Potty TrainingToddler

Toddler Potty Training

Toddler Potty Training

So, you’ve noticed that your toddler keeps a dry diaper during nap time or that you’re changing fewer diapers lately. These and other signs may indicate that your toddler is ready for the next big step in his life, “POTTY TRAINING”.

For a lot of parents, knowing when to start potty training can be as confusing as knowing how to go about it. Not all kids are ready at the same age, so age might not be a good indicator as to when to commence the training.

The key to potty training is patience and timing. Knowing that not all toddlers reach this milestone at the same time and at the same pace, and also that boys often start later and take longer to learn and use the potty than girls.

Many children show signs of being ready for potty training between ages 18 and 24 months. However, others might not be ready until they’re 3 years old. There’s no rush. If you start too early, it might take longer to train your child.


Before you start potty training, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can your child follow simple instructions?

  • Can your child tell or show signs when he needs to go?

  • Can your child get to a potty, sit on it and stand up mostly unaided?

  • Can your child pull down his underpants or diapers himself?

  • Can your child stay dry for up to two hours?

  • Can your child understand the process of using the toilet?

  • Does your child show signs of wanting to use the potty or wear just underpants?

Honestly answer those questions to know what the next step of action should be. If you answered no to most of those questions, it is better to put a stop to any potty training plans, as it might be counterproductive. On the other hand, if you answered yes to most of the questions, then go ahead and start potty training.



The importance of timing cannot be overemphasized. Be sure you are available to see the potty training through, as any sudden break in routine or stop to the training may cause a regression in the training, frustration on both you and your child, and ultimately, a failed attempt at successful potty training. You may also want to put off starting potty training during certain periods in your family life. Such as around the birth of a sibling, when your child is starting preschool, when he’s changing from crib to bed, when you’re moving house or any other changes. Postpone the process until there’s a levelof stability in your child’s life.


As with other milestones, the amount of time it takes depends on your child. It takes between 3 and 6 months for most kids to be fully trained , although it may take more or less time for some children. Do not expect your child to master the act of sleeping all through the night without wetting the bed, and learning to use the potty all at the same time. Some children are able to do all at the same time, while others take a while.It may take additional months to master staying dry all night. So,be patient!

It is important to know that the amount of time it takes for your child to learn doesn’t point to how knowlegeable or intelligent he is. Also keep in mind that accidents are bound to happen and punishing him when accidents happen isn’t a right approach.


  • First step is to let your child watch both parents and learn, since that’s one of the ways toddlers learn(by imitation). Explain to your child the basics of how boys and girls use the bathroom. Do not forget to mention the name of that particular body part when teaching . Let your child know exactly what it is called, just as any other body part.

  • Buy the right equipment for your child. Most toddlers are anxious whenever they sit on a full-size toilet, thinking they might fall into the toilet and this anxiety can interfere with potty training, so, getting your child “his/her” own child-size potty which he/she can lay claim to can offer him /her some kind of security and make him/her feel more at ease. The right potty should be able to allow your child place both feet on the ground while slightly leaning forward. Others may prefer to buy an adapter seat that can be used on a full-size toilet. If you decide on that, make sure the seat is secured properly and comfortable for your child. You’ll also need to place a stool for your child, so he/she can get on and off the potty or toilet.

  • Make your child understand that the potty is his own. You can get a name sticker and ask your child to place his/her name on it and then have your child practice sitting on it with his/her clothes on. This helps him get comfortable with the idea of using a potty. Make it fun and engaging. Try singing one of his favourite songs as he sits on it while watching you use the toilet. You can also demonstrate using any of your child’s favourite stuffed animal. After your child has had about a week of “pretend” toilet use, suggest that your child tries it with his/her pants down. Do not pressure your child. That will only make him/her not want to try it again and could derail the whole process.

  • Have your child sit on the potty within 15 to 30 minutes after meals to take advantage of the body’s natural tendency to have a bowel movement after eating (this is called the gastro-colic reflex), or 45 minutes to an hour after drinking lots of fluid. You may be able to catch your child peeing. Only put your child on the potty for a few minutes a couple of times a day, and let your child get up if he or she wants to.

  • Set up a training schedule ahead of time to ensure that his potty training is not interrupted as a result of any changes. Set up the training for a time when you are avalilable to see it through and if he is already enrolled in Preschool, make sure his tutors are aware also. Let them know what they can do to help his transition.

  • Decide what method will work for you. Either the back-and-forth method of switching between diapers and underpants or the method of going to underwear full time. Whatever method you choose, be prepared to clean up a few accidents. Decide on what is best for you and your son and give it time.

  • Once he’s in tune with the training, teach your son to sit peeing, then stand peeing. There is no need to rush this. Let him sit and pee for as long as he likes, and he has a male parent at home, or a big brother, or a trusted uncle or friend, let him watch them pee standing up. Once he gets the idea, let him practice it. Since bowel movements and urine almost always come at the same time, he’ll have to start peeing and pooing sitting down. Try not to let him get distracted by other activities, and do not let him sit for too long(15 minutes is sufficient). Watching TV or playing with a toy can be a distraction. Teach your daughter hygiene of toilet use. Teach her to wipe from front to back and to wash her hands after use.

  • Set aside diaper and cloth free day. It helps your child figure out when he needs to go and make sure the potty is in an accessible place. Let him sit on it at regular intervals and make it fun for him. Be prepared for accidents as they’ll happen especially as he’ll be naked most of the time. Watch for signs that he has to go and use that clue to calmly suggest to him that it’s potty time. Put out plastic bags on areas on the floor that you wouldn’t want to get wet. Try letting him be naked for a number of times, maybe on weekends on when the family is all together. The more your child spends time out of diapers, the faster he’ll learn.

  • Celebrate with him whenever he gets something in the potty. Reinforce the idea that he has reached a significant milestone by rewarding him with something he’ll love. Maybe more time at the playground or a new video. As you celebrate, try not to make a big dal out of using the potty. Act like it’s normal andhe’ll feel relaxed using it.

  • Give your child time to be good at it. The more your child uses it, the better your child will be at it.

  • Dress your child in loose-fitting clothes that he/she can easily get out of or buy your child underwears that are a size bigger. Remember to take it easy when he has accidents(as they will happen,even if he’s been using the potty for a couple of months). If you do not see any progress or if your child is getting too frustrated, take a breakand start after a few weeks.

  • Once your child is able to stay dry all day, you can start making plans to switch to nights. Wait until your child is reliably using or asking to use the potty during the day, then start checking your child’s diapers in the mornings and after naps to see if they are dry. Nighttime training takes longer because it depends on whether your child’s body can hold the urine for an extended period of time. It can take months or years before your child is able to stay dry at night.

  • If your child wants to sleep without diapers, let him/her do it. If after a few nights, your child still wets the bed, put him/her back in diapers and explain to him/her that his/her body is not quite ready for this next step. Reasuure him he’ll soon be big enough to sleep without diapers. Try limiting the amount of fluids your child takes in after 5p.m and get your child up for a final bathroom trip before you go to bed.

Check out gender specific potty training for boys here and for girls here

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