Party on the Potty

smiling baby sitting on chamber pot with toilet paper rollsFind Out When and How to Get Started

Potty training is a huge milestone for every child (and their parents!), but not every child is ready at the same time. And even children who are ready to learn will differ widely in how easy or difficult the process is and how long it takes.

Is my child ready?

There are some basic physical and cognitive abilities that a child needs before potty training has any chance of being successful. Your child may be ready to learn if they:

  • Can walk to the potty and sit down
  • Can pull down their pants (with or without help)
  • Can stay dry for at least a couple of hours during the day
  • Can understand and follow simple directions
  • Recognize when they need to go, when they are actually going, and/or when they have already “gone to the bathroom” in their diaper

How do we start?

  1. Introduce the equipment. The first thing to do is to purchase a potty chair for your child. You may want to get a book or two about using the potty to read together. Start by letting your child sit on the potty with a diaper on to get used to the idea. 
  2. Keep it close. If the bathroom is not very close to where your child spends most of the day, consider putting the potty in a different, more convenient location.
  3. Take potty breaks. Set a timer for every two hours, having your child sit on the potty without a diaper for a few minutes. Nothing is likely to happen the first few (dozen) times, but heap lots of praise on your child just for trying.
  4. Offer reinforcement. Consider using a sticker chart or other system to reward your child for a successful trip to the potty.
  5. Expect accidents. Poop happens. Try not to express disappointment or frustration with your child, and remind them that they can always try again.

Potty training takes lots of patience and a good sense of humor, but rest assured that your family will, eventually, get through this phase. And well before kindergarten!