I typically recommend potty training between 22-28 months. This is often the prime time where they are willing to learn this new skill and are capable!
However, we mainly want to focus on readiness signs. Some developmental signs are:
- Basic communication skills (Either verbal or non-verbal)
- An ability to understand and follow basic directions
- Mimicking the actions of adults
- An eagerness to please
- Sitting, standing, walking independently (fine motor skills such as dressing/undressing can come later)
Some potty-related signs include:
- A general interest in the bathroom
- Staying dry for longer periods throughout the day
- Waking up dry
- Asking for a diaper change
- Hiding to poop
Check out this informative post/video all about potty training readiness!
Children are often ready for nighttime potty training at the same time that they begin daytime potty training! For approximately 5 mornings, check your child’s diaper 15-20 min before they wake up in the morning (bonus points for checking just before you go to bed at night yourself too). A lot of children will actually be able to hold their bladder through the night and then release as they are waking up in the morning. Give it a try and you might be pleasantly surprised! You don’t have to go through this alone - check out my online course!
If your child seems genuinely afraid of the potty, know you’re not alone. Change can be scary for kids! The most important thing to do is to take away any pressure for them to sit on or use the potty at first. But don’t remove it from the conversation altogether! Avoidance can actually make fear and anxiety worse. Offering some low-stress ways to encounter the potty or the bathroom each day can help your child cope. Purchase a drink and wet doll that comes with its own little potty chair for your child to play with, watch videos or read books about potty training, or invite them to pour water into their potty chair to see that nothing scary happens. Be patient, but try to keep pushing them a little farther over time. Eventually they will build up to being able to touch the potty, sit their stuffed animals on it, and even sit on it themselves!
This is probably the number one problem parents encounter during potty training! First and foremost, we want to rule out constipation. Sometimes kids will try to hold their poop in when the diapers go away which can lead to them becoming constipated which can lead to difficult and painful poops. Next, we want to normalize pooping and make the process fun and positive! Read potty-themed books (my book, How Do You Poo? was written for this specifically!) and watch potty-themed videos. You can also role play pooping on the potty with your child’s favorite stuffed animal or doll!If you need more in-depth support, be sure to check out my course, How to Get Your Child to Poop on the Potty!
Believe it or not, children are often ready for nighttime potty training long before we realize it! They’re just never given a fair chance to show off that capability because we all become too dependent on diapers or Pull-Ups. When a child is in a diaper (Pull-Ups aren’t much different!), they aren’t able to feel wetness and therefore no real learning is taking place. This is why I recommend removing daytime and nighttime diapers all at the same time! Check out my blog post and online course all about nighttime potty training for tips on how to help your child make it through the night dry!
I have yet to meet a toddler who isn’t resistant from time to time! Power struggles will sometimes be unavoidable, but there are several super helpful tips you can try! Start by making sure you aren’t prompting or asking about using the potty too often which can lead to resistance and frustration (for you both!). When it’s time to use the potty, don’t make it a choice. Avoid asking “Do you need to go potty?” Instead, gently tell them it’s time to sit on the potty and give them a choice about what to do while they sit, or what toilet to use. Giving reasonable choices will help them feel more in control.
Check out this blog post for more helpful tips!
NOTE: You’ll first always want to contact your child’s doctor before attempting any DIY remedies. Constipation in young children is a lot more common than you might think. First, we want to make sure they are getting a balanced diet with plenty of fiber and healthy fats, as well as drinking lots of fluids. Next, we want to establish a consistent pooping routine by offering a chance to sit on the potty for a few minutes after meals. Getting plenty of exercise can help move things along as well. And finally, we can add a probiotic or fiber supplement to their diet to encourage smooth, pain-free poops.Interested in natural remedies for constipation? Check out this post!
Nope! I know my course is called the 10-Day Potty Training Challenge, but I only recommend 2-3 days at home before jumping back into your normal routine after the start of potty training! We want to maintain normalcy as much as possible because children thrive on routine and predictability!Check out my step by step course here!
My 10-Day Potty Training Challenge is designed with busy, working parents in mind! It teaches you how to prepare your child for the process so they know what to expect, how to lay the groundwork for potty training over a two to three day period so you don’t need extra time off work, AND how to incorporate the new changes back into your regular daily routine!
Sometimes children can struggle with relaxing enough to release their bladder while they sit on the potty, even when it’s obvious they really need to go! Some fun (yet functional!) things you can try to help them are blowing bubbles, pretending to blow out birthday candles, making them laugh, or dipping their feet in warm water. You can also have a basket full of fun sensory activities that are only accessible during potty time to help them sit long enough to relax!
See the full list of tips here.
Regressions often happen when something in a child’s routine or life changes that causes them emotional stress. Kids will revert back to a prior stage of development when they remember things being more stable and feeling more secure. First, try to identify the cause to rule out anything medical. Sometimes constipation or a UTI could lead to more accidents. If it’s determined to be something behavioral, be sure to offer extra emotional support and time to connect during the day, and put your focus on your child’s GOOD potty behaviors. Above all, it’s imperative to remain consistent with your potty training routine in order to get back on track! Most regressions will resolve themselves within a couple of weeks.
Sometimes children can grow dependent on only being potty trained while bottomless. This is why I generally only recommend 1-1.5 days of bottomless time! When transitioning to underwear, start off by having your child wear loose-fitting pants only, then introduce underwear (but keep them in a size larger than what they would normally wear to allow added awareness), practice “pushing” pants down even when it’s not potty time, and as always - stay consistent! Avoid going back to bottomless when you notice accidents happening. With every stage of potty training comes a learning curve!
Read more about this process here.
Transitioning back into a different environment or someone else’s care after potty training can be tricky! Communication among all caregivers is super important so that everyone caring for your child is on the same page and can help the potty routine remain consistent across the board. Some tips to help include touring the bathrooms at daycare with your child, having a meeting with your child’s caregiver/teacher and letting them know that they can ask for help if they need it, and making sure that the daycare is using the same terminology and language for successes and accidents that are being used at home.Everything you need to know is in my “Back to School” mini course!
founder of potty training consultant
When it came time to potty train my first child, I was quickly overwhelmed by all the conflicting information available online and was really missing the support and science-based guidance I was after. Toddlerhood is challenging enough -- I didn't think was fair for parents to have to guess their way through potty training!
So after mannnnny hours of research (5,000+ to be exact), I created resources that are evidence-based. And now we have an entire community where parents can come together without judgement, ask the hard questions, and get evidence-based facts that drive potty success.
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