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The Ultimate Guide to Start Potty Training your Child (All the tools & tips you need)

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Potty training your toddler can seem a daunting task if you are a first-time parent. 

The how, the when and the what can be worrisome, when it seems like your toddler seems comfortable doing it all on the diaper and you are wondering if he is ready yet. Except when he or she starts showing signs of readiness to be potty trained.  

If you notice more intervals of dryness, it’s probably a sign to start potty training your child actively. It’s essential you start toilet training at the right time – not too soon, or not too late – because both scenarios have their consequences. 

Why is potty training important?

Potty training is important because it helps children develop a sense of independence and self-control, and it is a key step in their physical, emotional, and social development.

Here are some of the benefits of potty training:

  1. Improved hygiene: Potty training helps children learn how to keep themselves clean and avoid accidents.
  2. Increased independence: Potty training gives children a sense of control over their bodies and helps them become more self-reliant.
  3. Reduced diaper costs: Once children are potty trained, you no longer need to buy diapers, which can save a lot of money. And it’s healthier for the kids too because they are saved from the exposure to chemicals used inside the diaper material. 
  4. Better sleep: Children who are potty trained are less likely to wake up during the night because of wet diapers. Especially, as they grow up some kids can be bothered by the wetness which also indicates their readiness to be potty trained. 
  5. Improved social skills: Potty training helps children learn how to communicate their needs and become more socially confident. Accidents can happen in public or social situations and can be embarrassing for them. But when they are able to communicate effectively because of the training, their social skills are also improving. 

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What’s the best age to start potty training?

The best age is when your toddler seems ready. 

Your friend’s child or niece could have been free of diapers during the daytime at 2 years, but that doesn’t mean your toddler should be ready too. 

Look for the signs of readiness and start slowly. 

Some toddlers can seem ready as early as 18 months of age and some are not ready until 3. Try to stay away from comparisons and have trust in their individual pace to reach the milestone, as every child is different. Comparisons can affect their confidence and may backfire on your efforts. 

a toddler girl smiling

How long does it take to potty train a toddler?

It depends on the child, of course. But once you start, it can take between three to six months (or longer) to be potty trained during the daytime. 

It takes longer for kids to stay dry during nighttime. 

Most kids complete potty training by 3 years old. But some kids may be potty trained during daytime by that age and can take longer for nighttime dryness. It’s completely normal to take a longer time to be potty trained at night.

For many kids, nighttime potty training is completed between three and five years of age. 

Signs of readiness for potty training

It’s important to wait for your child to show signs of readiness before starting the potty training process.

Pushing your child before they are ready can cause stress and frustration for both you and your child. It’s important to keep in mind that every child is different and will reach this milestone at their own pace.

Waiting for your child to show signs of readiness can also make the process smoother and quicker. If your child is not ready, they may resist the training, which can make the process take longer. 

So, here are the signs to look for readiness in your toddler before you start potty training. 

Physical signs to look for:

  • Your child can stay dry for at least two hours at a time. This means they are developing better bladder control and can start the process. 
  • They can pull their pants up and down on their own. This skill is important to go use the potty when they feel like it. They won’t be fast enough in the beginning and you could be the one doing it for them to avoid accidents, but if they have developed the skills to do it on their own, they are ready. 
  • Your child can follow simple instructions. This is important for them to understand the process of removing their pants and going to sit on the potty to relieve themselves. If they are not at a stage to understand the steps involved, they might not be there yet. 
  • They show an interest in using the potty or wearing big kid underwear. Toddlers are curious creatures and they imitate everything we do. So if they seem to be observing how adults or older siblings go to the toilet for peeing or pooping, they can develop an interest to do that too. And if they show dislike to wearing a diaper and want to wear big kids’ underwear like their sibling, that shows readiness. 
  • They have regular bowel movements. If their body is starting to stick to a time schedule for pooping, then it’s a sign to start. If you notice any particular time they seem to go regularly, start taking them to the potty around that time. 
  • They notice when they go. If your child tells you she has soiled her diaper, it means she is aware of it. It’s a good sign to start. Many kids know when they are peeing or pooping, but instead of telling you they might go to the next room or hide behind a curtain. This is a good time to start telling them about using the potty because they are starting to go somewhere to do it. 

