Skip to Content

Essential Guide to Potty Training

How it Should be Done

First and foremost, few items need to be bought before you start the potty training.

Here is the list of things you’ll need while training your child:

1 – A good Potty training Chair

Most of the parents think that all potty chairs are same, but they need to realize that what may work for some kid, might not work for yours.

There are potty chairs of different material and styles in the market and you should know which one would suit your child the best.

There are majorly two types of designs whose pros and cons are discussed as below:

Free Toddler-sized Potty chair

You need a portable system so that you can go anywhere without hesitation. If your child has the urge to relieve him or herself, this lightweight potty chair can be used easily anywhere.

It is made so for easy carrying and handling. There are no risks for your child playing or falling into water since it doesn’t contain water-carrying system.

It is small in size, so easy to use by the kid.

The later transition might shock your kid. Also, due to absence of flushing system you have to clean the waste containing bowl separately every time your kid has relieved, adding up to the hassle.

It takes more space and if you decide to buy more than one for the ease of your child, the house can get cluttered easily.

Despite being portable, it is not easy to carry for long journeys.

Potty Seat

A toddler sized seat that can be fitted on a normal toilet seat. Since we are using the real toilet here, the kid will get accustomed to it from the start. The toddler-sized seat ensures that his or her butt fits perfectly on the seat.

It doesn’t clutter and is very easy to carry compared to a potty chair; it is just a seat. It can be attached to real toilets easily so you don’t have to worry about finding a place to open up the whole potty chair ensemble.

Best thing, since in the end real toilet is being used, there is no issue of cleaning up afterwards. Everything gets flushed down.

But you have to be extra cautious while using the seat, as the child might try to put his or her leg inside water. Also, some kids might get scared by the height of the real toilet and refuse to climb up to it.

Every time someone else has to use the toilet, the seat needs to be removed which is an extra effort.

Choose the type of design according to the nature of your children. If they are afraid of falling in the water, a free potty chair with no water requirement can be used.

Slowly a shift can be made to toddler sized seat for giving them the real toilet experience. The best option would be to use the chair in the starting stage and shift to the toddler sized seat before transitioning to the real toilet.

It is better to buy a chair with a detachable seat so that there is no need for buying a seat later.

The material of the potty chair should be durable. It should have a high back so that the children can sit comfortably.

They should be able to place their butts on the chair and it should not be loose. If the chair can be converted into a step stool, it is a bonus for later stages when children need one to climb on the real toilet.

2 – Right clothing

Comfortable clothing for training will make it go smoother. Have a set of light material cotton pants that can be pulled up and down easily.

Ditch one piece like overalls or onesies because the kids might find it difficult to remove the entire clothing. Avoid clothes containing buckles and belts while training, kids might be able to handle them well, but during training they will hinder the actions and at times when there is a sudden urge to relieve, the kid may not able to control.

Waterproof training suits are also available which will make the training less messy. They have thick padded crotch if your kid dirties them during the training. But some kids might not like the bulk from the extra material at their crotch area.

3 – Accessories

Try to use a picture book or a storybook stand or some other entertainment source, for the child while he/ she sits on the potty. This will help them remain distracted and not feel like it is a military style of training.

You can use picture books for illustrative purposes and nothing like a touch and feel book to help them learn fast. You can also buy them special “potty training toys” that are available these days.

The toys literally have a small potty with a little plastic poop inside and flushing it makes the poop disappear. They will also have mini soap dispensers that will help your child understand the importance of washing their hands after every session.

Girls will take a liking to dolls that actually poop out plastic bits and they will understand it is important to clean the butt after elimination.

Proper Steps to Potty Training

After learning the basics of potty training, we will now learn the steps required to be followed.

1 – Familiarize

Introduce your child to the potty chair first. Make the session more interactive and refer to the chair as a “friend” of the child that will help him or her be like mommy and daddy.

Explain the anatomy of chair in as simple language as possible and using more of the demo techniques.

For example: Make the child sit on the chair with his or her pants down and explain it as the first step of using a potty chair.

Some parents place a doll on the chair first and tell their children to copy since they are good at copying. Break down the instructions to make them simple for the child.

2 – Lead

The child should be properly guided when the potty chair should be used. In the initial stages, when the child is still using cloth diapers, take him or her to the chair the next time you find the diaper dirty.

