Toddler Toilet Training
Potty training toddlers can be a daunting task for any parent or guardian. But by following our tips and tricks, you’ll have yourself a confident tot who uses the toilet or potty in no time!
Potty training basics
Common Potty Training Questions
- What is the best age to start potty training?
- How will I know they’re ready to be potty trained?
- What supplies do I need to start potty training?
- How to know when your toddler needs to use the potty
- What should my toddler wear and when?
Potty training tips and advice
What is the best age to start potty training?
All children develop differently, so there is no need to worry if your toddler starts potty training a little later or earlier than average. You might notice signs that your toddler is ready to start potty training as early as 18 months old, but most children will start potty training around 2 years old.
How will I know they’re ready to be potty trained?
There are certain things you can look out for when deciding if your toddler is ready to be potty trained. For example:
- Dry diaper for up to two hours
If your child’s diaper is frequently soiled, this will make it much more difficult for you to potty train them. In this case, it’s best to wait until they’re a bit older to make life easier for the both of you.
- They know what poop and pee are
If your child understands what poop and pee are, and can recognise when their diaper is dirty, it’s a good sign they will understand the idea of going to the toilet.
They can pull their pants up and down by themselves
They can sit still for short periods of time
However, most children will have trouble focusing for any length of time. It can be helpful to have a book to read with them as they use the potty, or a toy to capture their attention.
- Your toddler is becoming increasingly independent
This will make it easier for them to let you know when they need to go to the bathroom. If they tell you with words or gestures that they’ve done a poo or wee, this is a good sign to get started with potty training.
- Your toddler shows disinterest in wearing a diaper
If your child is reluctant to wear a diaper, they might express this by trying to pull it off. They might want to move to “big kid” pants.
What supplies do I need to start potty training?
There are a few supplies you should have before getting started with potty training your toddler. Of course, the first thing you’ll need is a potty! Although you might opt for a fitted toilet seat instead, as this helps toddlers associate the toilet with peeing and pooping.
You’ll also need some training pants. Training pants are great for little tots learning the ropes. Training pants are designed to be absorbent enough so that there aren’t any messes, but still leave your child with a “wet” feeling so they know that they’ve pooped or peed. Keep in mind that training pants are not designed to replace diapers, rather, you should encourage your child to use the potty as often as possible while they’re in their training pants. Once your toddler has learned how to use the potty, they’ll be able to move onto “big kid” underwear (regular underwear)!
How to know when your toddler needs to use the potty
You might be able to tell that your toddler needs to use the potty if they show any of these signs:
- Dancing on the spot
- Wriggling around
- Passing wind
- Moving away from you
- Going quiet
- Going somewhere hidden or quiet
What should my toddler wear while potty training?
While potty training, it’s best to have your toddler wear training pants (or even underpants) during the day. Diapers should be limited to nighttime, as children tend to take longer to stay dry overnight.
Potty Training Tips and Advice
Creating a toilet training routine
Routine and structure work wonders for kids, and toilet training is no different! Try taking your toddler to the potty when they’re most likely to pee or poop, such as in the morning when they wake up, at night before they go to bed, and after meals and snacks. It’s also a good idea to take note of their regular bowel movements. This way, you can encourage them to use the potty at this same time every day. Be sure to be enthusiastic once they’ve successfully used the loo!
Start teaching early
You can begin teaching your toddler to associate the potty with poop and pee early on. You might try letting your toddler watch you when you use the toilet, as kids often learn best when copying us. If your tot has older siblings, all the better! They’ll be happy to copy everything their older sibling says and does. It's also possible to use a toy or teddy as an example of how to use the potty. Another tactic is to place used diapers in the potty, so that they can start connecting the dots early on.
Every child is different, and everyone develops in their own time. If you can, avoid comparing the development of your child to that of other children. The process of learning to use the potty can take days, weeks or months to master.
From Potty to Toilet
Once your child is potty trained, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
- Teach toddlers to wipe from front to back, this is especially important for girls.
- You might consider using toilet wipes to make life easier once toddlers get a bit older and start wiping without your supervision. Toilet wipes can help ensure there isn’t any unwanted residue left behind.
- When your child has transitioned from the potty to the toilet, teach them how to flush.
- To make the transition easier, many parents opt for a fitted toilet seat with attached stairs to help toddlers access the toilet on their own.
- Finally, remind your child to wash their hands after using the toilet.
Potty training in public spaces
It’s easiest to stay at home when potty training your toddler, especially for the first few days.
Naturally, you’ll need to leave your home at some point. When you do, it’s good to pack a spare pair of training pants, a spare set of clothes, and a plastic bag (just in-case your tot has an accident). It could also be a good idea to take the potty with you so that your child can use it while you’re out and about. If your toddler is attending daycare or visiting friends/family, you’ll need to inform them that your toddler is potty training as your child will require an adult’s help.
Things to avoid when potty training
It’s best to avoid showing signs of disappointment or anger when your toddler is potty training. It is inevitable that your toddler will have accidents during their potty training period, so the best thing to do is to remain neutral when an accident happens, but positive when they succeed.
Avoid forcing your toddler to use the potty. It’s possible that your toddler is reluctant to use the potty. They might not understand the concept, or they could find the potty intimidating. Don’t force your toddler to sit on the potty any longer than 3-5 minutes at a time (otherwise they might feel like they’re being punished).
Avoiding messes and setbacks
Naturally, you’ll encounter some accidents and setbacks during the potty training process. But luckily there are some things you can do to avoid them, including:
- Keeping track of when (and how often) your toddler uses the potty. If you notice that they’ve not used it in awhile, ask them if they need to go.
- Double-checking whether your toddler needs to use the potty before leaving the house, but don’t force them to go.
- Ensuring that the potty is within reach. If you have a two-story home, make sure to keep a potty on both levels.
- Double-checking whether your toddler needs to use the potty before tucking them into bed.
Hopefully your toddler potty training questions have been answered! Looking for other information about toddler care? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Toddler Care!
If you’re looking for a babysitter for your toddler or looking to get into toddler care, Babysits is a great place to start. We provide plenty of resources like this to help inform our community of babysitters and parents, to provide the best environment for children. Sign up now to get started!