Potty Training 101
The transition from diapers to the big-kid toilet is a major one for both kids and parents alike. Here are some tips to help make potty training easier—from how to get started to expert training tips to cleanup advice for when accidents happen.
Signs of Readiness
When it comes to potty training, timing is important. While every kid is different and girls tend to get started earlier, many toddlers show the physical and emotional signs of being ready to start potty training somewhere between the ages of 2 and 3 years old. Signs that your child is developmentally ready include:
- Their bladder is strong enough that they can keep their diaper dry for at least two hours.
- They’re aware of and can articulate the physical sensation of having to go to the bathroom.
- They’re capable of putting on and taking off their pants and are strong enough to sit on the toilet seat without your assistance.
- They’ve expressed an interest in bathroom behavior or in learning how to use the potty.
Even if your child isn’t showing obvious signs of readiness, many experts agree that as long as you don’t pressure them, there’s no harm in introducing the concept to pique their curiosity.
Positivity and praise go a long way when it comes to potty training. Remember that it could take time, and patience is key. Try the following to set your child up for success:
- Explain the process using simple terms—for example, pee, poop, and potty—that your child understands and can use.
- Make the bathroom a fun and comfortable place. Allow them to hang out on the toilet seat with or without their diaper on while they flip through a book or play with a toy.
- Incentives help. Reward successful bathroom trips and keep your child motivated with an “I did it!” sticker chart and, when they’re ready, new “big-kid” underwear.
- Establish a routine. Take your child to the potty at specific and consistent times during the day—like after a meal or before bath time—when you think they are most likely to have to go. Once they become comfortable, you can increase the amount of visits.
- Avoid pressuring or making your little one feel bad if they don't want to use the potty. Unrealistic expectations can leave both of you frustrated and negatively impact their self-esteem and confidence. Stay supportive and upbeat.