While there is no hard and fast rule as to how to train your child to use the potty, there are many helpful tips and tricks that can make the potty training process easier and more comfortable for both you and your child.   Below we have compiled a list of do’s and don’t’s for you to consider during this important stage in your child’s life!

Dos and donts of potty training

DO’s: DO have a couple of pairs of underwear and pants in each bathroom that the child will utilize.   You may also want to keep a spare change of clothes, and a large Ziploc bag (for soiled clothes) in your car or bag. DO begin by transitioning the child in pull-ups. They will familiarize the child with the concept of wearing underwear but will be be more comfortable than wet underwear during training. DO keep a box of flushable baby wipes on top of the toilets used by the child.   They will be familiar to the child from their diaper days and can be more comfortable than toilet paper when they are first learning. DO have a step stool in the bathrooms the child utilizes so they can easily get on and off the toilet. The step stool also doubles as a seat for mom or dad to sit while the child is on the toilet. DO allow the child to watch siblings use the potty so they are more comfortable with the idea of doing it. DO plan for accidents! They will occur and it’s important to let the child know it’s ok and quickly clean them up.   Positive reinforcement works to keep the child motivated to keep trying. DO have multiple sets of sheets and mattress pads for the child’s bed so that if an accident happens, you can easily clean things up. DO buy some Febreeze Antibacterial spray. It works magic on wet mattresses and keeps the bacteria from building up on the mattress. DO have set times to place the child on the potty so they can develop a routine.   When they wake up, before bathtime, etc. – these are all great times to implement into a routine. DO get the child used to practicing good hygiene by washing their hands every time they leave the bathroom. DO incorporate fiber-rich foods into their diet to help their natural digestion.   Apple juice, dried apricots, grapes, and soybeans all can help a child who is constipated. ———————————————————————————————– DON’T’s DON’T be afraid to talk about “going potty” often.   Frequently ask the child if they need to use the potty. DON’T compare the child’s rate of progress to another sibling’s. Each child is different and comparison wil not only make the child feel inadequate, but the child may develop a fear of using the bathroom (for fear of not doing it right) which could lead to other, major problems. DON’T be afraid to throw underwear away if they are too soiled.   While it’s not economical to throw every pair that gets soiled away, it’s good to know when a pair has met it’s match. DON’T start potty training the child when they are sick. DON’T start potty training if you are under a lot of stress. The child can pick up on your stress and may confuse your annoyance with something else as annoyance at them. DON’T force the child.   If they aren’t cooperating, crying, or uncomfortable to the point of being inconsolable, then the child is probably not ready. DON’T give up! This is a hard skill to teach, but well worth the effort.   Just ask any mom who has survived it!



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7 Comments

  1. I agree with all except using pullups. I’m a toddler teacher and only use them at nightime/naptime. My theory is that a child feels wet and will relate the action to the feeling. Pullups conceal that feeling and to be honest, most toddlers call them diapers and know once a pull up is on they won’t have to worry about going to the potty. They’re a smart bunch!

  2. Montessori potting training…NO pull-ups. They just duplicate a diaper. Every time I worked with parents and they got rid of the pull-ups, toilet training succeeded. Also I believe placing the toddler on the toilet at certain times doesn’t he either. It is their body. The toddler needs to learn the feeling of a full bladder and what happens next. Their little muscles haven’t developed and letting them ‘feel’ ready to go works better. Otherwise parents are just training themselves, not their child. Just some thoughts from my Montessori experience.

  3. This is all fantastic information but how do I know when to start? My son is 18 months and some of the kids in day care his age are starting to learn but I don’t know if he is ready yet.

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  5. Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the challenges.
    It was truly informative. Your site is useful.

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  7. Whew! It makes me tired just thinking about it. Thank GOD that is over in my life! It nearly did me in.

    I will second the Fabreeze anti-bacterial spray. That is a MUST near any bathroom or mattress around here!