Potty Training 101

Potty training! Just the phrase can cause parents to worry. The task may feel overwhelming. Thoughts of accidents are stressful. What we need is a plan. Where should we start? At the beginning!

1. When

The age chosen to start potty training can vary greatly. I chose 18-24 months to train my 4 kids. The most common age seems to be 24-30 months. Other families choose to wait until age 3. So how do you choose the right age for your child?

Clues to readiness:

A. Staying dry 1-2 hours at a time during the day

B. Ability to follow a 2- or 3-step instruction, ie “Put the green ball in the box by the stairs.”

Need help? Check out my favorite readiness quiz.

2. What

What do you need to begin the process? Being prepared really helps.

A. 12 pairs of cloth trainers (paper pull-ups delay training)

B. 2-3 cloth diaper covers (for in the car)

C. Potty training DVD (to watch over and over)

D. A basket of small prizes for success (stickers, toys, candy)

E. Potty training book for the child

F. Potty chair or potty ring

3. HOW

There are many systems out there. My system is parent led. I call it “Potty Party.”

The two weeks before you begin potty training, sit your child on the potty a few times every day (with no expectation). Offer a small reward every time they sit on the potty (a chocolate chip works well). The goal is just to get them comfortable sitting with no battle. Make it fun. Sing a song or read a book.

Schedule “potty party” on a week when you can stay home most of the time and give your child undivided attention. Make it fun and festive.

  • Watch the video with your child several times.
  • Read the potty book with your child.
  • Fill their sippy with a favorite juice; offer it every half-hour.
  • Take your child potty every 30-45 minutes.
  • Reward every success.
  • For every accident take your child potty and remind them where our potty goes.
  • Remember that accidents are a training opportunity, a learning moment.

For help, you can check out my step-by-step system.

The key is to start and continue until finished. Starting and stopping only confuses the child. I found using a timer helps reduce the battle. When the timer sounds announce “potty time” and scoop them up and take them to the potty. Laugh, sing and read a book.

Potty training comes in stages:

Stage 1 – Learning to sit on the potty

Stage 2 – Turning on the pee while sitting

Stage 3 – Going potty when asked

Stage 4 – Staying dry for 60 minutes or more

Stage 5 – Staying dry for 90 minutes or more

Stage 6 – Asking to go potty before an accident

Remember that your child telling you they need to go potty is the very last step. Your guiding them to go when needed comes first. Most children are achieving 50% success on the potty at the end of a week or two. Be patient and have fun!

Kay Green

Kay Green

Kay Green is a wife, mother of four and grandmother of six (called Nana). She is founder of the baby store My Precious Kid that she sold in 2015. Now she helps families receive 20% cash back rebates on all their local shopping — groceries, gas, clothes, gifts and eating out — at SaveMoneyMama.com.
Kay Green

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2 thoughts on “Potty Training 101

  • November 27, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Great tips! I have done something similar to the potty party for all of my children and it worked like a charm! #happynowlinkup

  • November 22, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    My girls are way past the potty training age, but do remember this stage all too well and you laid out the steps perfectly here from all we do go through back then. So, anyone reading and looking for help with this could really gain some wonderful insight to potty training.


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