How to Potty Train Toddlers?

How to Potty Train Toddlers?

The Million Dollar Question! Here is the Answer!How to Potty Train Toddlers

Every parent wants to know, at some time, how to potty train toddlers. How to potty train toddlers is a major hurdle in child raising to accomplish. The reasons you want your child potty trained include: provide your toddler independence, provide parent independence, save money, and transitioning your toddler toward childhood are just a few of the reasons. There are some strong guidelines for how to potty train toddlers that I will highlight in this article.

The key to how to potty train toddlers is your toddler. They need to accomplish the task on their own. Parents and caregivers are the teachers and mentors only. It is also important to note that every child has their own timeline. Potty training is not just a physical accomplishment but has emotional and social influences as well. Because of the many developmental variables, it is critical that you follow only your child’s cues.

Potty Training Guidelines

Are THEY Ready?

The sphincter muscle controls a bodies elimination. It needs to be developed before any potty training will be successful. The sphincter muscle starts and stops the stream of urine and feces. Once this muscle has developed your child will have a chance of being successful at potty training, This muscle typically matures shortly after 12 months of age.

Toddlers to have at least 2 hour periods of dryness during the day. Their stool needs to be well formed and predictable during the day. These are signs that the sphincter muscle has developed.

Your child shows signs of elimination during the day. They also show uncomfortableness when they have soiled their diaper. You also want them to be in a generally cooperative stage emotionally.

Along with cooperativeness, you want your toddler to understand and follow simple directions. An example, Asking your child to pick up a toy. A toddler who hears the instructions and responds in a timely manner to complete the task shows a cooperativeness and readiness for potty training. Read this article from the Mayo Clinic for more guidance on readiness.

Equipment NeededHow to Potty Train Toddlers

The major choice in equipment is your standard adult toilet and a child size potty chair. Your toddler will guide your decision. If a toddler is unafraid of the adult toilet is will be a good choice for them. If your toddler shows signs of being uncomfortable with an adult size toilet then using a smaller potty chair is the best choice for that toddler.

Using the adult toilet will require equipment that allows the child to sit comfortably on the seat. Usually, this means some type of toilet insert. A stool or step will also be needed. Initially, a toddler may also require a caregivers help to manage their toileting needs.

Demonstrate How it is Done

“A picture speaks a thousand words.” Some toddlers will benefit from being able to watch someone use the toilet. Mom or Dad may need to allow their toddler watch them using the bathroom so they will know how it is done. An older sibling could also be the person for your toddler to watch . Toddlers will see what the routine is for going to the bathroom.

Explain the Why for Toddlers

If you are raising a toddler, you are already very verbal with your child. You are providing commentary every time you do something with your toddler. Describing the weather, insects, people, fruit, animals, public servants, cashiers and everything else in your daily life is what parents of toddlers do.

Describing the process and procedure for using the bathroom is not different. It is just another aspect of life that needs to be learned and understood.Answering any questions they have about anatomy is also a typical part of explaining while potty training.

Create a Comfortable Routine
How to Potty Train Toddlers

A daily routine is “king” for toddlers during their development and growth. A routine provides the security they need to feel safe and in control of their environment. When toddlers are safe they have the confidence to explore and try new things. Potty training is one of those new things. A consistent routine helps to build the confidence your toddler needs to be successful at potty training.

Teach Important Toileting Habits

Teach toddlers correct toileting habits as they are potty trained. Learning good bathroom hygiene is very important for their health. Teach children the correct way to wipe themselves, how to dispose of toilet paper, how to flush, proper hand washing and proper hand drying are all important habits to form.

Are Training Pants Needed?

The use of training pant will be a personal family decision. There are pros and cons about the use of training pants when potty training your toddler. The key is for toddlers to go to the bathroom independently. They should be able to pull down their pants and get them back on without any adult help. There may be a need for help with a snap or button on occasion, but toddlers should wear pants with an elastic waistband which allow them to complete toileting on their own.

The use of pull-ups and other manufactured training pants provides choices for parents when potty training their children. Choose training pant or pull-ups based on which one will allow your toddler the must success.

What about Night Training?How to Potty Train Toddlers

Night training comes after your child has succeeded with daytime dryness. Focus on the daytime skills that are needed for potty training. It is not recommended to do day and night training at the same time. Night time training has several other variables that come into play. Continue using diapers on your toddler at night while focusing on daytime potty training.

Some toddlers will naturally master night time dryness on their own. This is obviously the perfect scenario! It, however, is not the norm and should not be attempted at the same time. It is not recommended to do day and night training at the same time.

Tips During Potty Training

Be Graceful with Setbacks – They Will Happen

There will be accidents. Your child is learning something new. Toddlers have no prior experience or knowledge of this process. They will not get it right the first time. Expect and prepare for accidents. Be calm. Clean your toddler first and then clean up the mess. Your toddler can help with the clean up as much is appropriate. (You do not want more of a mess. So use appropriate judgment.)

