Step 1 of Potty Training: Introducing Your Toddler to the Toilet

When I taught preschool I would have many parents come to me and ask for potty training tips.

My classroom was the Early Preschool - so the class that the children go to after they have been potty trained. Usually they were all around 2 and a half when they joined the class and 3 and a half when they moved up to the next one.

Besides teaching early preschool I have also taught twos. Not for very long, because that class is next level challenging - but I taught it long enough to learn a few things about potty training!

A lot of the questions parents would ask me would regard their children having accidents a lot after being thought to be potty proficient, and some parents would have concerns that their children were getting “too old” to be in diapers. Even though I do believe there is an age to be “too old” in diapers, I do think most children should be potty trained when they are ready.

From my experience, children who are rushed into being potty trained before they are ready typically take longer to potty train and have regressions once they are.

I noticed most of the time children have a regression, it is simply because they either do not understand the concept or they are afraid of the toilet.

It is so important to go about potty training the right way so you can have a child who is potty proficient and proud of themselves!

My first tip for potty training is to look for signs that your child is ready. Try to notice if your child is intrigued by you going potty on the toilet and see if they have a fascination with flushing the toilet - or even toilet paper! Look for ways to get them interested in the toilet once you see that they are “letting you know” that they are ready.

When my daughter Izzy started expressing interest in potty training I was caught a little off guard. At only 16 months I wondered if she even knew the concept of what the toilet was or going potty was. She has always hated diaper changes so I figured I may as well let her sit on the potty if she wants.

So one day I came home with one of those little seats that goes on the toilet. I would say the exact one - but I am not a huge fan of it and plan on getting a different one later. When I brought it home I went to the bathroom and Izzy followed me in.

My second tip for potty training is to let your child watch you. It is a little awkward but they will learn what “potty” is much faster!

After I finished going to the bathroom, I put her little seat on the toilet and asked her if she wanted to sit. She said yes so I put her on it. She was absolutely terrified and clung to me!

I think most children are afraid of the toilet when they first sit. It’s a weird seat with a hole in the middle and they feel like they are going to fall in.

My third tip for potty training is to buy a seat that goes on the toilet instead of a mini-toilet. You want them to feel comfortable on a “big toilet” for when they are potty trained and you go out places and can’t bring your mini-toilet!

So what we did was we gave her lots of praise - and I even gave her little peanut butter chips while she was sitting on the toilet. So slowly she learned to associate sitting on the toilet with being a good thing.

My fourth tip for potty training is to definitely give a lot of positive reinforcement for showing interest in the toilet and for sitting on it! You will praise them for sitting, then it will turn into them staying on the toilet for longer, and then it will turn into them wiping themselves, and eventually you will praise them for going potty!

And don’t worry - her privates are completely covered in this picture!

And don’t worry - her privates are completely covered in this picture!

Then, she started asking to sit at least five times every day. She still hasn’t gone potty - but I really don’t expect her to anytime soon. I taught her to say “wipe” when she is ready for toilet paper and I even taught her to wipe herself! During her diaper changes she even wants to help wipe, too!

Then when she is done I help her off and she says “bye bye” to the water in the toilet and we flush the toilet together (she hasn’t quite grasped the concept of how to flush).

So here we are, Izzy is 16 months and only a week and a half in to our journey to potty proficiency - and she is already asking to sit, sitting for a while, wiping herself, and helping flush!

But I don’t want anyone to think that this is the “norm”.

Every child is ready at different times. There is no right time to be potty trained or amouny of time it takes. Just go about it the right way - when your child is ready!