you can show them once and never worry about it again. Others will require several months of training and encouragement. Don’t worry if your child does not use the toilet every time you take them to the bathroom. You don’t want to get into a battle with them because they may just not need to go right then.. Some children will want to go to the bathroom alone and others will want you to sit with them. Pay attention to what works for your child and before you know it, you will never have to buy pampers again!


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    • profile image

      baby potty training 7 years ago

      Great hub on this topic. These tips help a lot when you are potty training your child. I know it helped with my 2 kids. Great job

    • Kimberly Bunch profile image

      Kimberly Bunch 8 years ago from EAST WENATCHEE

    • mother knows best profile image

      mother knows best 8 years ago from Dearborn, MI, USA

      My son has the cars soft potty seat I see in the ad... not sure if you set it up to be there. I don't think he ever would have wanted to use the toilet instead of his training potty without that thing! I'm constantly looking for new tips because my one and half year old is showing interest in the potty. I tend to potty train by some lesser known and not so accepted early methods but my 2 and half year old is potty trained fully with only the occasional accident maybe once a week and only when we are outside or doing something that he doesn't want to leave to go potty. I hope my daughter does as well as him... she's pretty stubborn...

      I like your advice on here. Pretty basic but good basics to start with and you have to learn somewhere. I was clueless and learned my methods from various potty training techniques online myself.