Tips for Potty Training Success

Whether you call it potty training, toilet training, or toilet learning, teaching a child to use the toilet instead of diapers is a big task for both the parents and one that can cause a lot of frustration if you aren’t prepared ahead of time. MomRN recently shared several tips for potty training success on Great Day Green Country (Fox 23, Tulsa).

First, you should have plenty of patience and time! Some kids learn quickly, others need a long time to learn, so don’t rush it! They will learn eventually, trust me!

When to start potty training

Most kids are developmentally ready to start training somewhere between 22 and 30 months of age. Every child is different though so look for these signs that your child is ready to start the process:

  • Your child is interested in using the potty or in wearing underwear
  • Your child is able to tell you when she’s about to pee or poop, or shows signs that she is going
  • Your child wants to be changed right after going in his diaper
  • Your child is able to stay dry for at least 2 hours at a time
  • Your child is able to walk to the bathroom on her own, pull her pants down and sit on a potty chair or climb up on a toilet

Even before a child is developmentally ready to start, you can do some pre-training by talking about using the potty as you are changing a diaper. Kids learn best by example, so your toddler can watch you or the other parent or an older sibling use the potty. Pretending to have a doll go potty is also a great way to introduce the concept.

Recommended tools

A potty chair that sits on the floor is ideal, so your child can easily sit on it without assistance. If you prefer to use a potty seat that fits on top of a regular toilet seat, make sure you have a step stool to help them climb up and down and to rest their feet on, as it will help your child feel more secure and comfortable. There are some great potty training books and DVDs you can share with your child to help him learn. I used Toilet Training in Less Than a Day by Drs. Nathan Azrin and Richard M. Foxx and found it very helpful when my oldest child was a toddler. I did not follow it exactly and chose to spread out the process longer than a day, but I used many of their suggestions and the process went pretty smoothly, so I used it again for my youngest child. We also had a potty training video called It’s Potty Time by Learning Through Entertainment, Inc and Duke University Medical Center. It had fun songs and skits about potty training and my kids and the children in my daycare loved it. It is available on DVD now and I highly recommend it.

“Big Boy” or “Big Girl” underwear with your child’s favorite cartoon characters or other fun designs can make potty training more appealing. Cheerios can be used as “targets” for little boys to help them learn to aim and to make potty training fun. There are also flushable targets you can buy in bright colors and fun shapes. Stickers or other small rewards can be used to encourage your child to go to the potty. A doll that drinks a bottle and “wets” can also help teach your child.

When to wait or stop the training process

If you and/or your child are getting too frustrated or upset over the potty training process, you may need to put it on hold and wait a few weeks, then try again. Otherwise it could become a big control issue or battle of wills and may take much longer for your child to become potty trained. It’s also not a good idea to start potty training during a stressful time in your child’s life, such as a move, divorce, or the birth of a sibling. It’s better to wait until things are more stable. And setbacks and regression are common if stressful events occur after a child has been potty trained. Be patient and understanding if that occurs. If you are concerned about your child’s potty training problems, consult with your pediatrician or family doctor.


2 Responses to “Tips for Potty Training Success”

  1. ItsPottyTime says:

    The Duke DVD you’re speaking about was actually just re-leased with 3 DVDs in 1. English, Spanish, and a Sleepy Time DVD. Check it out on our new website :

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!