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Parenting

How To Potty Train Your Child

Last Updated March 4, 2021

By  Janice Warren

It is time for your little one to go potty training, but then again, is it? What is the right time or age? Generally, children are ready to start potty training at around age 2, but some may wait until 3 1/2. Often, boys start a little later, taking longer to learn to use the potty than girls.

Children's readiness for potty training depends mostly on behavioural, physical, and developmental milestones and depends so little on age. So instead of relying on age, watch out for signs of readiness that show your child is ready to start toilet training. Your young one should be able to:

  • Understand words around using the potty
  • Relate using the potty to pee or poop
  • Have regular bowel movements
  • Be uncomfortable with a dirty diaper
  • Regularly keep their diaper dry for 2 hours or more
  • Pull down underpants, disposable training pants or diapers
  • Have an interest in using the potty

Before starting to potty train, help your child grow familiar with using the toilet. You can let your child come into the bathroom with you.

Learning bathroom etiquette has most kids pretty excited. Dazzle them with how the toilet flushing works.

How Long Does It Take To Toilet Train Your Child?

Potty training is not an overnight task, this process takes a while, and that needs the patience to make those little milestones. Even enthusiastic toddlers can take several weeks to master potty training proficiently.

Accidents will happen, but try to maintain your calm, don't scold, shame, or punish your kid. This will only discourage them.

Potty training mostly takes around 3 to 6 months. It also varies for different children.

Remember, if you start before they're ready, the process might take a little longer than this. But generally, it can take months or years to learn staying dry at night.

As the parent, you also need to prepare yourself psychologically. You'll need to set aside at least three days in the week for toilet training with your child for your little one.

This will require a lot of time indoors with your baby. If you are a working parent, don't worry, you can easily include your daycare providers or your child's guardian in this to continue on days you can't.

Potty Training Tips

Once your timings are set, you will need to gear up with the following:

a) Prepare on equipment - Start by placing the potty chair in the bathroom or wherever the child spends most of their time. Also, to make sure they are comfortable as they sit. Bring a potty chair with you as you travel with your little one.

Also, the potty comes in two main types:

  • A stand-alone toddler-size potty chair that comes with a bowl that you can empty into the toilet
  • A toddler-size potty seat that you can place on top of your toilet seat. This lets your child feel more secure in the toilet. You'll need to get a stepping stool so your child can comfortably reach the potty seat and be supported while experiencing their bowel movement.

b) Schedule the potty breaks - without a diaper, have your little one sit on the potty chair or toilet right after naps, first thing in the morning for a few minutes or in two-hour intervals. For your son, it's best first to help them learn to pee while sitting down, then move to while standing up, just after bowel movement training is done.

c) Bring a toy or a book - while your baby sits on the potty, stay with him or her. You can read a book or have an audio track playing in the background or play with them.

d) Explain hygiene -Do it in a fun way that they'll understand. Help your daughter learn to spread her legs and learn to carefully wipe from front to back to prevent her from catching any infections. Every child should learn how to wash their hands properly.

e) Lose the diapers - After weeks of successfully staying dry during the day, it's now time to trade in diapers for the kid underwear or ease them in using pull-ups or training pants. Positive comments or praises are highly recommended during this transition. However, if the child doesn't want to lose them just yet, or is having a hard time staying dry, especially during the day, give them time.

f) Use positive reinforcement / encouraging words - this is a big, bold step for your child, boost their confidence. Additionally, avoid using negative words such as stinky or smelly, etc.

Establishing The Potty Training Routine

1. Day one

To help your baby recognise the need for the potty, have them stay bare-bottomed without the diaper or underwear on the first day. For easy access, put the potty where they can easily reach. Regularly, give your little one fluid to help them pee as often.

Carefully watch your child's behaviour when they need to poop or pee. When you notice it's time, escort them to the toilet. Also, include bathroom breaks every 20 minutes. Each time, help them develop a habit of washing their hands.

2. Day Two

On day one and day two, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises staying indoors to solidify the routine on all three days. Still, if you need to go out, carry your portable potty with you if they refuse to use the toilet. Accidents will happen, and when they do, take it easy, change their training pants or underwear and use emotionally neutral words regarding the potty to let the child know to use the potty next time.

3. Nighttime and Nap Time

Some parents firmly believe in consistent potty training during the daytime, napping time, and night time some parents might want to do it in stages. During the training process, you will need to note your child's behavioural pattern every time they need to use the toilet. If your baby manages to stay dry during nighttime, you can choose to have them wear underwear or pull-ups as they sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions on Potty Training

1. What do you do if the child hates the process or not getting it?

Stop, take a big breath and back off. Take a minute to look at everything that's happening and find the root cause. It might be the power struggle or the fact that they're just not ready/ old enough, or the method you're using that is just not working for your child.

2. What should I do if my big kid still doesn't want to potty train?

If the child seems ready to potty train but doesn't want to, you can consider seeking help and guidance from an infant and toddler specialist to help identify any underlying issues.

Janice Warren


Janice is a full-time writer at Infantcore, writing about her experiences as mother of 4.

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