Potty training is unpredictable and challenging, but it’s a necessary milestone for kids to learn. Spring is the time many families kick-off potty training so they are ready for summer fun and the upcoming preschool year. If you are in the midst of potty training or just beginning the journey, these potty training tips are sure to help.
Dr. Jana’s Potty Training Tips
1. Promote potty learning. Learning how to use the potty takes plenty of time and patience. It’s more than just training; it is a learning opportunity for toddlers and parents alike that should be enjoyable. After all, mastering this concept of “potty learning” with your little one is a big accomplishment and milestone.
2. Team Spirit. It is important to keep in mind that “teamwork makes the dream work,” especially in the case of potty training. You are not only your child’s biggest fan, but you are also their potty training coach. Remember to stay calm in the face of potty accidents and encourage your little one to not worry and try again!
3. Be Prepared. Potty training is an unpredictable adventure that you can best prepare for by ensuring you have all practical supplies on hand. These supplies will help you through any obstacle and can help foster your child’s interest and independence – from a step stool (to improve access to the toilet) or potty seat to training pants. That’s why I’m happy to partner with Pampers, whose Easy Ups training pants are designed to help the diaper-to-underwear transition by allowing potty-training toddlers to set aside their diapers and wear something with a more underwear-like look and feel that still helps contain accidental messes no matter wherever they happen: at home, on-the-go or overnight.
4. Celebrate every win. As with any learning experience, young children can learn a lot from both their potty successes and their setbacks. While potty accidents are an inevitable (and admittedly inconvenient) aspect of potty learning, they shouldn’t dominate your day-to-day discussions. Instead, simply help your child learn to cope with and clean up any messes, and focus your attention on celebrating your child’s efforts and successes with plenty of hugs and words of encouragement.
5. Watch for signs of readiness. Just about all children give subtle (and some not-so-subtle) signs that they are ready for potty training. These signs of readiness typically include using their words to express themselves, toddling their own way to the bathroom, pulling down their own pants, saying they want to use the “big potty,” and being aware of the sensation of peeing or pooping, characteristically noticeable when young children suddenly stop what they’re doing as they feel themselves start to go. It is also helpful and increases the likelihood of potty training interest when children start to be bothered by their messy diapers, as that can serve as a good motivation for using the potty instead!
6. Start making connections. There’s a lot that you can do to help your child be well prepared to successfully use the potty long before he or she actually starts doing it. Making up a fun song or reading engaging children’s books about potty training, such as You and Me Against the Pee! (which I co-authored) can go a long way towards making the idea of potty training a more welcome and eagerly anticipated activity. You can take this familiarity a step further by letting your toddler accompany you into the bathroom when you need to go so that he both becomes familiar with the routine and comfortable with the idea of using the toilet, rather than being afraid of or intimidated by it!
I learned early on that although I have two boys, they are very different kids. Each child had their own personalized path for potty training too. My oldest was potty trained in 3 days, literally. I know it’s hard to imagine. Once those signs were clearly there (around the age of 2) we took a long weekend to focus solely on the 3 day method. He wore only underwear and was placed on the potty every hour, whether he had to go or not. He was rewarded for a job well done, and when the minimal of accidents occurred, he was still encouraged to try again. With little night time accidents to follow, the 3 day potty training method truly worked for J.
Our son L was a stubborn child. He showed signs very early (age 16 months) and around 22 months we began the method. The 3 day system did not work for him at all. We chose a more traditional route with celebratory wins and gentle reminders when accidents occurred. It took roughly 2-3 months for him to be trained, and that was a-okay.
Potty training can feel like an overwhelming process, and when minor leaks or accidents occur, it can be a disappointment. Pampers Easy Ups helps make this journey a little easier by providing better leak protection than the leading competitor. It’s a product we used throughout L’s potty training journey with great success. Pampers Easy Ups work during the day AND night, enabling toddlers and moms to confidently and completely transition from diapers to underwear.
Here’s more information on Pampers Easy Ups:
- Fun Thomas & Friends® designs for boys and Dora the Explorer® designs for girls
- A more underwear-like design for growing toddlers
- Graphics that fade when wet to help little ones learn
- Super-stretchy sides to make them easy to pull up and down when using the potty
- Available for Boys and Girls sizes 2T/3T through 4T/5T