Early Childhood Development

4 Potty Training Tips for Toddlers (and Parents Hoping to Survive)

Early Childhood Development | July 27, 2018

Let’s face it: Potty training is tough. For many parents, trying to help their children transition from diapers to “big boy or big girl” pants is similar to the first few sleepless weeks after birth. You may find yourself asking, “Will this ever end?”

At The Gardner School, we want to be proactive about partnering with parents to make it an easy transition for everyone involved. While each child is different, there are several tips we encourage parents to consider to make the potty training transition process a little easier.

4 Potty Training Tips for Toddlers (and Parents Hoping to Survive)

Here are a few tips we share with parents who are experiencing the “ups” and “oops” of potty training with their toddlers:

1. Look for signs your child is ready. 

Most children begin potty training between 18 and 24 months, but every child is different. It’s important to watch your child for signs of readiness rather than using age as the primary driver.

Here are some signs your child might be ready to begin the potty training process:

  • They begin to put things where they belong.
  • They can demonstrate independence by saying, “no.”
  • They can imitate parents or siblings and sit quietly in one position for 2-5 minutes.
  • They can express interest in toilet training (e.g., following you to the bathroom).
  • They are able to pull clothes up and down (and on or off).
  • They can communicate the need or activity of going to the bathroom.

If your child has met these milestones, it may be time to work on toilet training.

2. Break the process down into different milestones.

Parents can quickly get frustrated when they expect children to start using the toilet constantly right away. Rather than trying to accomplish potty training in a week, set weekly milestones based on their readiness. For example, you might want to encourage your child when they share they’ve used the bathroom in their diaper. Next, work on milestones like pulling up pants on their own. Potty training is a process, and patience is a virtue.

3. Be consistent with your timing and routine.

Routine is important for helping children grow and develop. This is just as true for potty training as it is for anything else. Establish a routine, and try to be consistent. Whatever you do at home with your potty training plan, you should also do elsewhere. While our schools might not always be able to follow a customized potty training plan for each child, we do work closely with parents to keep to their child’s routine as closely as possible.

4. Celebrate along the way.

Whatever specific potty training plan you choose, it’s important to celebrate along the way. Whether you celebrate with a sticker chart or new toy, also consider making your reaction the big motivator. Make it a big deal the first time your little one uses the bathroom on their own. Praise all attempts to use the toilet, even if nothing happens. And, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for helping to teach your child another step in the journey of growing up!

You Don’t Have to Fight the Battle Alone

Remember, you’re not alone in the potty training endeavor, and don’t get frustrated if things are taking a long time. Supporting parents with potty training is just one of the ways we try to support parents of infants and toddlers. To learn more about The Gardner School and the advantages of an academic preschool, visit our website or schedule a tour today!