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Toddler Potty Training: Three Easy Steps How to Potty Train a Toddler

Updated on July 16, 2011

Need potty training help?

Many parents have no idea when or how to start the potty training process. They are not sure whether they should remove the diapers only during the day or during the day and night. They don’t know what they will have to deal with and how their child will respond to the new thing in his or her life.

Children are much more willing to accept the new things in their life if they go through a gradual process. They can be stressed out, afraid and worried if you introduce new things and new routines suddenly and quickly.

Instead, divide potty training process into smaller steps and concentrate to one step at the time. That way you will be less tense and less likely to lose temper and feel like everything is falling apart.

Usually, children need around 10 days to adjust to a change in their life. But, it can last from 5 to 15 days, depending on the age of the child, situation and your approach.

Make your own charts or write a diary about potty training. Don’t write every time your child sits on the potty. But, write if they had an accident. By monitoring your child’s potty training process, you will be able to see a progress. This is very helpful, especially in situations when you think there is no improvement and your child still pees in the panties during the day.

If you see that your child has peed in the panties twice a day after a week and the first two days it peed into the panties six times, that is a great progress.

Don’t expect miracles, smaller improvements are what you should be looking forward to.

Before you start the potty training, be sure you did some preparations and bought enough spare clothes, bedding and all kinds of helpful things.

toddler potty training, potty training tips
toddler potty training, potty training tips

Here is a suggestion how you can start and finish a potty training by going through a simple three step process.

Step1 – remove the diapers during the day. This means your child will be without diapers when you are at home and when you go out. Since your child will probably pee in their panties 5 to 8 times per day, it is a good idea to reorganize your life (if it is possible) for about two weeks, so you can avoid accidents while out and away from home.

Spend more time at grandparents or friends, so the toilet will be close in case you need it. Spend time in a park close to your home while you’re out, so you can come back home in 5 to 10 minutes if your child tells you he or she has to pee or even pees in the panties.

The exception is daily nap. Don’t remove the diapers immediately, leave them still on for some time. There is no need to let your child be wet for longer period of time in the bed or change the sheets all the time, before a child gains at least some control over his or her needs.

That will cause extra stress for both of you.

Step2 – remove the diapers during the daily nap. The advice I used to follow and which made my life easier is this: when your see a dry diaper after daily nap for a week, it is time to take it off. Pay attention to diapers when your child wakes up. If you see that their diapers are dry for up to 5 days, don’t put them on any more before putting your child to sleep.

There is a possibility that your child will pee in the bed, but there is a bigger possibility that it won’t. If the child went through a process of daily potty training for 2 weeks and you found dry diapers for several days, the odds are that your child will pee in the bed only in specific situations which are very rare actually.

In any case, put waterproof sheets on the mattress and have enough extra panties, undershirts, pajamas and trousers, so you can change your child and bed when he or she wakes up.

Some children will ask for potty after an hour of sleep and go back to sleep. Some won’t, but the sleeping period will be shorter. If you notice that your child is sleeping shorter than before, it is normal. Now they have to control their need to pee and they may wake up earlier.

Step3 – remove the diapers during the night. Many parents are searching for nighttime potty training tips, because changing sheets and washing your child in the middle of the night is the most difficult part of potty training. Something all parents would like to avoid.

But, if you successfully went through the first two steps, there is no need to worry. The same thing is valid here. When you see dry diapers for a week, it is time to take them off. Don’t miss that moment, because if you let your child to sleep with dry diapers for too long, he or she will start to pee in diapers again. Than you will have much more trouble teaching them how not to pee in the bed during the night.

Many parents make long pause between taking off the diapers during the day and during the night. There is no need for this. It is much better for the child to finish the process in one piece. Children are ready to be without diaper 24/7 in a period of three to four weeks, just make sure you are ready too.

Don’t expect peaceful nights when you start the third step of potty training process. Some children will be wet several times per night. But, if you lead your child through a three step process, he or she will have enough control over their needs when you reach the third step. The number of times they will pee in the bed will be much smaller. You should expect them to pee in the bed once per night at the beginning, but after a week those accidents will occur less often.

Night time potty training – nighttime potty training tips

Night time potty training is not as hard as it may look to some parents. For some it goes easier, for some harder. The more things you do in advance to prepare your child, the more success you will both have.

Here are some nighttime potty training tips to make your life easier and the potty training process less exhausting.

  • Don’t remove the diapers in one day, meaning letting your child to be in the panties during the day and night from the first day. Some say this is better, but in reality letting your child to go through those three steps during one month is much easier for the whole family. Leave the night diapers for some more time, but not for too long. Monitor your child and you will recognize the right moment.
  • Buy two waterproof sheets for beds and four ordinary cotton sheets. That way you will always have spear bedding and won’t have to wash it in the morning when you wake up.
  • Prepare spare blanket, pajamas and panties every evening. If you do that you won’t lose time looking for it in the dark while you are still asleep.
  • Let your child sleep with you or in some other bad in case he or she pees the bad during the night. That way you won’t lose additional 20 minutes to make the bad again. You can do it in the morning. Nothing will last forever; the whole family has to contribute to new step in child’s life.
  • Put your child to potty right before going to sleep. Even if they peed in the potty 15 minutes before going to sleep, put them again. That way the child will sleep dry most of the night, if not the whole night. Some people like to wake up the child when they go to bed and put the child on potty. This is also a good way of keeping the child dry during the night. If it is ok with you and if you don’t mind waking up the child, you can try and see if it works for you.
  • Limit the liquid intake an hour before going to sleep. What they eat is not so important, but don’t let them drink the whole glass of water 10 minutes before going to sleep, they will not be able to hold it until the morning.


Toddler potty training process can be exhausting and complicated to some parents. But, knowing the easy way how to potty train a toddler can make your life easy. Which is even more important, it can make the whole potty training process less stressful and weird to your child.

Having a potty training process divided into three simple steps will make it lot easier for the whole family. Your child will have enough time to gain control over his or her needs and to adjust to a change in his or her life.

You will have time to accept addition work and effort around home and your child and be less tense and more supportive.

But, before you start the potty training, be sure to buy all necessary clothes, sheets, potties, accessories, books, charts and so on.


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    • EmmaMedu profile image

      EmmaMedu 5 years ago

      Moon willow lake, thank you for your comment.

    • Moon Willow Lake profile image

      Moon Willow Lake 6 years ago

      Thank-you for the step-by-step guide and information. That is helpful.

    • EmmaMedu profile image

      EmmaMedu 6 years ago

      tchenruiz, good luck this time I hope you'll suceed.

      This really worked for me and my child was very content. It is important that potty training is not stressfull for both child and the parents.

    • tchenruiz profile image

      tchenruiz 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Thank you. I'm going to give it a try, again...

    • EmmaMedu profile image

      EmmaMedu 7 years ago

      ed77burns, thank you for your comment, I'm glad you found it useful.

    • profile image

      ed77burns 7 years ago

      Good training program.liked it.