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10 Simple Ways to Toilet Train Your Child

“I can’t wait until I don’t have to buy diapers again!”
“No more accidents in the middle of grocery stores!”
“What? You mean your child can hold it for longer than two minutes?”


Toilet Training a Toddler

As a parent educator and long time preschool teacher, I have heard so many parents talk about their dreams of one day saying a phrase listed above. Once a child is toilet trained, the need for carrying diaper bags disappears, worrying about whether you use disposable or cloth diapers is no longer a topic of conversation, not to mention the large budget needed to purchase wipes and all that goes along with diapers.

As a toddler teacher, I have toilet trained over 50 children and changed thousands of diapers! The question I get from most parents is “How do I get my baby to sit on the potty for any length of time?” Through my unique and very interesting experiences (yes I have had children sit on my lap and pee randomly – or turned around and found a toddler touching their own poop – ewwww), I have developed a potty training technique that works for most kids.  To learn the technique on how I have helped several kids successfully use the bathroom:

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     Toilet Training Differences

     The most important thing to remember is that all children are different. They develop at different paces and at different times, therefore there is no “right” age to potty train. Some children potty train early and some potty train a little later. The most important aspect of preparing your child for this unique transition is to encourage them to take an active role in their own toileting, introducing them to the concepts of independent toileting.

    Typically, children will show interest in the toilet when they are 12 months and older. They see their parents and siblings use it. When they are at a park, daycare or somewhere in public, they see strangers go into bathroom stalls. They inherently learn that there is something about those while porcelain thrones that everyone seems to enjoy.

    For a child to be potty trained, they not only need to understand the routines and behaviors around using the toilet (pulling pants down, stopping play, wiping their bottom, washing their hands, etc), but physically they need to learn what the “I have to go to the bathroom” feeling is like. The pre-potty training signs will occur when a child goes to a familiar adult and requests their diaper to be changed due to it being soiled or wet. They are uncomfortable and would like to be comfortable again. Soon, they will start to understand what that “urge” before they go potty means.

     Toilet Training Schedule

    The first step to the road of successful toileting is to create a toilet training schedule, requesting that your child visit the toilet every 2.5 hours. Making sure that your child is eating and drinking enough throughout the day will be of high importance. If a child is eating and drinking every two hours, they should have enough going through their system to need to use the bathroom at least three or four times per day. Remember- if they are asking for a drink less than two hours before bedtime, they will most likely need to use the bathroom at night.

    Not only does the child need to be physically and mentally ready for toilet training, but so does the bathroom environment. A toileting plan that is set before a child starts being introduced to the toilet is important, as any changes to the toileting schedule or routine can create confusion, frustration and hesitation from the child. There are many toileting options and a variety of environmental changes that a parent can do the help their child feel confident and easily transition to from diapers to underwear.

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      • I have a 20 month old who loves sitting on the potty and thinks it’s a ton of fun, but he never actually uses the potty. My oldest refused to even sit on the potty until he was about 2 1/2 years old, because there was a song that it played which scared him when he was smaller.
        When my oldest finally sat down, he used the potty without a problem and potty training was rather simple after that. We just had to get him on. So my question is, how do we get the little one to understand what he needs to do on the potty when he sits on it?

      • I am curious if you have any suggestions for a 4 yo boy potty training at night. We are not having luck.


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