Potty Training


Potty Training Process

Take Potty Training in Phases

Example Potty
Training Praise

Praising your child when he or she is successfull is very important. Some sayings you might try are, “I’m proud of you for going poo poo in your potty!” and “I’m happy because you remembered to wash your hands after you flushed the potty!”

The process should take between 7 and 9 weeks to complete. It is best if you break this down into phases. Expect each phase to last anywhere from 5 to 12 days. Don’t go too fast! Only move on to the next phase when your child is ready. If your child feels rushed he or she will be frustrated and reluctant, causing the process to take even longer. So take your time, show some patience and make sure to remember that it won't happen over night.

Phase Actions Move on when...
1. Establish a Routine
  • Introduce child to the potty by placing the potty casually in the bathroom.
  • Let your child notice the potty and ask you about it rather than telling them about it.
  • Let your child become familiar with the potty by having him sit on it with his clothes or diaper still on.
  • Set up a schedule and routine for bathroom time (call it “potty time”) at regular intervals during the day. Your child will probably not know how to tell time, but they will know sequences of events.
  • Continue to record urination patterns done in the child’s diaper which you started in pre-training
  • Your child feels comfortable with the act of sitting on the potty
  • You have established a loose schedule for potty visits.
2. Familiarize with the Potty
  • Remain consistent with the potty schedule you established earlier
  • Your child should practice sitting on the potty without clothes during one of your scheduled potty times (bath time is perfect for this, but you choose).
  • Your child may use the toilet during this stage, but they may not. Give praise if your child using the words you introduced during pre-training.
  • Don’t make a big deal and certainly don’t criticize for not making a product during this phase. It’s all still so new!
  • Use stickers for rewards as well.
  • Really practice potty routine, fine tune it, and make it stick!
  • You have followed the same potty schedule for at least three days in a row.
  • Your child can comfortably sit on the potty with their clothes off.
3. Wean from Diapers
  • Your child needs to have been successful several times at making product in the potty by this stage. Keep enforcing potty time, your routine, and praise. Something will click!
  • Also, let your child roam the house without a diaper for increments of 30 minutes at a time. Why? He is getting used to the fact that waste comes from his own body. This act will help him realize this fact and make the connection of where it comes from and where the waste should go.
  • Accidents will happen. Acknowledge them and invite your child to help you clean them up.
  • Your child has pooped in the potty at least 3 times.
  • Your child is comfortable when an accident occurs.
4. Transition to Training Pants/Underware
  • Start slow. Begin this phase by replacing your child’s morning diaper with a training pant. Training pants are less absorbent and more forgiving than a diaper. They are a good way for your child to learn how to listen to his natural cues to go. 
  • Be flexible. Spend the first 3-4 days in this phase switching between diapers and training pants so that your child can feel the difference.
  • Wear training pants to bed every night. You will eventually want to wean your child from training pants completely and move toward underwear. Do this in the same way you transitioned between training pants and underwear.
  • Your child can sleep through one night and wake up dry the next morning.
  • Your child can wake up in the middle of the night to go to the potty.
5. Work Toward Independence
  • Re-teach routines. Phases 4 and 5 can mold together at this point. Your child will do a lot of backsliding and bedwetting while still learning. Be patient through this process.
  • Keep practicing. Remind frequently with phrases such as, “do you have to go potty now?” or “Are your pants still dry?” This will remind your child to be aware of when to go potty.
  • Move forward, not back. Resist the urge to return to training pants and diapers. Underwear should replace all training pants and should stay dry all night. Of course the occasional accident will happen. Stay calm and remember to praise initially for each morning your child wakes up dry.
  • Remain patient. This phase could be the longest step of the process. If it doesn’t happen initially, keep doing what you are doing. It will happen eventually!
  • That's it!

Potty Training Checklist

Here is a handy checklist that you can use to establish a routine with your child:

Potty Training Routine
Did you push your pants and underwear all the way down to your ankles?
Are you sitting all the way on the potty and not just on the edge?
Are you finished?
Are you clean?
Did you wipe from front to back?
Did you pull up your underwear and pants?
Did you flush the toilet?
Did you wash your hands with soap and dry them?
Did you turn the bathroom light off?



By the end of the training, your child should feel comfortable in the bathroom and know the following:

  • When it’s time to go
  • How to remove their clothes
  • How to sit on the potty
  • How to go to the bathroom
  • How to flush the potty
  • How to wash and dry their hands

Help still may be needed with:

  • Re-dressing
  • Wiping thoroughly
  • General supervision

You're now well on your way. Next let's discuss some of the most useful aids in the potty training process.

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