Tell that whenever he or she feels like now the diaper is going to get dirty, it is time to go to the potty chair. When the child is seated on the chair use a definite set of words like, “Poopy time” or “It’s time to pee” so that he or she gets the signal to defecate.

3 – Encourage

It has already been mentioned that kids are good at copying actions. Sometimes, run in front of them to the toilet shouting “Poopy time”. Make those uncomfortable expressions that are generally made while holding your bladder.

Children will get the cue that the next time their bladder feels uncomfortable, they have to use the potty chair. Place the chair near the normal toilet in bathroom and while they are on the chair, sit on the normal toilet seat besides them so that they are encouraged.

Award them with small treats, when they do a step right. But it should be in a limit otherwise they will only do it when offered gifts.

4 – Precaution

Try not to leave your children alone on the potty chair, at least in the initial stages. Children are curious at this stage and might want to experiment or play with poop or themselves.

If they try to do so, stop them that very moment by using same signal word always like “Bad” or “No”. This way they will realize that they are doing a wrong thing without you being very harsh.

5 – Transition

After your children are fairly comfortable with using the training chair, make a slow transition to the real toilet.

Make sure they are able to use the training chair without any assistance and without being clumsy before you take this step.

Tell them a few days before transitioning that soon they will use the big and the better chair, this way they will be mentally prepared and excited for the transition.

6 – Flushing

Potty chairs don’t have the flushing mechanism; you need to introduce it as an entirely new step while transitioning. Tell your children its importance from a child point of view.

Say things like “Poopoo smells bad” which will make them understand why flushing every time they poop is required. Disable automatic flush because this might scare them and they will hesitate to use the toilet.

7 – Cleaning

Keep mini tissue paper rolls besides the potty chair from the initial stages of training. Keep telling your children its importance even if they don’t use it to begin with, this way they will not be surprised and will not refuse to use toilet paper later.

Even when they start using toilet paper, the parent should wipe their butts in the initial stages so that the kids understand that it’s the norm.

Teach them later to do it themselves, if they forget, show them the spoiled pants and tell them it’s a bad thing.

They will require your assistance while using the handgun; also loosen it a bit for ease in handling. Keep soaps with attractive designs in bathroom so that they make sure to clean their hands afterwards.

8 – Supervise

It is important to keep an eye on children during the training and even after that for some time. Later, they will require privacy but don’t completely close the door and tell them beforehand to shout for help if anything happens or they are stuck.

Check their butts and hands properly and if you see that they are not clean, wash them and instruct them at the same time or make them wash before you.

Potty Training Mistakes committed by Parents

While potty training appears fairly a simple task by going through its instructions, in reality a lot of people commit lot of mistakes during the training.

These mistakes might seem small in nature but they can delay the training results or make your child resistant to training. Let us go through these mistakes one by one.

Mistake 1 – Starting the training at wrong age

Age definitely plays a big role in training results and some parents don’t take this fact seriously. If you want proper performance from your child, do not start the training too early.

They need to be ready for it or else it will be just a stressful activity for them. They might also develop a fear for the training and refuse to undergo it at their proper age if forced in starting.

It was already explained that you need to look for signs that the child is ready to be trained and not force him or her to undergo training simply because they have started walking.

Mistake 2 – Rushing the training

Potty training works at its own pace for every child and there is no fixed duration for obtaining the results. If you try to hurry it, it might backfire and make your child never leave diapers.

Some children quickly adjust to it; others take longer. You do not need to compare your child with others because it is not a competition. This is a useful habit which is going to stay with your child lifelong so let the child deal with it in their own time.

The worst thing to do would be to show disappointment in your child. He or she might be young but children are capable of understanding things well enough.

You might end up upsetting them and force them to grow averse towards potty training.

Mistake 3 – Not giving your time to the training

Potty training is a milestone for the child yet parents tend to take it lightly and let anyone do it. If the child trusts you and is close to you, train them yourself.

Children feel uncomfortable getting naked in front of others and might feel embarrassed during accidents that can harm their self-confidence.

If their confidence is lowered below a certain point, they might develop self-esteem issues at later stages. Not all children are upright bold who can tell people their problems easily.

If it is an introvert child, they will face a hard time conveying their feelings to the trainer regarding the training. Also during the training, try to keep the distractions at the minimum level.

It is hard for children to retain every instruction at such a young age. Having so many distractions will confuse them further and they will forget the potty using steps again and again.

