The Ins & Outs of Potty Training
You’re likely at the point where you’d prefer to never see another diaper ever again (like ever), but you know it doesn’t happen just like that. Potty training is a process, and one that you’ll need to plan for.
So where do you begin? What do you need? Everything from patience to having the right potty can make the transition from diapers to big-kid undies a little smoother. The first step is knowing whether your child is even ready for this next big step, and whether you are, too.
Timing is everything
While the average age that toddlers start using a potty is anywhere between 1 ½ - 3 years old, age isn’t the only factor to consider when deciding the best time to start. You’ll want to consider whether things are somewhat calm in your life. Why? Well, if you toss potty training into an already hectic time, the experience may be associated with a sense of being out of control rather than one of confidence. You’ll also want to take note of whether your child is dropping some hints that they could be ready for this next big-kid step!
Keep calm and keep the diapers on if there are big changes ahead, like:
- A new baby has joined the family.
- There’s been a move to a new home or school.
- A parent started a new job or returned to work.
Look for signs that your child is ready to get the potty started:
- Stays dry for an hour or two.
- Show & tell hints: they give a “look,” grunt or say they have to go.
- Interested in staying clean and dry.
- Can understand and follow simple instructions.
- Likes wearing training pants instead of diapers.
- Can handle some simple dressing on their own.
- Is curious about bathroom habits.
Your toddler might be ready, but how about you? Here are some helpful reminders:
- Avoid feeling pressured to train your child ASAP! Your child is only as ready as you are, and if you have any anxiety about toilet training, it’s likely your child will, too.
- It’s not a race, it’s a journey—encourage your child by fostering independence and allow them to master each step at their own pace.
- Get ready for “Go Time”—be prepared to spend a lot of your time and energy offering direction, motivation and reinforcement daily.
Once you're all ready to go, they'll need a place to go!
Consider these tips for choosing and using your new mini potty!
- Early introductions. Get one before you start training, so your child gets used to having it around.
- Build excitement. Let your child pick out their own potty in a theme and style that excites them!!
Have an animal lover? Penguin Potty can help make potty training cool.
Or maybe all it takes is a smiling face and a potty that’s fun to flush!
- Put a sticker on it. Give your toddler an outlet for all that sticker loving energy and let them personalize their potty with stickers of their choosing!
- Give it a dry run. At first, it’s okay to let your tot sit on the potty and get a feel for it with their clothes on, but reinforce that when it’s time to really go potty, they’ll use it just how you do (a.k.a., no pants allowed!).
- Double time. Use the mini potty in the bathroom and have your child practice going when you go.
- Fast-action outfits. When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go, so be sure to dress your child in clothes that they can get out of quickly.
Placing your child straight on the big potty using a ring, like the Perfect Fit Potty Ring eliminates a lot of cleanup, and they’re easy to move from one bathroom to the next. On the flip side, there’s a sense of independence that your training tot will acquire by using a potty of their own.
Potties like the Custom Comfort Potty are like mini versions of what they’re used to seeing at home. Plus, using a potty their size helps them feel comfortable, secure and relaxed, which is a big potty-training score. Whichever you choose, know both options are also great for travel: they give your child a familiar place to go when you’re on the go!
There are little potties, potty rings and even potties with removable seats that can be used as rings (oh my!). All options are great options, it’s just what works best for you and your child.
Teamwork makes potty-training dream work.
Once you and your child are in the potty-training game, think of yourself as the ultimate potty coach and your child as the mini potty athlete in training. It takes patience, consistency and practice to make it to the potty podium, but the hard work is well worth the reward.
Consider these training tips as you and your toddler-in-training work toward the big win!
- Stay fresh. When the diapers go, so does that ultra-absorbent barrier. Staying in wet or soiled training pants will lead to unpleasant rashes and tenderness that may cause your child to put a full-court press on wanting to go.
- Coordinate your training practice. Be sure to organize your potty plans with any other caregivers so your toddler is receiving the same game-time messages when you’re not around.
- Have a game plan. Plan for your child’s short attention span by bringing in books, singing a song, playing with stuffies, whatever it takes to keep them comfy on the potty, and in the game.
- Slow and steady for the win. With any new skill being learned, it takes time to master, and frustration is bound to happen. Your hardworking tot will benefit from your patience and encouragement along the way—get those potty-time cheers and victory dances going!
So, who’s ready to potty?
Potty training is a grand adventure, one that will require a lot of encouragement, consistency, praise and…well…cleanups (because accidents will happen, and that’s okay!). It’s a huge milestone to achieve, with very rewarding end-results for you both: cool, new big-kid undies for them, and a more independent kiddo for you!