Potty Training 101

Oh, boy, this is the third time today where you had to put a diaper back on your child? Do you find yourself asking where your child went, only to find them huddled in a corner somewhere with a look of determination on their face?

If so, then it may be time to potty train!


What other signs that your child may be ready to use the potty?

Aside from what was mentioned above, your child will need to be able to:


-walk to and sit on a potty


-pull up and down their pants


-be able to follow simple directions


-be able to communicate when they have to go and are dry when they wake up sleeping


-seem interested in wearing big kid underwear


Typically, toddlers are ready for potty training between 18 and 24 months, but some children don’t get the full hang of it until later (speaking from experience). There are a handful of ways that are around to help potty train your child; lets go from quickest to longest (at least theoretically)



The No Underwear Method

Okay, so this may be the quickest, but it’s also the messiest. This method works best when your child has a “tell” when they have to go, that way you can catch them before they go. Essentially, you allow your child to roam the home without a diaper or underwear. If they have an accident, don’t make a big deal out of it, just clean it up and move on; besides you’re the one who had them go without any protection on their bottoms. This method is also ideal for a three day weekend at home.

This method teaches your child how to recognize their body’s cues and go to the potty. When a child wears a diaper or a pull-up they may not be aware that they have gone potty, as the goal of the diaper/pull-up is to pull the wetness away from the body to keep the skin dry. When parents remove the diaper/pull-up children have an immediate reaction when they do go potty.


Downfalls of the no underwear method

-There will be messes, so be prepared

-Staying home all day for several days may not be feasible for some families

-Parents have to be proactive and attentive to their children to catch them before accidents happen


1-Day Method

The one day method may sound great, but it requires a strict schedule of taking your child to the potty every 15 minutes and parents check the diaper/pull-up every 5 minutes to ensure that it remains dry. When a child successfully goes to the potty, parents verbally praise their child. If the child soils themselves, parents have the child change themselves (within the child’s capabilities).

This method works well for an already independent child who strives for their parent’s praise.


Downfalls of the 1-day method

-This method is very strict and may not be feasible for some families to dedicate an entire day to stop what they’re doing every few minutes to check their child’s diaper.

-Some children may not have the physical ability to change or clean themselves up.


3-Day Method

The 3-day method is a popular method for families; it combines the No Underwear Method with the 1-day method. Parents have the option of having their child wear nothing, or the child can wear training underwear (underwear that have additional cloth padding to aid in absorption) so they can get used to wearing big kid underwear. Parents then encourage their child to use the potty by giving their child extra fluids, so they gets the urge to go more frequently.

Parents then create a potty routine; setting a timer for every 20-30 minutes, when their child wakes up in the morning or from naps, before and after snack/meal times.


Downfalls of the 3-day method

-Families could be cleaning up several messes throughout the day if they choose to go without underwear

-If families choose to have their child wear underwear they’ll have more laundry to do


General Tips

-If your child hasn’t gotten the hang of potty training after several days; they’re still having accidents or don’t seem to have a reaction or let you know when they have gone potty, they may not be ready to be potty trained.


-If you’re using a potty chair, place it in a convenient location where your child can see it.


-Use a potty schedule.


-If your child does well with positive praise you can use a potty sticker chart for every time they go potty in the toilet.


-Make it fun; you can create a potty song about going potty and when happens when they go potty. It may also help to narrate what your child is supposed to do when they go potty.


-Read a potty book to your child while they are on the potty.


-Train by example, some children learn by watching. If you’re comfortable, you can take your child to the bathroom with you when you go. Have them sit on their potty while you do your business.


-Get creative; use toilet bowl cleaner, when your child goes pee the color will change from blue to green. You can use dish soap in the toilet; when your child goes they’ll see bubbles. For boys who are learning to stand to pee, you can use cheerios or Froot Loops as target practice.


-Don’t focus on the accidents, when your child does have the inevitable accident; reassure your child that accidents will happen and that they can try again.


-Regression is real and normal, especially if there is a new baby around.



Some kids take to using the potty like a duck to water, but others it can take time to figure out their bodies and to get comfortable using the potty, and that’s okay. Try to remain consistent and stay calm. If you are concerned about your child not using the potty or if you feel they are having difficulties using the potty, consult your child’s doctor for additional guidance.