Potty Training Tips to Potty Train a Toddler
Ah, the time has come. That dreaded time that nearly every parent loathes. Where our days are spent chasing around our children. Sounding like a broken record, asking their cute little faces for the hundredth time if they ‘have to go potty’.
Of course, the answer is always ‘no’.
Five minutes pass and just as you are sitting down to relax, you hear that all familiar sound. The sound of liquid hitting the floor. And that’s when you begin to reflect back on life before parenthood.
How did we end up here? But then we take a look at the cute little face again and it’s all totally worth it.
Anyway, you’re here for some potty training tips. Sometimes I get a little caught up in a dramatic entrance.
If there is one thing I could stress to you about potty training a toddler it is this.
Patience is key. Let me repeat, patience is key.
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Before we get into the nitty gritty of potty training a toddler, lets first make sure we’ve got all the necessary supplies.
Things Needed to Potty Train a Toddler
- Plenty of Underwear (about 20-30)
- Pull-Ups, if you wish
- Mini Toilet
- Potty Seat that attaches to adult toilet
- Step Stool (to get on top of big potty)
- Potty Training Chart, if you wish
- Stickers, M&Ms or other rewards, if you’d like
- Cleaning Supplies for mini toilet and accidents
- Gloves to use while cleaning, if you wish
- Lots of Enthusiasm and Patience! ?
Potty Training Tips
Below is a list of potty training tips that we personally implemented and found to be true. These potty training tips truly did help us tremendously. However it is important to remember that each child has their own unique way of learning new things.
1.) Introduce the Potty Months Before Potty Training
We have always had somewhat of an open door policy at our home. Sure, potty time is a private time. But, it’s also important for children to understand what the bathroom is used for.
We explained to our daughter what the toilet was very early on. And we also purchased a mini toilet months before we started potty training.
Sure, we didn’t use the baby potty right away. But it helped get her accustomed to it. Plus, she enjoyed sitting on it every now and again to pretend potty.
2.) Wait Until Toddler is Ready
One of the most important potty training tips is to make sure that your toddler is ready before you start potty training. Many times we can get caught up in the comparison game.
While some children show readiness before age 2; it is common for many children to show interest around age 2.5 to 3 or so.
It’s really important to pay attention to the cues from your child to determine the right time to start potty training a toddler. Some potty training readiness signs include:
- Going longer periods of time with a dry diaper.
- Pulling at their diaper or pull-up.
- Telling you when they went potty, are going potty or when they have to go.
- Waking up from nap time with a dry diaper.
- Showing interest in the toilet.
- Hiding when they have to go to the bathroom.
- Bathroom habits become more predictable.
Choosing to potty train a toddler when they are showing signs of readiness should lead to a more successful experience.
3.) Make Sure Everyone is on Board
This is one of those potty training tips we learned by a mistake we made ourselves early on. We learned only after we started potty training the first time that the room our daughter was in at preschool did not have a toilet.
So, naturally we had no choice, but to send her in pull-ups. Which, essentially their just bigger diapers. And because they were not taking children to the bathroom, she was left to go in her pants.
Where’s the consistency in that?
It was at this point that we decided to put potty training hold. What would be the point of us potty training if she only used the toilet at home? It didn’t make sense.
Also, make sure that family is 100% committed, as well. If your children regularly stay with aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. make sure that they understand the importance of potty time.
Because again, consistency is going to be necessary for potty training to be successful.
4.) Commit 100%: Go ALL In
The first go around, we used pull-ups often. It was our security blanket so we didn’t have to worry about messes while we were out. But, in all honesty it really hindered the potty training process.
When it came to potty train our daughter, for real this time, we did things a little different. We only used a pull-up if we were going on a long trip outside of the home and at bedtime.
If she had an accident, she had an accident.
This lasted for about a week before I nixed pull-ups altogether. We ended up with a few accidents, but that’s bound to happen. Having accidents, while messier for us as parents or caregivers, is better for children. This allows them to feel and learn from the “icky” feeling.
5.) Potty Train a Toddler When Not Many Other Changes are Occurring
We gave it a few weeks to start really potty training again after our little one moved up to a new class. This was to allow her the time to adjust to a new classroom and friends. We still practiced going to the potty, but we didn’t push it.
We have learned that introducing just one “change” at a time has been more successful for us. So, if you are able to, try waiting until your child’s environment is calm before going all in with potty training.
6.) Make it Exciting
One of those super easy potty training tips. Do what you have to do to make potty training a toddler exciting.
That could mean doing a happy dance, high-fives, giving a thumbs up, lots of clapping, telling them they made you proud or just saying good job each time. Find what excites them and do it. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in potty training.
7.) Use a Potty Chart (if you feel it will help)
I honestly thought potty charts were pointless the first go around. However, I believe they attributed to our success the second time.
The chart was not just for her, but it also allowed us track her potty breaks too. We were able to learn overall general times in which we would need to try to use the bathroom.
Interested in a potty training chart?
If you’d like a copy of the potty chart we created, to help potty train a toddler, you can grab it here. We did use M&M candies as a reward and they seemed to work pretty well.
And if you’re wondering if your child will come to expect a candy each time they have to go potty?
She actually was completely over the candies, by the end of it, and stopped asking for them altogether. So in our experience, we did not have this problem.
8.) Don’t Make Potty Time an “Icky” Thing
This was something we started on. I believe I read or seen something somewhere that we shouldn’t make “eww” noises or disgusted faces as we change diapers. And I think it helped.
Also, we were pretty diligent about reaffirming that everybody uses the potty. Going to the bathroom is a very natural thing. Portraying it as anything other than that could lead to some reluctance.
9.) Be Accommodating
When it comes to potty training a toddler, sometimes you have to be a little accommodating. There were a few times where we brought the little potty out into the living room.
This only occurred on the difficult days where there was reluctance to the big toilet. However, it still allowed her to use a potty instead of going in her pants. After each time, we would move it back into the bathroom so she knew that was really where she was supposed to be going.
So now that you’ve got some tips under your belt, you might be wondering how long it’ll take.
How Long Does Potty Training Take?
The truth is that it depends. For us, I would say it took us 3 weeks to be fully potty trained. My idea of being fully potty trained is not what others may think. By other people’s standards, we were potty trained in less than a week’s time.
For me, however, being fully potty trained meant no accidents for at least one week. It also meant that we no longer had to ask her if she needed to use the potty. She let us know.
Some children may take shorter or longer to fully grasp the idea of going to the bathroom. The important things to do are to remain consistent, stay positive and go all in. Once you believe it is time to get rid of pull-ups, say goodbye to them for good. No looking back.
Good luck, Mama. You got this!
I hope that these potty training tips were helpful for you. When it comes time to potty train a toddler remember to go in with an open mind and positivity. These two things will help you throughout the process. It’s messy and it’s not easy, but it’s wonderful once you’re done!
If you found these tips helpful or know someone who could benefit, I would love if you shared others.