It seems like everyone has strong opinions about potty training. Grandparents, friends and the overwhelming sources on the internet all seem to have their own expectations about how it should be done. It feels like a lot of pressure! Have no fear — Pull-Ups® has helped potty train 60 million Big Kids and counting! Read on for our tips and facts to make potty training fun, fast and easy.
Tips For Potty Training: Be Prepared
- Learn about methods for potty training. For example, the 3-day potty training method or a weekend boot camp might be unrealistic for most parents and children. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians both support the methods used in the Pull-Ups® Potty Partnership approach. There are many unique styles for how to potty train a toddler, which is a good thing because each child is different! Read up, talk to your pediatrician and other trusted sources, and choose what will work best for YOUR family.
- There is no right time or age to begin potty training. Every child is different. Though there are common starting ages for children, what matters most is whether your child shows developmental signs of readiness. Potty training requires kids to have certain physical, cognitive and emotional skills. Try taking this Potty Training Readiness Quiz if you’re not quite sure.
- Tailor your approach to your child. Every child is different, and no doubt you’re looking for easy potty training, so match your approach to your toddler’s personality to help them learn in a way that’s easy for them. Use this Potty Personality Quiz to identify your child’s personality type and connect it with potty training tips and tricks that match your child.
- Get informed about potty training boys and girls differently. You can often find advice on how to potty train a girl, and there are some tips that are specific for boys out there that you may find helpful.
- Make a plan. Once you’ve got the research out of the way, make a plan and figure out your schedule of how to start.
- Get the supplies you need ahead of time. Make it a special trip with just you and your toddler, no siblings or groceries allowed. This will help increase your child’s excitement and wonder about the journey to come. Here are some of our top potty training essentials.
- Host a fun kick-off. Becoming a Big Kid is a big deal to your toddler — make it a special occasion! Create an official certificate, come up with a potty training song to use together, or try another idea for how to make potty training fun for you and your child from Day 1.
- Get your child involved. You can’t potty train your toddler without your toddler! By letting them choose specific potty training supplies or helping them decorate their own rewards systems, you’re letting them buy into the idea that this is their journey, not a follow-the-rules exercise.
- Say goodbye to diapers. Transitioning them out of diapers will help you send the message that it’s time to do something new. Pull-Ups® training pants can be easily slid up and down by your child as they try to use the potty on their own.
- Choose easily removable clothes. Make training easier with outfits that are easy for your child to get on and off for the more urgent bathroom trips.
- Show them the ropes. It’s hard to remember what it was like not knowing how to go to the bathroom. But your child needs you to show them! Model the actions involved and help them practice.
- Beware the flush. Especially in the beginning, the flushing noise can be really scary for toddlers. Try explaining to them what the flush will do and sound like before it happens, and make it sound fun with the toilet contents “swirling and dancing before they go away.”
Make it Fun and Motivating
- Make potty training FUN! Keep your toddler motivated by celebrating milestones throughout the journey with all kinds of praise and encouragement.
- Find engaging activities and interactive games. There’s nothing better than playing and learning at the same time! Engaging your child in potty training activities like crafts and games can get your toddler interested in potty training and keep their attention and excitement as they go.
- Choose your words thoughtfully. What you say can have a big effect. Match the praise you give your child to your child’s personality, so it motivates your toddler more.
- Reward success. Which potty training rewards you should use depends on what your child responds to best. Whether it be treats, small toys, sticker charts or calls from your child’s favorite Disney character, you’ll find ways you and your little one can celebrate and take pride in this important achievement together.
Overcome the Obstacles
- Stay consistent. Know that your child may have some on-again, off-again success, but you can help your child by being consistent. Switching back and forth between diapers and training pants can be confusing, so stick to a routine with similar words and surroundings until the process sticks.
- Refresh the fun. Be sure to keep your ideas for fun potty training new and exciting. While stickers might keep your child engaged in week one, they might not be as enticing a few months later. With the average potty training journey taking about eight months, there’s a good chance you’ll need to switch it up a bit. Try a new game or offer a new reward.
- Keep a positive tone. It’s natural to get frustrated, but take deep breaths when you need them, have patience and keep things positive even when your child refuses to use the potty or has several accidents. This will help your toddler stay motivated on the journey as well.
- Get out of a rut. If your child is losing interest, try changing it up with a different approach or new incentives. Take a moment to double-check that your child is truly ready to potty train.
- Take a break when needed. Potty training is not linear, and setbacks are normal. If you are getting into power struggles while potty training a stubborn toddler, it might be a signal to take a break and try again when your child is less resistant.
- Recognize regression. If your child was doing well but has started having accidents again, check for the common triggers of potty training regression like constipation or changes in routine, and try these tips for potty training regression for getting your toddler back on track.
- Get the facts about nighttime potty training. It may be frustrating to hear, but staying dry at night is something your child must grow into — you can’t teach your child how to stay dry at night. Do your best to establish a healthy bedtime routine, and consider using Pull-Ups® Night*Time training pants for extra absorption just in case. They’ll help keep the bed dry while your child naturally develops.
- Reach out for advice. You don’t have to figure this out on your own! Between your pediatrician, other parents, and legitimate online sources, you are surrounded by potty training resources that can help you find the best way to potty train your toddler.