The Best Potty Training Tips for Mamas

The Best Potty Training Tips for Mamas

We know you’re eagerly awaiting the day when you say goodbye to diapers, so maybe it’s time to look at potty training?

Our top potty training tips?

Make sure your toddler is ready, and focus on praise and encouragement.

Patience, by the way, is key.

It might feel like just yesterday you were mastering the art of diapering a newborn, and now you’re looking for potty training tips.

Crazy, right?!

Potty training is a big deal — not only for you but also for your toddler, who is learning to be more independent every day.

After all, potty training is a huge developmental step for your toddler or preschooler.

You know your baby best of all, so remember to follow their cues and stay true to your parenting style.

For the rest, we’ve got you covered.

Here are our top tricks for how to potty train.

In this article: 📝

  • When to start potty training
  • How do I tell if my toddler is ready to potty train?
  • What is the best way to potty train a toddler?
  • Potty training tips for girls
  • Potty training tips for boys

When to start potty training

So, what is the best age to start potty training?

Well, there isn’t really a right or wrong when it comes to the age to start potty training, although most children will be somewhere between 18 months and 3 years of age when they’re ready.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a readiness approach, as opposed to a specific age bracket, to ensure your child is developmentally ready.

And if it’s taking longer then a few months, it might be too soon for your babe.

Part of potty training readiness is your toddler’s physical readiness to feel when their bladder is full or when they have to poop.

This can’t be rushed or forced, no matter how much you want to potty-train your child.

Although, according to this study, many moms start potty training to prepare their toddler for nursery, which can put a bit of pressure on the potty training timeline.

So how can you tell when they’re ready? Well…

How do I tell if my toddler is ready to potty train?

Looking for signs of readiness will make the whole process easier and can help avoid regressions.

Before starting to potty train, your toddler should do some of the following:

  • Shows an interest in you or others using the bathroom
  • Can understand and verbalize words to do with going to the bathroom
  • Pull down their diaper and pants, and pull them up again
  • Tell you if their diaper is wet or dirty and ask for a diaper change if they want one
  • Can stay dry for 2 or more hours at a time, while awake and during naps
  • Understands the link between feeling the urge to pee or poop, and actually peeing or pooping.

If your toddler is doing a few of these, but not all, don’t get hung up on it, and don’t get discouraged to start.

And if you’re not sure whether they’re showing these signs or not, feel free to ask your pediatrician.

What is the best way to potty train a toddler?

Once you’ve determined your toddler is ready for potty training, there are lots of potty training ideas to make the process simple.

We’ve got you.

Choose a potty or a toddler toilet seat

To potty train, you can either use a separate potty or use a toddler seat that sits on top of your toilet.

Most parents will find a potty more flexible as you can move it about the house to have it close by ‒ like in your living room if that’s where you spend most of your time ‒ to save you from a mad dash to the bathroom.

Or, your toddler might see you sitting on the big toilet, and want in on that action too.

Starting off with a combination of both a floor potty and an insert for the toilet itself can speed up the learning process by giving options and getting your child some exposure to real toilets (which is what they’ll need to use when they aren’t at home!).

Go with whatever works for you!

It’s all about being led by your child’s pace (it’s scientifically proven to be more effective!).

Introduce the potty early

Involve your toddler by letting them choose their own potty.

Having the potty in the bathroom, before you even start potty training, can help create a link between the potty and needing to pee or poop.

They might even like practicing sitting on it with their clothes on.

You could also use storytime as a way of getting them used to the idea with a fun potty training book.

As Allison Jandu, potty training expert, says, “Having an early intro to the potty and the concept of potty training before you expect them to do or change anything at first makes a huge difference!”.

Starting the potty training process early, even in a small way, can prove very effective, as long as you have reasonable age-appropriate expectations of your toddler.

In fact, according to this study, some moms in Vietnam started “potty training” pretty much from birth, with many babies using their potties from 9 months old!

But intensive potty training at a young age could have the opposite effect, as this study suggests.

Take your time

How do I potty train my toddler in 3 days? is a common question asked by Peanut mamas.

If you can, set aside a few days where you can stay home to focus on potty training.

In reality, the process could take weeks (or months!), but by making sure your toddler is ready and setting aside time to specifically concentrate on potty training, you might be able to make the process quicker and more simple.

Let your toddler set their pace, it could make for a more effective potty training process!

Diaper-free time

You can start by going cold turkey on the diapers.

If you see signs like your toddler grunting or crossing their legs, take them to the potty.

If they’re not showing any signs, set an alarm for every 45 minutes to an hour, place your toddler on their potty or toddler seat, and give them time to go.

Taking them too frequently can lead to resistance and frustration and also it can train the bladder to empty before it’s supposed to, which can lead to more accidents in the long run.

As more and more pees and poops are taken on the potty, gradually extend the time between potty breaks.

Don’t force it

If they don’t want to sit on the potty, don’t force it.

They need to be happy and calm to be able to go, so there’s no benefit to making them stay on the potty if they don’t want to be there.

Set up a routine

If you aren’t able to stay home for an extended period, you might be wondering how many hours a day should you potty train?

Well, some parents find offering the potty at certain times of day works better for their child.

Offering time to sit on the potty as soon as they wake from sleep, about an hour after a large drink, or 15-30 minutes after a meal might work with the routine of your toddler’s bodily functions.

This routine might be easier to follow if your toddler is in childcare too.

Keep calm and carry on

Try to avoid showing disappointment or frustration when your child has an accident. Instead, focus on trying again — “Oh well! Maybe next time we can make it to the potty.”

Bowel training

It’s usually easier to tell when your toddler has to poop than pee, so offering the potty when you can see your child grunting or making noises for a poop can be a good place to start.

And if they’re reluctant, there could be other things at play, like constipation, as this study suggests.

Don’t sit for too long

Sitting for too long should be avoided!

Allison Jandu recommends sitting for no longer than 2 to 3 minutes for a pee attempt or 5 to 7 minutes for a poop attempt. If they don’t go in that amount of time, they can get up and return again soon.

Show them where the poop goes

If they do poop in their diaper or the potty, tip it in the toilet and let them flush it away.

They might enjoy seeing the whole process through.

Praise them

If your little one sits on the potty, praise them!

If they go in the potty, praise them!

If they wake up dry, praise them!

See where we’re going with this?!

Positive reinforcement will give them a sense of achievement, no matter how small the step.

It’s scientifically proven!

Practise hand hygiene

After every potty or toilet use, make hand-washing part of the routine with warm, soapy water.

Be careful of your words

It’s easy to call all things potty training by negative words, like “dirty” or “stinky”, but that may lead to embarrassment for your child.

Have a talk with them about what words they want to use for their (ahem) body fluids, and use those.

Opt for easy clothing

While you’re potty training, you won’t want to be messing about with fiddly overalls or rompers.

If they’re tricky for you, they’ll be even trickier for your toddler!

Go for clothes that are easy to pull down and pull up, like skirts, dresses, or pants.

Potty training tips for girls

Potty training girls means poop first, pee later?

In many instances, girls will pee when they poop.

So if it’s easier to tell when your little one is having a bowel motion, use that as your cue to put them on the potty, and before long they’ll be peeing in there too.

Learn more about potty training girls.

Potty training tips for boys

Sit down!

Not only do boys have to master using the potty, but they also have to master peeing standing up!

Potty training boys by letting them sit down to pee first is usually best (and less messy!) while they get the hang of things.

Watching Dad or older siblings pee standing up can show them how to do it, and books can help illustrate it too.

There you have it!

Ready and armed to go?

Best of luck with your potty training, mama!


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