30 Potty Training Tips

Random Observation/Comment #634: It’s a crappy job, but someone’s gotta do it.

Why this list?

Potty training is a developmental milestone and not a war. This is not a measurement of your parenting, but a normal phase in your toddler’s development. It helps when your daycare does some of this on a regular basis and shows other toddlers using the potty. Look at cues and signals to get started – This does not need to be a set time, but usually falls within 20-30 months

Is it crappy? Yes, it’s poop. Does it get easier after you start and stick with it? Yes, they will let you know and feel embarrassed if they pee on the floor.

  1. Start when she can recite the ABCs, show signs of a stronger memory, or tell you her needs (you’ll know when this phase starts)
  2. Start when you’re confident and determined that your child can do it. If you’re not ready, she will feel that energy.
  3. We started because she hated us changing her diaper in the morning, so we gave her an alternative by going to the potty and removing her diaper for the day (Plus she loves her Peppa Pig undies)
  4. Treat potty training like any other skill. Teach them and reinforce it without overly dramatizing it.
  5. Actual potty training takes 7-10 days. Clear your calendar for this. We did a long weekend.
  6. When you’re starting, do not go back and flip flop. Look at your calendar to avoid vacations or other family events.
  7. Both pee and poop are trained at the same time. Pee signs came first for us and she had pretty bad constipation in the beginning (this is normal).
  8. First steps (even before introducing the potty) was to help her with taking off and pulling up her pants so she can do it herself. “Push pants down with your thumb around the waist.” We tried a dressing party.
  9. Teach words for body parts, farting (tooting), potty time, poop, and pee so she can tell you “I need to go potty” or “I just peed!”
  10. Make sure everyone who’s sharing care-giving is aware of this effort. Have a conversation with daycare teacher, nanny, grandparents, etc.
  11. Let your toddler know that going potty is normal – Invite them to go to the potty with you. Keep your door open (I didn’t do this because potty time is Daddy time)
  12. Tour the bathroom and talk about the different parts. Have her sit on the toilet seat and get them familiar with it.
  13. Consider using the regular toilet with an adapter rather than a smaller potty – There may be a step from smaller potty to regular toilet that can be avoided. We personally liked the smaller potty so we can give her a choice rather than tell her to use one. She tends to respond better to A vs B choices.
  14. Be patient with your child – Address inanimate objects and teach her with stuffed animals. We got her first poop with saying she gets to watch “baby shark on the phone”
  15. Use a yoga block as a mini squat bench for her legs
  16. Don’t have her sit on the toilet for more than 3-4 minutes at a time (or else they’ll say they need to potty, but just want to watch videos on your phone)
  17. Pick her up and bring her to the potty when she says she needs to go. We got super fast at this. When she’s using the potty, tell her you’re going to get the phone for her and let her get started on the potty. She usually goes urgently and then stays to watch one video.
  18. Buy a short stool for your bathroom sink so your toddler can wash their hands
  19. Create a “Sticker chart” in the bathroom. For every 5 poops she gets to pick out a toy together.
  20. In the beginning, eat more mushy foods and prunes so BMs are easier to pass. It’s not unusual to get constipation in the beginning because the toddler tries to hold it in.
  21. Setup a bookshelf or place to grab a book for potty – We just have a bag of goodies.
  22. Sing a potty song – Make it fun!
  23. Shop for undies together and let her pick out a few she likes
  24. Give them a sense of pride rather than reward – Say things like “you’re such a big girl” instead of “do this and you’ll get a cookie”
  25. Expect peeing and pooping through multiple pants – you will do a lot of laundry. Bring extra change of clothes to daycare.
  26. Plan your routines so that you go before leaving the house, before and after naps, or before bath time
  27. Try not to take long trips in the beginning when bladder control hasn’t been developed
  28. Keep track of dry diapers from naps to know when to transition away from them. We still let her use the diaper overnight as it’s harder to control bladder while asleep and she’s stuck in the crib.
  29. Update your diaper bag to a potty bag – Extra change of clothes, disinfectant wipes for the seats, flush-able wipes, and the toilet seat adapter (we just keep the seat under the stroller now).
  30. Don’t write about potty training until it’s done. So… It’s done! Yay!

How long did it take? Around 7 days with about a 20 or so accidents. She’s still in diapers for overnight, but nap diapers are coming out dry. We give her a choice of using a smaller potty or the larger one, so she’s comfortable with both. Overall, not as bad as I thought it’d be!

~See Lemons Potty Train