Help women in underserved communities feed and take care of their families.      DONATE

Potty Training For Toddlers: A Guide For Parents

Potty Training For Toddlers

There are so many things to think about while potty training for toddlers. 

From choosing the right time to dealing with accidents, it can be a challenge for you as a parent

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to potty training for toddlers.

We will cover everything you need to know, from the basics of potty training to tips for dealing with common problems. 

So whether you’re a first-time parent or you’re potty training your second or third child, we hope you will find this guide helpful. Let’s dive in!

What Is Potty Training?

Potty Training For Toddlers

Potty training is the process of teaching a child to use the toilet to urinate and defecate. 

It’s a major milestone in a child’s development and can be a challenging time for both parents and children.

When Should I Start Potty Training For My Child?

There is no one-size-fits-all for potty training for toddlers. Some children are ready to start potty training as early as 18 months, while others may not be ready until they are 3 or 4 years old. 

The best way to determine when your child is ready is to watch for signs that they are interested in learning. These signs may include:

  • Paying attention to when they urinate or defecate.
  • Asking to use the toilet.
  • Waking up dry from a nap or overnight.
  • Being able to follow simple instructions.

If your child is showing these signs, then they may be ready to start potty training.

How To Start Potty Training For Your Child

Potty Training For Toddlers

There are a few things you can do to make potty training easier for your child. Some of them include:

  1. Choose a time when your child is not sick or stressed

Potty training for toddlers requires focus and consistency, so it’s important to select a period when your child is generally healthy and not dealing with any significant stressors. 

If they are ill or going through a major life change, like moving to a new house or starting preschool, it might be better to wait until they are in a more stable and comfortable state.

  1. Talk to your child about potty training and what it means

Communication is key. Take the time to explain to your child what potty training is all about and why it’s important. 

Use simple language and engage them in conversations about using the toilet like a “big kid.” This helps them understand the purpose and encourages their cooperation.

  1. Make sure your child is comfortable sitting on the potty

Ensure that your child feels at ease while sitting on the potty. You can let them pick out a potty chair or toilet seat insert that they find comfortable and appealing. 

Encourage them to sit on it for short periods, even if they don’t need to go, to get accustomed to the sensation and build confidence.

  1. Praise your child when they use the potty correctly

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool. Whenever your child successfully uses the potty, provide praise, encouragement, and maybe even a small reward, like a sticker or a special treat. 

This reinforces their progress and motivates them to continue using the toilet.

  1. Do not punish your child if they have an accident

Accidents are a normal part of the potty training process. It’s crucial not to punish or shame your child when they have an accident. 

Instead, remain calm and supportive. Assure them that accidents happen and that they will get better with time. 

Focus on praising their successes and offering reassurance throughout the training journey.

Some Common Problems With Potty Training

Potty Training For Toddlers

Here are some common problems that come with potty training for toddlers;

  1. Accidents

Accidents are a normal part of the potty training process, so it’s essential not to get discouraged or frustrated. 

React calmly and avoid shaming or punishing your child. Instead, focus on reinforcing positive behaviour by praising them when they use the potty correctly. 

It can also be helpful to provide gentle reminders and encourage regular bathroom breaks.

  1. Refusal to use the potty

If your child is refusing to use the potty, it’s important to try and understand the underlying reason. 

They might be afraid of the potty or simply not feel ready yet. Address their concerns by talking to them, using positive reinforcement, and providing reassurance. 

You can also make the potty more inviting by letting them choose a favourite toy or book to keep nearby.

  1. Regression

Regression is not uncommon during potty training, especially if there are changes or stressors in your child’s life. Be patient and understanding during this phase. 

Revisit the basics of potty training and offer reminders and encouragement. 

Try to identify any potential triggers or changes in routine that may have contributed to the regression and address them as best as you can. 

Consistency and positive reinforcement will help your child regain their progress.

Tips For Potty Training For Toddlers

Potty Training For Toddlers

Here are a few tips to potty train your child:

  1. Take your child to the potty regularly

Establishing a routine is crucial during potty training. Encourage your child to sit on the potty at regular intervals, such as every 30 minutes to an hour. 