Now that you understand the signs to start potty training and think that your child is developmentally ready, let’s see how to get started for the whole process. 

a toddler touching his diaper - how to start potty training

How to prepare your toddler mentally for potty training success

1. Introduce the potty

I know you are eager to teach your child to use a potty, but first things first – you need to buy the right kind of potty for your child and introduce it to them. 

Choose the right potty

Before you introduce the potty to your toddler, make sure you have chosen the right one.

There are many different types of potties available, including standalone potties (also called seat reducers), potty seats that fit on top of a regular toilet seat, and portable potties that can be used on the go. Consider your toddler’s needs and preferences when choosing a potty.

Personally, when my kids were toddlers, I preferred a potty seat that fits on a toilet seat because of the ease to clean. You can flush it right away and don’t have to deal with the stinky mess.

Seat reducers come with handles or holes to hang them, and they are easily removable after use. Since it reduces the seat area of the toilet to fit a toddler, they don’t have the fear of falling in. 

But some kids can be afraid to sit on top of the toilet bowl and therefore show resistance to sitting on the potty. If that’s the case with your kids, you can start with a standalone potty and later move to a seat reducer. 

My daughters were a little scared when we started using it, so in the initial days, I would stand near them and hold their arms to support them while sitting on the potty. And they became confident after a few days, so I didn’t have to use a standalone potty. 

A toddler checking out his potty - how to potty train your child - introduce potty

Make it fun

Introducing the potty should be a fun and positive experience for your toddler. You can make it fun by decorating the potty with stickers or letting your toddler choose a special potty seat.

You can also read books about potty training or watch videos together to help your toddler understand what the potty is for.

Here are 5 potty training books you can read to kids to let your child get excited about the transition. 

  1. “Potty” by Leslie Patricelli
  2. “Once Upon a Potty-Boy” and “Once Upon a Potty-Girl” by Alona Frankel
  3. “Potty Superhero: Get Ready for Big Boy Pants!” by Mabel Forsyth
  4. “Big Girl Panties” by Fran Manushkin
  5. “Diapers Are Not Forever” by Elizabeth Verdick

While reading the books, ask your child questions about the characters and encourage them to ask questions about the process. You can also use the books as a starting point for conversations about toilet use and what to expect during potty training.

In addition to reading potty training books, you can also use other resources to help prepare your child for potty training. For example, you can watch videos or sing songs about using the toilet. The more your child is exposed to the concept of using the toilet, the more comfortable they will be with the process.

Let your toddler explore

Once you have chosen the right potty and made it fun, let your toddler explore it. Encourage your toddler to sit on the potty with their clothes on and get comfortable with it. You can also let your toddler watch you or a sibling use the toilet to help them understand what the potty is for.

2. Get your potty training supplies ready

There are several potty training supplies that can be helpful when potty training a toddler. Here are some of the best potty training supplies:

