toddler potty training practice walking


Choosing the right time to potty train your toddler is a HUGE decision to make. And once you make the decision, you should never turn back! Mark the date on your calendar, create a countdown chain with your toddler and GO FOR IT! 

When you remove that last diaper on DAY 1, your child should never see another diaper again. (Does that make you feel nervous or excited?!) I want to share some of my top tips to help potty training go smoothly so that you only have to do it one time and be done with it!


Tip #1: Make sure that your child is READY to be potty trained


Studies have shown that between 20-30 months is the most commonly successful time to potty train. Your child may fall on either end of the age spectrum, as this isn’t an exact science. Every child is different. 

If you are putting your child on your timeline, you’re setting potty training up to fail. That’s just the cold, hard truth. When parents try to potty train for reasons that have nothing to do with actual child readiness, it never goes well. 


The time might be right when:

  • Your child asks to be changed after pooping
  • Your child stays dry for longer periods of time
  • Your child wants privacy to poop (hiding in the corner while pooping in the diaper)
  • Your child shows interest in the potty
  • Your child can independently push pants down and pull them back up


Do not try to potty train if:

  •  You’re about to have another baby
  • You’re moving to a new house
  • Your child is about to start preschool/daycare
  • Your child is transitioning to a toddler bed
  • You’re weaning from breastfeeding

 For a quick and easy quiz to determine if your child is ready for potty training, click this link! You want to make sure you’re ready to commit to potty training during a calm period of time in life without any major transitions.


Tip #2: Normalize potty time


As weird as it may sound to you, let your child watch you in the bathroom. I know you probably want privacy, but I’m pretty sure that went out the window when you gave birth.

  • Talk about going to the bathroom
  • Use proper anatomy terms
  • Never make going to the bathroom seem dirty, shameful or gross. Everyone pees. Everyone poops. Talk about it and discuss that it is a natural bodily function that everyone has.
  • Use consistent vocabulary. Choose your words and stick to them. Examples include:
“Mommy’s going pee pee and poopy” or “Mommy has to wee and poo.”
Whatever words you choose, don’t flip flop between them. STICK TO IT. And make them obvious so that teachers, babysitters, grandparents know what your child is talking about when they use the words in public.
  • When your child has a BM in her diaper, bring her to the bathroom and dump the contents of the diaper down the potty and show her that poop goes in the potty and down the drain. Bid the poops farewell as you flush, “bye bye poopies!”
  • Read lots of books about the “big kid potty.” Check out my list of favorite books (and products).


Tip #3: Be patient and expect accidents


You wouldn’t expect to go on a diet on Monday and drop 10 pounds by Wednesday. So don’t expect to start potty training on Monday and have your child 100% potty trained by Wednesday. DO NOT use language like, “Look what you did! You peed on the new couch!” Instead, try saying, “Looks like you had an accident on the couch. Let’s go sit on the potty to see if any more needs to come out, then let’s clean up the couch together.” 


This is a process. 

It’s going to take time to perfect. 

There will be accidents. 


If you’re overwhelmed, don’t know where to start or if you’re just frustrated with where you’re at in the potty training journey, don’t forget that you’re not alone! Reach out to someone who an help you, whether it be a family member, friend, or a professional.


AUTHOR: Missy Yandow is a certified pediatric sleep consultant and dual-certified potty training consultant, owner of Slumber and Bloom. She is an energetic mom of 3, living the dream with her husband, Tim, in Rochester, NY.

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