Is your child ready to start potty training? Are YOU ready? If the thought of potty training your child sends you over the edge with overwhelming emotions, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s post, I will be answering all of your questions as well as offer some of my best potty training tips. Welcome to Potty Training 101!
The Ultimate Guide For Potty Training: Your Questions Answered
Potty training seems to be the stage that parents worry about the most when they have a new baby. Everything from the logistics of it all to the proper sanitary methods! But, potty training really isn’t all that difficult.
Even after reading some of the best potty training books out there, it’s normal to have a few lingering questions on what’s right for you and your child.
That’s why I compiled all the best tips and tricks for you to have a successful potty training experience!
What is the best age to start potty training?
The best age to start potty training is around 18 months if you are using a timer-based, elimination communication style potty training.
You want to start at this age because kids are more aware of their bodies and can communicate better how they are feeling.
Alternately, some parents choose to wait until the child shows interest in learning to use the potty, which could happen between 18 months and 2.5 years old.
Almost all children are potty trained by the time they are 4 years old.
Note: If you are worried or are struggling with your child showing interest in the potty, I recommend speaking to your pediatrician to help guide you towards a solution.
How do I know if my child is ready to start potty training?
A child may be ready to start potty training if they:
- are aware that they are wet or dirty.
- show comprehension of basic language and can follow instructions.
- start hiding to poop in their diaper.
- have control over their bladder and bowel movements.
- can follow simple instructions (e.g., “when you have to poop, tell mommy”).
If they are able to do these things, then they may be ready to start potty training!
Do you have any potty training tips on how to get my child interested in the potty?
Start by making using the toilet a fun experience every time you use it. Say things like, “Oh, I need to potty! I get to use the potty!”.
Some children are fearful of the flushing sound of the potty. If the sound of flushing scares your child, you can help them become less sensitive by letting them flush it and doing a fun flush dance with them.
Being silly around something scary can make those things feel less intimidating.
What are the stages of potty training?
According to Northern Illinois University Child Develop and Family Center, there are 4 stages of potty training…
- Stage 1: Toilet Play
- Stage 2: Toilet Practice
- Stage 3: Toilet Learning
- Stage 4: Independent Toileting
Basically, babies go from being curious about the potty and pretending to potty to coming interested in trying but not really ready to do it.
Next, they want to know all the things about the potty and really want to use the toilet, but still require quite a bit of reminder and help. Then, they’ll finally reach the point that they can potty by themselves completely independently.
If you want to know more about this process, be sure to check out NIU’s website.
What are the best potty training books to read?
Potty training books can be broken down into the style of potty training, and if they are for parents or kids. I’ll share a few of my favorites:
Potty Training Books for Parents
1) Potty Training In 3 Days by Brandi Brucks
This book is for parents wanting a quick potty training boot camp for kids between the ages of 2.5 to 3 years old. It is an intensive program where parents spend their time 100% focused on potty training.
2) The Holy Grail Of Potty Training by Tasha Powers & Steven Graham
I love that this book is written by actual pediatric occupational therapists instead of just a mom or child care person who has done it a few times. This book is great if you aren’t big on reward systems as it is a gentle way to potty train.
3) The First-Time Parent’s Guide To Potty Training: How To Ditch Diapers Fast (And For Good!) by Jazmine McCoy
One of the biggest positive takeaways from this book is that it’s an easy read and it gives you straightforward potty training tips to help you and your child be successful. This book isn’t about bribery and external rewards. It’s another gentle choice for potty training.
Potty Training Books for Toddlers
1) Potty by Leslie Patricelli
If you love Leslie Patricelli’s other books, you are sure to love this one too. The baby actually uses the potty in this book, but it doesn’t show any actual pee or poo. It talks about other animals and people who go potty and how they do it. Easily my kids’ favorite potty training book!
2) Daniel Tiger Potty Time! by Scarlet Wing
Daniel Tiger is the continuation of Mr. Rogers’ work and stays true to the kind, gentle way of learning about the world he was so famous for. This book is good for younger toddlers because it has a little soundboard with songs that remind them of all the steps in using the potty.