Mistake 4 – Shifting to underpants right after the training

Many parents immediately make their children wear underpants or underwear after the completion of training. It is best to wait for at least a month or so before your child can start wearing any undergarment.

They can again become relaxed and forget their training if they are made to wear undergarments so early. They will consider it as a substitute to diapers and this will start causing accidents.

You must first make them wear it for a day and keep an eye on them. It is best that you wait for at least a month before you decide to make them wear the pants while sleeping.

Mistake 5 – Punishing your child during the training

Training is not meant for punishing the child but some parents forget this fact while training their child. We do not want your child to dread the training and they will do so if you make it appear like a jail activity to them.

They will have a lot of accidents during and even after the training but you should not lose your temper in those moments. It might not seem so but your child observes your every activity very carefully.

If they sense anger and frustration in your temper a lot of times, they will get discouraged and this will hinder their progress. Your child might also become short tempered in future and abusive in nature if exposed to too much punishment.

Do not scar your child. We want their betterment, not harm them.

Mistake 6 – Training at inappropriate time

The duration of training is important but so is the time when it takes place. Parents do not consider the timing of the training as an important factor but it is one of the very important parameters.

The environment of the training area affects the performance of the child. If there is a stressful environment, the child will not be able to focus on training.

Do not start the training when a big change is occurring in the child’s life.

Shifting to a new house, admission to pre-school or a daycare, addition of a new family member; all these factors might surprise your child a lot. It is hard enough for them to deal with these changes so starting the training at this stage will not help them at all.

So try and plan everything in advance. It pays to be a little prepared especially if it is for the good of your own child.

Plan everything in advance and don’t assume things to fall in place without having a set schedule to follow.

Mistake 7 – Expecting too much from the child

Potty training has several steps and your child might not successfully complete all of the in one go. Expecting too much from them will only stress them to perform better leading to more accidents.

From removing clothes to washing hands, there are a lot of steps that are involved while using the potty. The child might not pick up all of them at the same time and it is perfectly normal. Focus on the current achievement of your child and work on the remaining areas slowly.

They are children after all and for them even the simple action of using potty-chair is equivalent to heavy multi tasking.

Wait patiently for them to pick up every step.

Mistake 8 – Using same potty training methods

Not every child will be able to learn through the same kind of training. From the equipment to methods, they can be quite different from each other and you will have to adjust accordingly.

For instance there are significant differences in training a girl and a boy which we will learn later in this book.

Try different types of potty chairs and different types of methods until and unless your child gets comfortable with the training.

Don’t think the same training methods will work for siblings.

You have to make use of techniques that the child is comfortable with and recycling the training methods might not always be the best choice for you and your child.

How to Tell if You Started the Training TOO EARLY

We discussed the symptoms shown by children when they are ready for the training. But some parents, especially the first timers are not able to recognize these symptoms.

They start the training when they feel is the right time and are not able to understand their child’s response to it. For such cases we will look at the situation from different perspective.

If you have started the training for sometime but notice the below signs, chances are you might need to stop the training for a while

Not able to sit on the chair comfortably

The first step for a successful training is to get comfortable with the potty chair. If your child is not even able to sit on the chair seat, there is no way they can learn to use it properly.

They will not be able to place their butt correctly on the seat or not be able to aim properly while urinating. The seat might be hard for them and they might consider it as an alien object.

Remember that young children are quite impressionable and if they start to dislike something then they will hate it for life. So don’t cause them to hate the potty seat and give them enough time to adjust to it at their own pace.

Not being able to understand the commands

Chances are that the child does not get your commands at all. By demonstrating in front of them you might have made them able to copy your steps.

There is a difference in just imitating the steps and understanding the logic behind them. Though demonstration is one of the best used methods for potty training, it is not required in the later stages.

If your child is not able to use the potty at all without being demonstrated every time even in later stages, they do not understand the steps at all.

Give sometime to the child for mental development and you can start the training again.

Scared of the potty chair

To your child, a potty chair is a new unknown thing and they will hesitate before using it. But if the child is getting too scared of the chair not matter how much you try to make it look attractive, they might be too young to understand the training.

Young children can be lured to attractive things with some effort but very young children remain apprehensive even with lots of efforts. Their minds are not developed to comprehend every situation and any type of new entry would be considered as a harmful thing.

You have to especially be careful about the flush. It can make a scary sound, which might scare the wits out of your young child. You can ask a plumber to help reduce the sound that your commode makes and help your child adjust to the sound it at his or her own pace.