Prepare for the Potty Training Journey
We all wish potty training were as simple as sitting our toddler down on the potty one day and watching the transition magically happen. The truth is, it’s not an overnight process. And let’s be real. It can also take some serious patience. Instead of jumping right to the big day, start slowly.
These steps are an important part of the process:
- Warm up to potty training. Have your child practice toilet tasks individually — pulling down pants, sitting on the potty, wiping, flushing — in a low-key way. Using Pull-Ups® training pants is a great way for your child to practice pulling their own pants up and down. Unlike diapers, their stretchy sides allow this.
- Have an open bathroom policy. Offer to let your toddler hang out with you in the bathroom while you’re doing your business. It’s a really important way for little kids to learn. Kids love to mimic their parents, so consider incorporating the Can You Do What I Do? potty training game into your routine.
- Point out potties. Point out all the potties in other places — at Grandpa’s house, at the mall and at the grocery store. Many toddlers don’t realize their home isn’t the only place in the universe with a potty. The Find the Potty game can make it fun!
They also reinforce your child’s sense of being in charge of the process. Transitioning from diapers to Pull-Ups® training pants is an important step in the process. Just be sure you don’t put diapers on after the transition as that can be confusing for your toddler.
Gather Your Essential Potty Training Items
Our Potty Training Shopping List is a great way to ensure you grab everything you need when you’re shopping for potty training success. Here are a few key potty training essentials:
- Easily removable clothing. Potty training calls for simple clothing, so now is a great time to go through your kid’s clothes and set aside the overalls, tights and anything with 1,001 snaps. The more your child can control the process, including getting undressed and dressed, the better.
- A potty seat. There are two types of potty seats: stand-alone potty seats that are just small chairs with a hole cut out and toilet adapter potty seats, which fit over a regular toilet. Ask your child which they prefer, or consider trying both.
- A sturdy stool. Create a safe environment in the bathroom with a sturdy step stool up to the toilet. If you’ve taken the Potty Personality Quiz and know you have a careful child or one who is particularly detail-oriented, ask about their specific requests in the bathroom. The more they feel they drive the process, the more successful they’ll be.
Another trick to try is the “backsplash” method: Have your child (girl or boy) sit backward on the toilet (with no insert). This helps the child to feel more stable. If you choose one method and it isn’t right for your child, try another. Flexibility is key in potty training.
Have Fun Potty Training
Sure, potty training can be stressful. But it can also be fun! Think about how to make the journey enjoyable for your child — and for you:
- Practice the positivity. Say a few potty praises into the mirror so you’ll be comfortable using them. Genuine, low-key, specific praise works best. Don’t just yell out, “Wow! Great job!” Instead, make an observation about a skill.
- Take a special shopping trip together. Letting your child pick out their own Pull-Ups® training pants with their favorite characters along with other items on the Potty Training Shopping List can create a sense of ownership in the process. Set aside a trip just for this, and don’t pick up anything that’s not related to potty training so the time feels special.
- Kick off the journey. Come up with a fun “going to the potty song,” bake a potty training cake, make a sticker chart to celebrate successes… There are many great ways to get your toddler excited about becoming a Big Kid.
For example, try saying, “This time, I see you held your pee until you got to the potty. Nice job.” Finding the right balance of praise is a way to be respectful of your child’s growing sense of mastery and independence.
Ready, Set, Go — Almost!
Once you’ve taken all of the above steps, you’re almost ready! Here are a few additional ways to launch a successful and fun potty training journey for your child:
- Set aside expectations. It takes eight months, on average, to potty train a child. If your child is shy, reserved, or free-spirited, it can take longer. Remember, this is a partnership. You’re your child’s coach, and they need you to stay with them for the whole course.
- Gather a potty training pack. Keep a “potty training pack” with a pair of pants and Pull-Ups® training pants tucked into a zipper bag, and stash one in your car, in your bag and at Grandma’s house.
- Talk with Potty Partners. Share your family’s potty training plan with babysitters, grandparents or other caregivers so you’re all on the same page.
Congratulations! If you’ve made it through this list, you have all the potty training essentials down. It’s time to start potty training your child.