For some more recommendations, check out this blog post on the best potty training books for parents AND toddlers!
What are the major proven methods of potty training?
There are 3 main methods to potty train your child. I recommend finding one that fits in with your family structure and follow it. What might work for someone else might not work for you!
1) Elimination Communication Potty Training
This method is based on some of the theories from attachment and family systems therapy. It starts in infancy, and parents put their baby on the potty when they notice the signs that the baby is about to pee or poop. It’s a very time-consuming process but requires fewer diapers and no real formal potty training as a toddler.
2) Adult Lead Potty Training
This is the most common style of potty training where the parent helps the toddler use the potty. It’s good for kids who go to a babysitter or daycare because the method can be applied consistently. You can continue using diapers during potty training like this.
3) Child Initiated Potty Training
This method is great for parents who are concerned about what their child can do in terms of communicating, language skills, and toileting awareness. Parents don’t push their toddlers to sit on the potty.
This works best for parents who are not in a rush to potty train.
Should I use training pants when potty training?
Training pull-up pants are great for a beginning potty training phase. They keep accidents from messing up the carpet in your home.
But, on the flip side of that coin, toddlers may continue to treat them as diapers, and the moisture-wicking properties might make it harder for your child to know if they have peed or not. Try them to see how your child responds to them, and see if they are, or aren’t a good fit.
When should I teach my son to stand to pee?
This question comes up A LOT when people ask for potty training tips.
This is the milestone all dads are looking for.
Boys should potty by sitting down when they’re first learning, as it’s not unusual for kids to be unsure if they are going to poop or pee.
Then, once they have been successfully using the potty for a little while, you can teach your boy to pee standing up. Some parents have success using a Cheerio or Fruit Loop as target practice when first teaching kids how to stand up.
What is potty training regression? Do you have any potty training tips on how I should deal with it?
Many parents find themselves asking when their child who was potty trained seemingly no longer knows how to use the toilet – or just refuses to. This can be so frustrating, but know that it will not last forever.
Potty training regression is a phase most children go through. It starts with a growth spurt, a new baby in the family, or illness. Really any new thing in your toddler’s environment can trigger this regression!
You can help your child overcome this by providing lots of love and support. Learning anything new is likely to have setbacks. Continue being consistent and remind them to use the potty.
What if my child has a lot of accidents?
Do not punish accidents. The last thing you want to enforce as your child learns to potty is shame or embarrassment, and it can quickly turn into a potty training regression if there are negative reactions to accidents or slip ups.
Your child needs to know that they are still loved, even when they make mistakes. Simply have them help you clean up the mess without reacting negatively.
You can reassure your child that accidents happen to everyone – even grown-ups sometimes!
When will my child be potty trained overnight?
Many parents and child experts believe that it will take about 4 to 6 months for your toddler to be completely toilet trained and perfectly fine using the potty.
But, this is not the case for potty training overnight.
The largest factor in potty training overnight is, you guessed it, age and development. When you notice your child waking up dry several times a week, you can start potty training them at night.
Here are a few quick potty training tips for bedtime:
- Nothing to drink a few hours before bedtime.
- Go potty directly before bed.
- Wake them up to use the restroom when you go to bed.
- Put nightlights up so they are not afraid to go to the bathroom.
- Take them to the potty if you get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom.
There you have it! I hope my potty training tips help you with your child and assures you that potty training is not as difficult as you may have thought.
Potty training does take time, effort, and patience. But most importantly, it should be fun. You can do it!
If you have any other questions regarding potty training, drop them in the comments down below and I will do my best to answer them or offer you a resource to help.
More Resources On Positive Parenting & Screen-Free Kids:
- How Parenting Behavior Influences Kid’s Positive (& Negative) Behavior
- Stop Labeling Kids: Why It’s Important To Name The Behavior Instead
- How To Meet The Core Emotional Needs Of A Child
- 5 Grounding Techniques For Kids With Anxiety And Big Worries
- Nurturing Children: 11 Tools To Help Your Child Be Successful