If there is some significant disruption to your toddlers normal routine there may be more accidents. If they are not being successful with potty training for 3-4 days in a row it may be appropriate to stop potty training. Wait a couple weeks until your routine is back to normal before beginning training again. Your child needs to feel secure in order to achieve success with potty training.

Celebrate All Their Success!How to Potty Train Toddlers

Children are learning a new skill. You cheered your toddler when they learned to smile, sit up, stand and walk. Successful steps in potty training deserve the same cheers. Cheers and praise should be sufficient to show your approval of the new skills they have acquired.

Some parents use other incentives to encourage toddlers success potty training in a timely manner. These incentives are a parents choice to make based on the needs and successes of their toddler.


What is or was your experience with potty training?
Leave a comment and share your advice on how to potty train toddlers.





  1. EllieCommunicates

    Thank you for your post, it gave me reassurance now that my little one is going through this process.
    We started about a year ago with the potty training and it took some time till he got used to going to the toilet during the day.
    Night time is another issue. It’s been a few months now that we removed the nappy during the night and he was alright. There were accidents from time to time, but not very often. Unfortunately, in the last 3-4 weeks there hardly been even one night that he was dry.
    What do you think we should do to help him again stay dry during the night?
    I would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

    1. Janice

      Ellie I am happy that you found some reassurance to the article on potty training. It is one of the most challenging times for parents and toddlers. Potty training is as much emotional as it is physical for your toddler. Your toddler is in control. We as parents really have no control of their potty training, we are only their coach.

      Night dryness can take a very long time for some children. Routine is very important. Any changes in their routine or the family routine can effect their emotional state and their potty training success. It is okay to go back to a diaper or pull-up for a month before trying the night time dryness again. You want to make your child secure. Be patient with your child. They will achieve dryness!

      Best regards,


  2. Bernicia

    Hi Janice,
    Thank you very much for creating this website. It has answers to lots of question in the heart and mind of most women with toddlers.I am one of them.
    You have made available useful resources that will have lasting effect on the visitors of your site.

    The information you provided are detailed and straight to the point.
    I can say they are excellent post.

    1. Janice

      Thank you for visiting the site. I appreciate your kind words.

      Raising a toddler is a very challenging time for many parents. There are strategies that can make life flow smoother and that is what I want to provide for parents.

      I hope you will share the site with others you know that will benefit from the information provided.

      Best regards,


  3. Enid

    Great article! I had two kids. One was barely one and the other was past four when they mastered potty issues. Temperament plays a huge part, but so does physical issues. The child who took longer, would have accidents for weeks when he was having a growth spurt. The Dr. said that in some kids the sphincter is one of the last things to grow. So he would have accidents until it caught up. He was the more sensitive kid, and this issue bothered him greatly. Be thoughtful, your child wants to please you and be a big kid. They will get it figured out. The more pressure and disappointment you heap on them the harder it is to perform. Make it fun and normal and they will get it.

    1. Janice Martin (Post author)

      Thank you for telling your story, Enid.
      You are absolutely correct about temperament playing an important role in potty training. Thank you also for reminding everyone that each child is very different. Every child will have their own journey with potty training. Parents must be patient and positive in their approach.
      Best regards,

  4. Caroline

    My son has just turned two years old this week and I’m pregnant with our second child due in January. Without wanting to rush my son, I’m also dreading having to potty train him at the same time as having a newborn!

    I still do not think he is ready though. He still seems to urinate in dribs and drabs many times throughout the day, and there is no evidence of when he is doing this. He has been very secretive about pooping for around 6 months now – he always goes off to another room and I hear him grunting. But without knowing when he is urinating am I right in thinking it is too early?

    1. Janice

      Hi Caroline,

      Potty training is such an individual story for each child. Your mother’s intuition is probably leading you in the right direction. There is no rush for potty training. Your son is showing signs of readiness for potty training. Without some periods of dryness during the day, it doesn’t sound like he is quite ready to start the process.

      Some parents also feel that once the process is started there is no turning back. You can stop at anytime if your child is not being successful and start again in a few months.

      Be patient and positive. It will happen and be most successful when he is really ready.

      Best regards, Janice

  5. Arianan Curry

    I remember those days! My son is 8 now and I think the best piece of advice is to be graceful with setbacks… because there WILL be setbacks! It seemed like my son would do well for a while and then totally forget everything and I’m guessing my disappointment didn’t help and I think he may have been a little defiant after a while:-). All in all, consistency and routine are the most important part! Thank you for this!

    1. Janice Martin (Post author)

      Hi Arianan,
      You certainly are highlighting the right frame of mind. “You need to expect setbacks and be graceful when they happen.” Most often your toddler is as upset or more upset than you are.

      The process is physical, emotional, and social development. It doesn’t always click all together at the same time.

      Thank you for reminding us that consistency and routine will be the best help we can provide for our toddlers during potty training.

      Best regards, Janice


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