You can also take them to the bathroom immediately after meals or when they show signs like squirming, crossing their legs, or holding their diaper. 

Consistency will help reinforce the habit and reduce accidents.

  1. Make it a fun experience

Turn potty training into an enjoyable adventure. Let your child be involved in selecting their own potty chair or potty seat. 

Choose one with their favourite cartoon character or bright colours to make it more appealing. 

Consider reading potty training books or singing silly songs about using the potty. You can also use sticker charts or small rewards as incentives to keep them motivated.

  1. Be patient

Potty training for toddlers is a process that requires patience and understanding. Accidents are inevitable, and it’s essential not to get discouraged or frustrated. 

Instead, remain calm and reassure your child that accidents happen and that they’re learning. 

Focus on praising their successes, no matter how small, as positive reinforcement goes a long way in building their confidence.

  1. Teach proper hygiene

Along with using the potty, it’s essential to teach your child about proper hygiene practices. 

Teach them to wipe themselves, emphasizing from front to back for girls, and proper handwashing after using the toilet. 

Reinforce good hygiene habits consistently to instill a lifelong practice.

  1. Dress for success

Choose clothing that allows for easy and quick access to the potty. 

Elastic waistbands or pants with easy-to-pull-down features can make the process more manageable for your child, especially during those urgent moments.

  1. Use positive reinforcement

Praise and rewards play a vital role in motivating your child during potty training. 

Offer verbal praise, hugs, or high-fives every time they successfully use the potty. 

You can also create a reward system, such as a sticker chart, where they earn stickers for each successful potty visit and receive a small prize after reaching a certain number of stickers.

  1. Demonstrate and involve siblings or peers

If your child has older siblings or peers who are already potty trained, involve them in the process. 

Children often learn from observing others, so having a “potty buddy” can provide motivation and encouragement. 

Let your child see their older siblings or friends using the potty, which can help normalize the behavior and make them more comfortable with the idea.

  1. Stay consistent during outings

Potty training for toddlers shouldn’t be limited to the home. 

When you’re out and about, make sure to bring along a portable potty seat or have a plan for accessing public restrooms. 

Maintain the same routines and practices you use at home to reinforce the habit of using the toilet.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I handle potty training while on the go or during outings?

When potty training is on the go, be prepared by carrying a portable potty or disposable seat covers. 

Plan frequent bathroom breaks and communicate with your child about their needs. It’s also helpful to have spare clothes and wipes on hand in case of accidents.

What can I do if my child refuses to sit on the potty or toilet?

If your child resists sitting on the potty, offer encouragement, reassurance, and patience. 

Create a positive and relaxed environment, use visual aids or books to make it more engaging, and allow your child to take their time. 

Avoid forcing or pressuring them, as it may lead to resistance.

How can I handle nighttime potty training and bedwetting?

Nighttime potty training may take longer and varies for each child. 

Use waterproof mattress protectors, encourage your child to use the potty before bedtime, and limit fluid intake close to bedtime. 

Be supportive if bedwetting occurs, as it is a common part of the potty training process. Avoid punishments or making your child feel ashamed.

Should I use rewards or incentives during potty training?

Rewards or incentives can be effective in motivating children during potty training. 

Consider using a sticker chart, small treats, or verbal praise to acknowledge and celebrate their successes. 

However, it’s important to gradually phase out rewards as your child becomes more comfortable using the potty independently.

What if my child is attending daycare or preschool? How can I coordinate potty training efforts with their caregivers?

Communicate with your child’s daycare or preschool about your potty training plans and strategies. 

Share information on your child’s progress, routines, and any specific techniques that work well for them. 

Maintain open lines of communication and collaborate with caregivers to ensure consistency between home and childcare settings.


In conclusion, potty training for toddlers can be a challenging but rewarding milestone for a parent. 

By choosing the right time, fostering open communication, creating a comfortable environment, using positive reinforcement, and handling setbacks with patience, you can make potty training a smoother and more successful journey. 

Remember, accidents and regressions are normal, so stay determined, stay positive, and celebrate each step forward. 

With your support and guidance, your little one will soon be proudly proclaiming, “I’m a big kid now!”

Share this

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments