Skip to main content

These potty training tips will save your sanity

Helpful tips every parent needs to know

Toddler with stuffed bear on potty training seat.
Tomsickova Tatyana / Shutterstock

The price of diapers alone is enough to make a parent wonder when their child will be potty trained. But when it comes time to teach your little one how to use the bathroom like a big kid, it could feel like an overwhelming task. This is a huge milestone for both of you, and if you need a little help getting through it, here are the best potty training tips to have handy.

Before potty training starts, keep a few things in mind

Potty-training toddler.
Bartosz Budrewicz / Shutterstock

Potty training begins before you ever put your little one on the toilet. Parents, you need to be in the best headspace so the first training session doesn’t end with everyone in tears on the bathroom floor.

Parents need patience

There will be setbacks. There might be wet pants, wet beds, or soiled underwear. As the parent and adult, you need to have patience. This is a big transition for your child, and they need a parent who will help them at every step without judgment.

Parents shouldn’t force potty training

Each child is different and goes at their own pace. If you try to force your child to potty train before they’re ready, you could cause emotional damage and scare them from wanting to learn.

Don’t forget to let everyone know training is happening

Once you decide to start toilet training, let anyone who would be helping know. If your child goes to daycare, stays at a relative’s house, or someone other than you watches them, talk with those people about the routine. Potty training will not happen without everyone being on the same page. 

These are the best potty training tips 

A toddler potty training with doll.

Once everyone is ready to start toilet training, work through these tips to make sure teaching a little human a new life skill goes as smoothly as possible.

Explain while you go

Your child follows you to the bathroom every time anyway, so you might as well make it a learning experience. Explain what you do while going to the bathroom step by step and answer any questions. Some of us are visual learners.

Find a seat your child likes

If your child doesn’t fit on the toilet yet, you’ll need assistance. Whether you use a potty-training toilet or a training seat that goes on the regular toilet, let your child have a say in which one they want to use. The more you involve them, the more comfortable they will feel about using it.

Have set times to try to go

Until your child understands what the feeling to go means, have a set schedule for them to try to go. Times like when they wake up and before they go to bed, but also before and after meals and naps. Talk with your child about what their stomach feels like on the times they do go and how that’s different from when they don’t go.

Don’t put them in complicated clothes while training

Overalls on toddlers are so adorable — but good luck getting those off in time for the bathroom for a child on their second day of toilet training. Easy, loose-fitting clothing your child can pull up and down on their own is best. No snaps, buttons, zippers, or anything complicated. If you could even let your child be down to underwear until training is over, that would be great.

Be positive and use praise

Whether your child has an accident, doesn’t tell you in time to get to the toilet, or any other setback happens, only respond in a positive way. You don’t want to attach shame to having to go to the bathroom. Make sure to use praise for any step your child has while potty training — even if they don’t go, but they tried — but make sure you praise correctly. Let your child know they should be proud of themselves. Build up the confidence your child needs to tackle toilet training by letting them know they are the ones doing a great job.

Let your child bring a book or toy

Yes, we still take our phones to the bathroom, so we should give the child something while they go. Give them their favorite book or fidget toy to help keep them calm and to help with constipation or stage fright.

If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help

Go to the pediatrician if you and your child are just not getting it when it comes to potty training. They should have tips or advice for your specific situation. Don’t be too proud to ask for help — we all need it.

The whole process may take kids anywhere from a few days up to a few months to completely get the hang of it, so using these potty training tips will make it go by faster with fewer setbacks. Make the time enjoyable for your child so the transition between being a baby and a big kid is exciting for them. And remember, once they are potty trained, you can spend that diaper money on better coffee.

Editors' Recommendations

Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
Your questions answered – everything you need to know about baby-led weaning
Guide to this trending solid introduction method
Baby eating solids in a highchair

Feeding your newborn is pretty straightforward. They only need human milk or formula for the first six months of their life to thrive. Once your baby is ready to start trying new foods, things can get a bit more complicated.
Parents shift to making or buying purees as they begin to introduce their little ones to solid foods. Cue caregivers pretending a spoon is an airplane and feeding their little child some version of oatmeal or pureed peas and sweet potatoes. These days, some parents are taking a different approach and introducing solids straight away. It’s known as baby-led weaning.
What is baby-led weaning? The method, developed by former public health nurse Gill Rapley, involves adults giving babies solid foods in their natural form and allowing them baby to self-feed. If a parent makes spaghetti, meatballs, and broccoli for dinner, the baby will eat it, too. Proponents say it respects a baby’s independence and food autonomy and may reduce picky eating.
It can also be a ton of food. Here’s what to know about baby-led weaning.

When do I start baby-led weaning?

Read more
Can toddlers drink almond milk or other plant-based drinks?
How safe are milk alternatives for your toddler?
Toddler girl drinking milk through a straw while lying on the grass

Milk is an important part of the diet of toddlers. Milk, along with other fortified dairy products or soy beverages, plays an integral role in helping toddlers grow strong bones and teeth. Generally speaking,  milk helps your toddler's body grow. Almost all cow's milk has been fortified with calcium and vitamin D, crucial nutrients for your growing child. But what's a parent to do if they are vegan or have children who are allergic to cow's milk? These parents often wonder if their toddlers can have almond milk or other plant-based drinks as an adequate substitute for cow's milk.

With the recent increase in the popularity of plant-based drinks and almond milk, parents have been confused about whether their toddlers should be drinking these beverages instead of cow's milk. If you've been curious whether toddlers can drink almond milk or other plant-based drinks, this should help clear up any confusion.
Why is milk so important?

Read more
Why do babies growl? Understanding your little one’s weird sounds
We'll help you navigate this little animal stage with your baby
Mom holding her baby up to her face

There is no sweeter sound to a new parent than listening to their baby cooing and babbling. While you're waiting for those first words, those early squeals and giggles are simply delightful. With each sound, your little one is communicating with you even without saying their first official word. But have you ever sworn you've heard your baby sound more like an animal than a human? There are reasons why babies growl sometimes, and parents need the heads up.

If your baby has added growling to their language skills, you may be wondering why they chose to sound more feral than human. Turns out, it all depends on when and how they growl. Even though it might be unusual, it is pretty adorable to witness. Here’s how to decode why babies growl and what those noises mean.
Deciphering your baby's new sounds

Read more