It’s an exciting time when your little one begins to display the signs of being ready to transition from using diapers to using the toilet. But how can you tell when that time has arrived and how do you move forward when it has? Below are some tips to help caregivers make the leap from diaper to toilet.

Signs Your Child is Ready:

  • Your child is between the ages of 18 to 24 months. Please note that this is a general estimate and the age may differ slightly.
  • Their diaper remains dry for two or more hours.
  • They are able to understand and follow basic instructions.
  • Words like “potty,” “pee,” and “poop” make sense to them.
  • They understand the urge to pee and poop and connect these two things to the potty.
  • They are able to get on and off the toilet and successfully pull down and pull up their pants.
  • Your child shows an interest in using the potty.

Prepping for Toilet Training:

  • Use the correct language for the potty, such as “poop” and “pee.”
  • Express that using the toilet has benefits! This could mean talking with your child about how they will soon be just like mommy and daddy, using the toilet just like them.
  • Make sure that your little one is wearing clothing that is easy for them to pull up and down. You can figure out what works by having them practice during diaper changes.
  • Actions speak louder than words, so show your child how to use the toilet. This allows them to easily mimic potty expectations.
  • Help them recognize when they need to go to the bathroom. This can be as simple as asking them “Are you peeing right now?” to guide them to identify the urge.
  • Get a potty that works for them. Make sure they can easily sit down and get up.

Toilet Training Tips:

  • Praise your child whenever they sit on the toilet. They don’t have to actually go to the bathroom for it to be a training success!
  • Have your child sit on the toilet 15 to 30 minutes after a meal. This is a natural time for the urge to hit.
  • Do not force your child to use the toilet; if they are kicking and screaming as you place them on the potty, it probably won’t help them learn to use it.
  • Allow it to become part of each day. This means instead of insisting they use the toilet, weave it into your routine.
  • Use rewards, such as stickers, when they use the potty.

Take solace in that potty training is not a straight path for most caregivers. Children can use the toilet one day, then not use it the next. Times of stress or change in routine can also slow the process. But that’s life! Remember to be easy on yourself and your child. And if you need guidance, you can always reach out to your pediatrician.

Source – March 2019. “Toilet Training.” Accessed July 14, 2022.