  1. Potty chair or seat: A potty chair or seat is a small toilet designed for toddlers. It’s usually placed on the floor and can be used by the child independently. Potty chairs or seats come in a variety of styles and designs, so choose one that fits your child’s needs and preferences. I personally preferred a seat reducer like this for my kids. This one is also foldable and travel-friendly.
  2. Step stool: A step stool can be helpful for toddlers who are using a regular toilet with a seat reducer. It can help them reach the toilet seat and feel more comfortable and secure. It is also helpful for kids when you start teaching them to brush on their own to get the faucet level on a sink. Alternatively, you can also try this toilet training seat that comes with an adjustable ladder.
  3. Underwear: Once your child is ready to start using the potty, it’s important to provide them with underwear. Choose underwear that is comfortable and easy for your child to pull up and down.
  4. Training pants: Training pants are absorbent underwear designed for toddlers who are still learning to use the potty. They can help capture small accidents and make the transition from diapers to underwear easier. Training pants are not as absorbent as a diaper but still can prevent leaking to an extent. When preparing them for potty training, put them in the training pants at least for some time every day so that they can learn to feel the wetness more. 
  5. Flushable wipes: Flushable wipes can be helpful for cleaning up after using the potty. They are gentler on the skin than toilet paper and provide a more refreshing cleaning experience. 
  6. Nighttime training pants: These pants are designed to handle more urine and keep toddlers dry throughout the night. Daytime training pants provide less absorbency than nighttime ones. You can start with these pants once they master the daytime potty training because for a child to be dry at night, the nerve pathways between the bladder and the brain have to become better developed and it takes more time than daytime mastery. 
  7. Protective mattress cover: These covers are designed to protect the mattress from any accidents that may occur during the potty training process. The covers are made from waterproof materials that prevent any liquid from seeping through to the mattress. Accidents are bound to happen during the potty training period, especially during the night or during daytime naps. Having a mattress protective cover in place ensures that any accidents are contained and do not cause damage to the mattress. This makes cleaning up after an accident much easier and less stressful for parents. There are many different types of mattress protective covers available on the market, ranging from simple plastic covers to more advanced covers with multiple layers of protection. Some covers are even designed to be breathable and comfortable for toddlers to sleep on.
  8. Extra sheets: Some parents like to use extra sheets beneath the protective layer. Because if their child has a middle-of-the-night accident, they can just remove the top protective layer and go back to sleep on the dry extra sheets beneath it, allowing everyone to get back to sleep quickly.
  9. Bubble soap: To teach basic hygienic habits, always make them wash their hands after potty even if they are not washing or cleaning after themselves. 
  10. Reward system: This is a non-essential tool. But many parents use it to encourage and motivate toddlers during the potty training process. If your child is a visual learner or responds well to sticker charts, you can use sticker charts, progress charts, etc for rewarding their attempts and progress. If you are not interested,  you can stick with just verbal praise. You can praise their failed attempts too. It can boost their confidence and avoid anxiety related to failures. 
  11. Potty timer: This again is not a must-use tool. But if you seem to forget to keep track of time, make use of a timer so that you can ask them to use the potty at frequent intervals. There are also potty timers available for kids, like this watch, on which you can set a programmable loop of 30 minutes or 1 hour or more. You can use this once your kids feel confident enough to go to the potty on their own. Alternatively, you can ask them to call you when the timer goes off, so you can keep a watch on them. 
a toddler on potty playing with toilet paper

3. Make them wear easy-to-undress clothes

When preparing your toddler for potty training, it’s important to choose clothes that are easy for them to take off and put back on. This will not only save time but also help them gain confidence in their ability to manage their own clothing.

Here are some tips on choosing easy-to-undress clothes for your toddler:

  • Choose clothes with elastic waistbands or snaps instead of zippers or buttons. This will make it easier for your toddler to pull their pants up and down on their own.
  • Avoid clothes with tight cuffs or sleeves that can get stuck on your toddler’s hands or feet. Loose-fitting clothes will be much easier for them to manage.
  • Opt for clothes that are made from soft, comfortable fabrics that won’t irritate your toddler’s skin. This will also make them more willing to wear the clothes you choose for them.
  • Let your toddler pick out their own clothes whenever possible. This will give them a sense of control and help them feel more confident in their ability to dress themselves.
  • Also, make sure you have plenty of spare clothes and underwear on hand in case of accidents.

Remember that accidents will happen during potty training, so it’s important to choose clothes that are easy to clean as well. Avoid clothes with lots of buttons or intricate designs that can trap urine or feces.

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Messy, Yet Lovely |Positive Parenting|Mom Life|Healthy living
Messy, Yet Lovely |Positive Parenting|Mom Life|Healthy living
Your Step-by-Step Guide and Ultimate Checklist to potty train your toddler! Get ready for stress-free potty training with this comprehensive guide, complete with a step-by-step process and must-have checklist of tools needed. From choosing the right potty to mastering the timing, these expert tips and tricks will set you and your toddler up for success.

4. Tell/show them how big people go to the toilet instead of using a diaper

One of the best ways to prepare your toddler for potty training is to explain to them how big people go to the toilet instead of using a diaper. This can help them understand that using the toilet is a normal and natural part of growing up, and can help them feel more comfortable with the idea of using the potty.

When explaining this to your child, it can be helpful to use simple language that they can understand. You might say something like, “When you were a baby, you used diapers to go to the bathroom. But now that you’re getting bigger, you can start using the toilet like Mommy and Daddy do.”

It can also be helpful to show your child how the toilet works. You might let them watch you or their older sibling use the toilet (if you feel comfortable about it), or even let them flush the toilet themselves. This can help them understand the process better and feel more comfortable with the idea of using the toilet.

It’s important to make sure that your toddler is comfortable with this process and that they are not forced to watch if they do not want to. You can also use this opportunity to explain to your child what is happening and answer any questions they may have.

