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How to Potty Train a Toddler

There are a variety of potty training methods out there and everyone you seem to talk to probably tells you something different. You want to take their suggestions into account, but also realize that what works for one family might not work for yours. To get your toddler potty trained start with the basics that every parent should utilize, then you can deviate and add your own personal touches when necessary. Watch our potty training video for more information.

Basics of How to Potty Train a Toddler

To make the potty training process as smooth as possible you'll want to follow some basic rules. Below are some steps you should implement into your child's potty training process:

  • Wait. This can't be stressed enough, wait until your child is ready. Some children develop the skills to potty train between 18 to 24 months, while others aren't ready until 3 or even 4 years old. You'll need to assess your child's physical, cognitive and behavioral signs to ensure their readiness. Also, if you decide to start and there's no success after three months, you may want to consider pulling the plug and giving your child more of a chance to prepare.
  • Plan ahead. Before you begin the potty training process you'll want to devise a plan. Set goals for yourself, "We'll start planning this day…," "When my toddler has an accident I will…," and "When this happens…, I'll back off." These are some questions you need to answer for yourself before the process begins so you can stick to your original plan.
  • Be flexible. It's important to have a plan, but it's also important to be flexible with it. This is where you can add in those "personal touches" or the secrets you heard about from other mothers.
  • Take a breath. Tackling potty training can be a long process and you don't want to rush your child through it any faster than they're ready to go. Your child will move from one stage to the next on their own time.
  • Praise. Encourage and support your child throughout the potty training process. You might want to consider setting up a potty training chart and allowing your child to put stickers on the days that they successfully used the bathroom. At the end of a successful week you and your child can go on a shopping trip for new "big kid" underwear.
  • Accidents are inevitable. It's normal for your toddler to have accidents throughout the potty training process. You need to accept them for what they are, accidents, and move on. Don't make your child feel guilty about a slip-up because you're likely to discourage them and add unnecessary pressure.

Take Potty Training for What It Is

Potty training will only go by quicker if you keep a positive attitude throughout the process and make it fun for your child. It's an important part of growing up so don't rush your child through it. Remember, dreading the process and pushing your child will only make it last longer.