When and How to Start Potty Training Your Toddler

As a parent of a toddler we all want to know when is the best time to potty train and how to potty train toddlers so they can start using the potty in time for playschool or preschool.

I have four children and found potty training easy for all of my kids. Sucessfull potty training is not hard as long as you stick to it and have some patience. Different kids will learn differently and at different speeds. Some toddlers can be trained in as little as a few days and others can take weeks.

As long as you know this and accept it you can start training your toddler to use his or her potty as soon as they have started to show signs they are ready.

Many parents find potty training to be a difficult time for everyone in the home and it can be frustrating but there is a simple, no pressure way to get your children to potty train without the fuss.

I have used this method with all my children and they all trained quickly and with few accidents. Read on to find out how and when to potty train your toddler.

When To Potty Train

How to Potty Train a Toddler

This is the number one reason that many parents and toddlers struggle with potty training, they start too early. I have known parents who started to potty train their children at one years old. In my opinion this is far too early and I know for a fact that those parents spent the best part of a year training their toddler to use his potty!

I listened as they told me several times about their child having accident at home and out and about and they did agree that they started him too young.

The problem as they saw it was that once they had started to potty train him they thought it would be counter productive to stop again.

In my experience this is not the case. If you start potty training and your child is reluctant as theirs was or is repeatedly having accidents then stop. If your child is old enough, give him or her a break for a week or two and then casually re introduce the potty.

Parents are often under pressure from playschools and pre schools to have their child fully trained before they can start. Potty training in a hurry almost never works well, parents get frustrated and children get confused.

The best time to potty train your toddler is when they show signs they are ready.

Preparing to Potty Train

Once Upon a Potty Potty Training Book Girl
Amazon Price: $6.36 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 19, 2015)
These cute books for a boy or girl are a great way to help your child become emotionally prepared for potty training.

Signs Your Toddler is Ready to Potty Train

Your toddler needs to be both physically ready to potty train and emotionally ready.

With some exceptions (some kids don't show many signs and will happily stay in nappies for a long time) most toddlers will show and interest in using "the big toilet" or the potty or ask for big boy or girl underwear. This could happen at any time from 2 to 4 years old, but typically at 2 and a half to 3 years. This is a good sign that they are emotionally ready

Typical physical signs of a toddler who is ready to train are when they are not still wetting their diapers at night and when their bowel movements are regular and predictable. Other signs like when they can remove their own diaper or when they follow you to the bathroom are positive too. They must also be able to walk and have good motor skills.

Most children are physically ready to train before they are emotionally ready. Make sure your child is both and when they are you need to act on it so you should already have everything you need in the house ready for your toddler.

Don't worry you only need a potty and some "big" boy or girl hand wipes but you should have these things in the house ready to use and it's a very good idea to have the potty in the bathroom already as your toddler will become curious about it. They will also be familiar with it which helps.


Cute Froggy Potty for Toddlers

This is a fun potty with a removable bucket for easy emptying and kids love the cute froggy design

Sesame Street Potty

Sesame Street Elmo Adventure Potty Chair
Amazon Price: $39.99 $18.99 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 19, 2015)
You toddler will be happy to sit on his new Elmo potty with a realistic handle and flush sounds

Staying Positive While Potty Training

Before you start there is one very important step you as a parent should take and that is to look at potty training as an adventure you are going to help your child with. Take a very positive approach to training your child and you will be more successful.

Don't let frustration get to you (it will be frustrating at times) and never scold your child for having an accident (it will happen) or missing the potty (again it will happen)

Be prepared mentally for the weeks ahead and you will find it easier.

How to Potty Train a Toddler in Easy Steps

Finally, your toddler is ready to start training, so what do you do? Do you just remove their diaper and see what happens? or do you wait for your child to indicate that they need to use the potty? Confusing isn't it? This is how I approached it.

Firstly, decide on a time for potty training. If you just do it all out in one go it will be very disruptive to your toddlers routine, they love routine and need it. So choose a time, early is best and set aside two hours for potty training.

After the two hours you are going to put back on the diaper until the next day.

Start by giving your child their big boy/girl underwear and try not to make a fuss about it. Leave them to do what they would normally do at that time of day and relax for about 20 minutes. Then calmly say you are going to bring them to the bathroom, again no fuss, just something you do that's no big deal.

Let them sit on the potty for a few minutes and then get them to wash their hands (you can wash your hands together, toddlers love playing with water). It doesn't matter if they did nothing in the potty, they will soon.

Do this every 20 minutes or so for the 2 hours you have allocated to potty training. If your child has an accident, just calmly clean it up without scolding, just do it as if it were a spilled drink, no big deal again.

If they do go in the potty you can reward them however you want, a cuddle, high five etc. I never used treats or stickers for this as I found they would learn and soon sit on the potty non stop for these rewards and the result is that you either run out of rewards or your child becomes confused when they don't get a reward for sitting on it.

Depending on how your toddler is doing you can increase the amount of time you potty train each day. Never get cross about accidents, praise their achievements and otherwise act as normal and your child will soon learn that using the potty is a normal everyday activity.

If for some reason (it happens) your child suddenly turns against the potty, relax, it's no big deal, take a break for a day or two and start again. If they really dislike training, hold off for another month.