 You might also consider getting a potty-training doll or toy that your child can practice with.

a toddler sitting on potty sitting with a doll on potty - playing with a potty doll is a good idea to start potty training

5. Praise them when they act independently

When your toddler starts showing signs of readiness for potty training, it’s important to praise them when they act independently. This will encourage them to continue using the potty on their own and boost their confidence.

One way to praise your toddler is by using positive reinforcement. When they successfully use the potty, give them a high-five, a hug, or a small treat like a sticker or a piece of candy. This will help them associate using the potty with positive feelings and encourage them to continue doing it.

Another way to praise your toddler is by using verbal encouragement. When they use the potty, tell them how proud you are of them and how well they’re doing. You can also use specific praise like “You did a great job using the potty all by yourself!” or “I’m so proud of you for telling me when you need to go potty!”

It’s also important to avoid negative reinforcement or punishment when your toddler has accidents. Instead, stay positive and encourage them to try again next time. Accidents are a normal part of the potty training process, and it’s important to be patient and supportive as your toddler learns.

6. Give names to the actions of pooping and peeing

One of the first things you can do to prepare your toddler for potty training is to give names to the actions of pooping and peeing. This helps your child understand the process and communicate with you when they need to go.

Start by using simple and easy-to-understand words such as “pee-pee” and “poo-poo” or any other words that you prefer. 

It’s important to use consistent language so that your child can associate those words with the actions.

For example, use “pee-pee” every time your child urinates and “poo-poo” every time your child has a bowel movement. This will help your child learn the difference between the two actions and understand what you are asking when you use those words.

You can also use other descriptive words to help your child understand the process.

For example, you can use words like “wet” and “dirty” to describe the feeling of a wet or soiled diaper. This helps your child understand the discomfort associated with being in a dirty diaper and motivates them to use the potty. 

Avoid using negative words like dirty or stinky, because you don’t want to bring shame in the process and make them feel bad about themselves. 

In short, giving names to the actions of pooping and peeing is an important step in preparing your toddler for potty training. Use simple and consistent language, and consider using visual aids to help your child understand these concepts. By doing so, you can help your child communicate with you when they need to go and motivate them to use the potty.

a toddler sitting on potty with mom beside

7. Refrain from potty draining during periods of emotional challenges

Potty training can be a challenging process for both the child and the parent, and it’s important to avoid starting or continuing potty training during periods of emotional challenges. Here are some reasons why:

  1. It can increase stress and anxiety: Emotional challenges such as family stress, illness, or a major life change can cause stress and anxiety for both the child and the parent. Starting or continuing potty training during these times can add to the stress and make the process more difficult.
  2. It can lead to setbacks: Emotional challenges can cause setbacks in the potty training process. For example, if a child is feeling anxious or overwhelmed, they may be less likely to use the potty independently, which can cause setbacks in their progress.
  3. It can be frustrating for both the child and parent: Potty training requires patience and consistency, and emotional challenges can make it harder for both the child and parent to stay consistent and patient. This can lead to frustration and may make the process more difficult.
  4. It can affect the child’s emotional well-being: Potty training is a stressful and challenging process for many children, and adding emotional challenges on top of that can affect the child’s emotional well-being. This can lead to negative associations with potty training and may make it harder for the child to learn and progress.

So if you are sure your child is ready for potty training physically and mentally, and you have all the tools to start, let’s move on to the actual steps. 

7 tips for successful potty training

1. Start with pull-ups

When starting, you have different options:

