How To Potty Train Your Child

Potty training your child is a daunting task for any parent. Read this article to find out when and how to potty train your child successfully.
How To Potty Train Your Child

Last update: 27 December, 2022

You already change more than two thousand diapers a year and you probably can’t wait to potty train your child.

Potty training is a highly anticipated moment, yet this developmental stage also raises a series of questions for parents: when do we start potty training?

How will I know if my child is ready? Will we be able to successfully teach this personal hygiene skill?

Few parents are prepared for this lengthy process. Some children learn in a few days while others can take months.

Surprisingly, sometimes the earlier the training starts, the longer it will take the child to learn.

Therefore, consider the following tips on potty training timing in order to successfully complete the basic steps.

Learn more in this article!

When do we start?

There is no precise age to begin potty training. However, most children develop the necessary physical and cognitive skills between 18 and 24 months. Even so, many parents prefer to wait until two and a half or three years before starting to potty train.

Delaying the start of potty training can be a good decision. If you start before the child is ready, the process usually takes longer.

Remember that before a year of age, children can’t control their sphincters. Even the ones who show signs of being ready, may not be ready.

Parents usually choose the summer to start potty training because it is more practical and comfortable for the baby. Babies can go without a diaper in the warmer weather, which helps avoid leaking diapers.

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Signs your child is ready for potty training

Physical signs

  • They have enough balance and coordination to walk, and are even stable when running.
  • They no longer urinate a little bit at a time. Instead they urinate in a larger quantity and all at once.
  • They begin to have soft and well formed stools.
  • They manage to stay dry for at least three or four hours.

Behavioral signs

  • They can sit and hold that position for two to five minutes.
  • Dirty diapers bother them.
  • They are curious and try to imitate adults when they go to the bathroom.
  • They have physical behaviors when taking care of their needs (makes noises or bending)

Cognitive signals

  • They obey simple instructions.
  • They have words to express stool and urine.
  • They recognize when they need to go to the bathroom by perceiving the physical signals. In fact, they are able to anticipate the need.
  • They can pass the cups test. Give two glasses to your child, one of them with water inside. If your child can calmly pass the liquid from one glass to the other without spilling it, that means that their sphincters are ready to begin the potty training process.
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Potty training, step by step

Get the necessary items

The first step is to choose, according to suggestions from the child’s pediatrician, a good potty, or an adjustable seat for the toilet in your bathroom.

Whichever the choice, always check that it is comfortable and safe, and that the child has contact with the ground.

If you choose an adjustable seat for the regular toilet, you should also buy a stool so that your child can rest their feet on the floor.

This will not only help them get on and off the toilet easily, but will also give them stability, as well as greater ability to push when defecating.

This stage requires a lot of time, patience, and encouragement for the little one. Therefore, let them decorate their potty with stickers or play with it whenever they want.

And don’t forget to get them underwear featuring their favorite characters.

Parents usually decide between underwear, cloth diapers or the novel disposable diapers that go up and down as if they were underwear. Underwear such as disposable diapers make it easier for the child to put them on and take them off by themselves.

Explain the process, show them how it is done and say goodbye to diapers

And now, it’s time to kick off!

First, place the potty in an accessible and comfortable area, preferably somewhere where the child spends a lot of the day.

Make sure it is available for whenever the child wants to use it.

Explain to your child that adults don’t use diapers but must use the toilet to take care of those needs. Emphasize the connection between their bowel movements and the toilet.

Even when their diaper gets dirty, you can take them to the potty, sit them down and remind them to use the bathroom there.

Don’t worry or get angry if they don’t want to sit down. Never force them to remain seated or pressure them to hurry a process that requires time. If the child feels pressured, that tends to slow down the process.

potty train your child.

At this stage, explain to your child that you are teaching them to take care of their needs just like mom and dad do. Remember that children learn by imitating adults, so the most effective way to help them is for you to demonstrate what to do.

When you show the child how to use the toilet, it is a good idea to explain what you do and show them that you wipe, pull the handle and finally wash your hands.

Seeing you doing it will help them understand the process.

And keep these details in mind, depending on the sex of your child: if you have a boy, it is recommended that they start to pee sitting down and then be taught to urinate standing up.

If it’s a girl, make sure she wipes from front to back to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.

Encourage their potty training

Make it clear to your child that whenever they need your help to use their potty or the toilet adapter or to raise and lower pants or underwear, they can come to you.

Also, remind them that they can make use of their potty whenever they like.

Don’t forget that the longer your child is without a diaper, the quicker he or she will learn. Yes, that means even being willing to clean up some accidents.

Stay calm and encourage them to stay seated for at least a minute, keeping them company and offering them storybooks.

Of course, don’t hesitate to flatter and praise them every time they use the potty correctly. Then they will understand that this is an achievement.

However, be careful not to overdo your celebrations, as the baby may begin to get nervous or embarrassed with too much attention.

Take “accidents” calmly and humorously

Not every child masters the art of going to the bathroom on their own without first suffering an occasional “accident.”

After each slip-up, do not get angry, and do not punish or scold them. They may not have fully developed the muscles needed to contain urine and bowel movements.

You can reduce the risk of accidents by dressing your child in clothes that are easy and quick to remove. In case you cannot avoid an accident, keep a positive and loving attitude while you clean the mess, reminding them to use the bathroom.

In short, sooner or later, your child will become potty trained and go to the bathroom alone, and this overwhelming stage will be nothing more than the memory of another battle won as a dedicated and successful mother.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.