If you’re a parent who’s potty training their little one, this post is for you. We’ll go over the basics of potty training and answer some frequently asked questions. By the end of this post, you’ll be armed with all the knowledge you need to get started on this messy but rewarding journey. So let’s dive in! Just keep in mind, there is no one-size-fits-all method. These are merely tips to assist you in working with this big stage in your child’s young life.

According to Cara Goodwin, Ph.D., a licensed, clinical psychologist in her article entitled “An Evidence-Based Approach to Potty Training” in PsychologyToday.com, states that research shows there is no “right way” to toilet train a child. The article outlines 4 concerns for parents considering methods for toilet training. It is likely you have had some of these questions yourself. Since these points are of interest to parents and caregivers, we will review each and then come up with some suggestions of our own.

  1. When is the best time to start toilet training?
  2. What is the most effective method for toilet training?
  3. Why do some children struggle with toilet training? What might predict whether your child will have difficulty with toilet training?
  4. What about nighttime toilet training?

The basics of potty training – what it is, when to start, etc.

Child Using a Potty Chair in Potty Training 101

Potty training is an inevitable milestone for all little ones, and it can be a daunting prospect for any parent or caretaker. According to Goodwin’s article, the best time seems to be between the ages of 27 and 32 months. It’s important to keep in mind that potty training isn’t a race – every child develops at their own pace and is ready when the time comes.

Potty training is much easier when your child has the right tools! We recommend having a potty chair, step stool, toilet seat adapter, and training pants for that in-between stage. Also, consider investing in flushable liners and wipes that are specifically designed for potty-training purposes. And don’t forget rewards such as stickers or special treats can be great motivators for toilet-training success.

Generally speaking, most children are potty trained by age three or four. In order to potty train successfully, parents should start with: Identifying when their child needs to go potty, praise, and reward after their successes to help encourage good behavior, and offering lots of patience along the way! Most importantly, potty training should never involve punishment – just stay calm and have fun with it!

What is the most effective method for toilet training?

Again, Cara Goodwin’s article suggests two effective methods.

  1. The Child-Oriented method by T. Berry Brazelton, “A CHILD-ORIENTED APPROACH TO TOILET TRAINING” in the online American Academy of Pediatrics (https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics). It appears that Dr. Brazelton’s work has stood the test of time. This method is driven by the child’s interest and willingness to comply.
  2. The second is a method outlined by R.M. Foxx and N.H. Azrin in ScienceDirect.com entitled, “Dry pants: A rapid method of toilet training children“, a 16-point method devoted to shortening the traditional training time. For more information, check out their article.

One of the most effective methods for toilet training is the reward system. This involves rewarding positive potty behavior with small rewards such as stickers, treats, or other tangible objects that your child will enjoy. Be sure to praise them each time they use the bathroom correctly and make it a fun experience. You can also use activities such as reading books or playing a game as a reward for going to the bathroom. It’s also important to remember that potty training will take time and be patient with your child – it’s a learning process! Don’t forget to provide lots of positive reinforcement when they do something right.

Why do some children struggle with toilet training? What might predict whether your child will have difficulty with toilet training?

Some of the reasons why some children may have difficulty with toilet training include developmental delays, physical handicaps, emotional issues, or even fear of using a new potty. Other factors such as not having had enough exposure to bathroom habits, lack of proper instruction, or too much pressure from parents can also contribute to potty-training difficulties. However, Cara Goodwin also acknowledges that “only 40 to 60 percent of children are fully toilet trained by 36 months. So, if your child is struggling with toilet training, know that you are not alone!” There is also research that suggests that boys may have more difficulty with toilet training than girls as well as beginning training at an older age (after three).

What about nighttime toilet training?

Nighttime toilet training can be tricky as it’s more difficult for the child to feel a full bladder at night. According to this article by the Mayo Clinic Staff: “Potty training: How to get the job done“, “Nap time and nighttime training typically takes longer to achieve. Most children can stay dry at night between ages 5 and 7.” Stay consistent and keep an eye on your child’s sleep patterns. Look out for signs of when they need to go such as restlessness and wake them up if necessary.

Additionally, it is important to set a night-time routine for your child. Get them into the habit of going to the bathroom at night before they go to bed. When nighttime toilet training is done correctly, children can learn to be dry at night. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, most children can achieve nighttime toilet training by the age of five or six.

Tips for making potty training easier on both you and your child

Potty training can sometimes be a challenging process for both you and your little one, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are a few tips that will make potty training made easier.

  1. Patience is key – potty training won’t happen overnight. Don’t focus on the time frame, just enjoy the journey with your child!
  2. Set clear expectations of what you want them to do but remember there will likely still be accidents.
  3. Offer positive reinforcement when they get it right and show lots of love and encouragement when they experience setbacks.
  4. Another key aspect is having potty breaks throughout the day. Every two hours or so, have your child take some time to pop into the bathroom. Even if they don’t actually use it during that time they will start making a connection. Your child might also benefit from using a potty training aid such as an alarm that sounds when it’s time to try to go.
  5. Lastly, reward their success using a potty progress chart or sticker book. With these tips, your potty training days should soon become much smoother!

Common mistakes parents make when potty training

Scolding a child during potty training.

Common mistakes that parents make include making toilet training into a battle with their child and being too lax. If the parent sets the expectation from the beginning, then everybody will have an easier time. On the other hand, if there is too much pressure imposed, it can be unfair and counterproductive as well. Scolding your child is only likely to delay your desired outcome. It’s best to find a balance between firm expectations and gentle encouragement. This lets your little one knows they have all your support in making this transition.

Troubleshooting common problems that come up

Toilet training is an essential part of parenting and can be daunting for some. But troubleshooting those common troubles is easier than you think.

Assess the problem

Start by assessing the problem and seeing if addressing simple solutions like ensuring your child eats at the same time each day can help you troubleshoot any resistance to the toilet.

Are there specific activities or environments that make potty time difficult? Make sure other family members are patient and understanding with your little one as well; sometimes it just takes longer for some than others.

Be Consistent

Be consistent about bathroom habits, offer rewards for success, and above all, keep a positive attitude! With a little bit of troubleshooting, everyone will be thriving soon enough!

The importance of patience and consistency when potty training. Patience and consistency have always been key to successful toilet training. It is hard for little ones to master this developmental milestone, so patience from adults is essential in encouraging those little potty trainers!

Hold Off on Trying New Strategies

As tempting as it may be to try new strategies for rushed results, patience will pay off in the long run. Consistency is also important; bribing or punishing your child can confuse them! Model patience, and stick to rewards that are meaningful and frequently praised to help keep your toddler focused on the task at hand.

Patience is the Key

Taking the time and patience to potty train your little one will be so worth it! Not only do you want a clean, dry kid but they’re also oh so proud of themselves when they get it right. If you take your time, take note of your child’s cues, reward and praise often, stay away from punishment or negative reinforcement, remember the common mistakes to avoid making, and keep troubleshooting any issues that arise – potty training won’t seem quite so daunting.

Potty Training 101

This journey can bring stress on both the parent and child so make sure to take some extra deep breaths throughout! It will all be worth it in the end – take time for potty training encouragement with love. If you have successfully ventured through the potty training journey with your toddler let us know about some of your successes in the comments below. Thank you for sharing your tips with other parents! Until then – happy potty training everyone!