  1. Use pull-up pants: If your toddler can undress, switching to pull-up pants can help. They can easily remove it when needed and also hold the urine or poop when accidents occur. 
  2. Use cotton training pants: When your toddler has fewer accidents and if you notice more regularity in bowel movements, you can switch to cotton training pants. This will help them feel the wetness quicker than a pull-up pant diaper and can help in the potty training process. 
  3. Go bare bottom: This cannot be done always, obviously. But after a few days of potty training, you can slowly start letting them walk bare bottom for 20-30 minutes at a time (or more). Going bare bottom can be helpful because it allows toddlers to feel the sensation of needing to go to the bathroom more easily. Without a diaper or underwear on, they can feel the urge to urinate or have a bowel movement more clearly and quickly. This can help them learn to recognize the signs that they need to go and begin to communicate those needs to you.  Also, going bare bottom can make it easier for toddlers to access the potty quickly and without assistance, which can further encourage them to use the potty independently. Let them walk with bare bottoms whenever possible and make sure you keep the potty nearby to make the trip quickly, or if they are trained using the attachable toilet seat, make sure you are in the same room with them. In the worst-case scenario, you will have to wipe the pee or poop off the floor. But remember, you agreed to that task when you started potty training! Make sure you have separate clothes or rags to use specifically for cleaning the accidents when they occur. 
  4. Use reusable cloth diapers: I followed this approach as it is common in the place where I live. We buy soft cotton clothes and cut them into rectangular pieces and fold them multiple times to make a cloth pad, and then use a waterproof nappy around the child’s bottom so that no accidents escape or leak. Of course, then you will have a lot to wash every day, but I preferred this method so as not to expose my kids to chemicals in the diaper materials, to avoid rashes, and to save money. I used cloth diapers since they were newborn babies and I continued till they were fully potty trained. At night, we would use normal diapers. Cloth diapers are not really absorbent, so kids would feel the wetness immediately and personally I felt this can help with getting your child potty trained during the day faster. Here is a helpful guide to start with cloth diapering if you are interested in that. 

2. Set reminders at constant intervals 

You can also take them frequently to the potty even if they don’t show any signs of going (like every 20-30 minutes to 1 hour in the initial days) to reduce accidents and for them to get the feel of using the potty more and more. 

You can tell them things like, 

“Do you remember how we talked about staying dry? Going to the toilet now will help you stay dry”

“It’s potty time! Let’s go!”

“It’s time to go potty like a big girl/boy!”

Gradually, as you learn more about the timing of their toilet urges, you can decrease the frequency of taking them to the potty. All this happens through trial and error for a few days, so a lot of patience is recommended. 

a toddler lying on the bed with a clock beside

3. Prepare for accidents and be patient

Potty training accidents are a normal part of the process and it’s important to be prepared for them.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for potty training accidents:

  1. Have extra clothing on hand: It’s a good idea to have several changes of clothing available, including underwear, pants, and socks. Keep them in a designated spot that’s easy to access, so you can quickly change your child if an accident happens.
  2. Use waterproof mattress protectors: If your child is potty training at night, consider using a waterproof mattress protector to protect the mattress from accidents.
  3. Keep cleaning supplies nearby: Accidents can be messy, so it’s a good idea to keep cleaning supplies nearby. Have paper towels, disinfectant wipes, cleaning clothes, and a cleaning solution on hand to quickly clean up any messes.
  4. Stay calm and positive: Accidents can be frustrating, but it’s important to stay calm and positive. Remember that accidents are a normal part of the process and your child is learning.
  5. Encourage your child: Encourage your child to keep trying and remind them that accidents happen. Praise them for their efforts and progress, even if they have accidents along the way.
  6. Be patient: Potty training can take time, so be patient with your child and yourself. Don’t get discouraged if there are setbacks or accidents, and keep working with your child until they are fully potty trained.

4. Avoid shaming or criticism

Try to avoid shaming or criticism when potty training toddlers because it can have negative effects on the child’s emotional well-being and progress in potty training.

Shaming and criticism can affect kids negatively in many ways. It can harm their self-esteem and make them feel like they are not good enough. This can have long-term effects on their self-confidence and their ability to learn and grow.

Also, shaming and criticism create more power struggles between the parent and child. This can make the child less cooperative and more resistant to potty training.

Overall, it can contribute to more stress and delay in the process and it is not helpful at all.  Thus avoid shaming as much as possible and try to look on the positive side of the process. 

a mom scolding a toddler

5. Use positive reinforcement

When your toddler shows interest in the potty or uses it successfully, be sure to use positive reinforcement. Praise your toddler and offer small rewards, such as stickers or a favorite snack, to encourage them to continue using the potty.

6. Schedule and create a routine

Toilet training is a process that requires your child to develop a complex set of skills. One of the first things you need to do is to find out the times when they need to go to the toilet. This will help you to create a routine and make potty training easier for both you and your child.

To start, write down your child’s usual routine including waking time, naps, meals, and regular playtimes. Include the times they usually drink water or other liquids—potty training will be easier if you start to offer drinks at set times.

Spend a few days watching your little one. Keep a diaper diary of the times they pee and poop. You might see a pattern emerging.

