We all went through some form of potty training at some point. Odd thought. But when it comes to how to start potty training your own baby, the task feels like it’s never been done by another person. Ever.
Yes, this is pretty damn stressful—and it doesn’t help that, like walking and talking, pooping and peeing fall prey to all sorts of outside pressure. Why does everything have to be a race? Can we just have a bowel movement in peace here?
Breathe, mama. It’s all going to be fine. We’ll give you some tried-and-tested tips with none of the nag.
Let’s get to it (calmly and slowly): how do you begin potty training?
How to potty train 🚽💩
When to start potty training
Now down to business. What is the best age to start potty training? The short answer is when your baby is good and ready to dispense of their diapers. Sometimes this happens at 18 months old. Sometimes this happens at three years old. No age is right. No age is wrong.
Don’t miss our complete guide on when to start potty training.
This may help:
Top 10 tips to start potty training
1. Follow their queues.
The great potty training irony is that if you start too early, the whole process can take longer. But how do you know if they’re ready? Here are some clues to look out for. (We know—being a diaper detective was not on your list of dream careers but here we are.)
- Their diapers can stay dry for a record-breaking two hours.
- They show an interest in this new hobby. Their curiosity in this strange porcelain contraption is piqued.
- They can let you know in some way that they need to go.
- They can understand basic commands. (Please pass me the doll kinda thing.)
- They can get to the toilet on their own—and sit on it when they get there.
2. Put your own excellent toilet skills on display.
Toddlers are like mime artists at a carnival. They will copy you. So, showing off the skill you have spent decades performing goes a long way.
3. Big up the bathroom.
Make the washroom a positive space. Talk maturely, openly, and positively about this important room. Steer clear of language that will give them any sort of negative connotations to this space. (AvoidEw gross. That’s stinky. Yucky.)
4. Ease them in.
Change diapers close to the potty or toilet so that they can start making visual associations.
5. Dress for the poops you want.
Use pull-ups or training pants so that it’s not difficult to get things on and off when they need to. And then, once things start progressing, let them go commando. When that diaper is not there to catch those poops and pees, the potty can look a whole lot more inviting.
6. Make the mad dash.
Once you kick off the whole process, the fun really starts. If you notice that your baby is wanting to go, help them make that happen. This does mean making record-time rushes to the toilet when you see the signs.
And when they get there on time and it all goes according to plan:
7. Celebrate the wins.
Praise. Applaud. Fawn. Wooohooo! What a feat.
8. Get good habits in early.
Show them how to wash their hands with soap and water after going. Developing good hygiene habits is important—and the ritual of this may just make the process even more enticing.
9. Be patient.
If you are about to go through any sort of big life change (moves, breakups, new siblings) it might be best to wait. Nobody needs the added stress.
10. Be kind.
To them and to yourself. They have a whole lifetime of lav-loving ahead of them. It will happen. Yes, you’re right. This can be frustrating. Breathe. Smile. Laugh. You’re learning this together.
Good luck, mama! We’re cheering you on from the sidelines.