Once you have identified the times when your child usually needs to go to the toilet, you can start to create a routine. Encourage your child to use the potty at these times. You can also gently remind your child to use the potty if you notice that they have not gone for a while or as said above, set a reminder at constant intervals.

a toddler laughing with his mom

7. Make the potty easily accessible

Having a designated place in your house to keep the potty can be helpful because otherwise, it can be stressful for you and your child to find it when they need it. 

When the potty is easily accessible, the child can learn to use it independently. This can help them feel more confident in their abilities to take care of themselves. 

Also, when the potty is nearby and easy to access, the child is more likely to use it when they need to go to the bathroom. This can reduce the likelihood of accidents and help the child learn faster.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Potty Train a Toddler

How do reward charts and stickers help in potty training toddlers?

Reward charts and stickers can be effective tools in potty training toddlers because they provide positive reinforcement for good behavior and can help motivate children to use the potty. 

Here are some benefits:

  1. They provide visual cues: Reward charts and stickers provide a visual representation of progress, which can be motivating for children. Seeing their progress on the chart can help them feel proud of their accomplishments and encourage them to continue working toward their goals.
  2. They reinforce positive behavior: By rewarding children for using the potty, parents can reinforce positive behavior and encourage them to continue using the potty independently.
  3. They can be customized: Reward charts and stickers can be customized to fit the child’s interests and preferences. This can make the process more engaging and enjoyable for the child.
  4. They can help track progress: Reward charts and stickers can help parents track their child’s progress and identify areas where they may need additional support or encouragement.
  5. They can be used as a form of celebration: When a child reaches a certain milestone or goal, parents can use the reward chart and stickers as a form of celebration. This can help create a sense of achievement for the child.

I like to use reward charts or progress charts as a means to track their progress and for a sense of accomplishment like we adults use planners. I usually use the reward charts available online.

I don’t like to go overboard with reward charts because sometimes it can backfire and make kids look for extrinsic rewards only. So I try to make sure they are intrinsically motivated as well to do the chores or achieve a goal. 

In my opinion, using these charts and trackers is helpful to get them started on a new habit as it can be hard to remember it every day – be it for you and your kids. Once you put them on the wall, it’s on everyone’s priority list. And you can stop using them once they have formed the habit. 

sticker chart reward for potty training

What is the difference between daytime potty training and nighttime potty training?

Daytime potty training and nighttime potty training are two separate processes that involve different strategies and techniques. Here are some of the key differences between the two:

  1. Timing: Daytime potty training typically begins when a child is around 1.5-2.5 years old and is ready to start using the potty during the day. Nighttime potty training usually begins later, when the child is able to stay dry during naps and has shown signs of being able to hold their bladder for longer periods of time.
  2. Strategies: Daytime potty training often involves using a potty chair or seat, encouraging the child to use the potty regularly, and providing positive reinforcement for successful attempts. Nighttime potty training may involve limiting fluids before bedtime, waking the child to use the bathroom during the night, or using absorbent underwear or a diaper until the child is consistently dry at night.
  3. Physical development: Daytime and nighttime potty training rely on different levels of physical development. Daytime potty training requires the child to be able to recognize the need to go to the bathroom, hold their bladder or bowel movements, and use the potty independently. Nighttime potty training requires the child to have developed enough bladder control to stay dry for several hours at a time.
  4. Duration: Daytime potty training typically takes several weeks to several months, while nighttime potty training can take several months to a year or more.

Daytime and nighttime potty training are two separate processes that require different strategies and techniques.

 While daytime potty training focuses on developing independence during the day, nighttime potty training focuses on developing bladder control during the night.

Some kids are fully potty trained between ages 2 and 3, while for some kids, even when they are daytime potty trained, nighttime training can take longer (up to 5 years of age or even more).

How to deal with potty training regression?

Potty training regression is a normal and temporary part of the process where a child who has been successful in using the toilet suddenly starts having accidents or rejecting their potty routines.

The first thing to do when your child shows potty training regression is to understand the potential causes. There could be several factors leading to this, including changes in routine, emotional stress, or even medical issues. Pay close attention to any patterns or recent changes, and if you suspect medical reasons like constipation, consult your pediatrician for support.

Some common triggers for potty training regression include:

  • Changes in routine: If your family’s routine has been disrupted or altered, such as a move, a new sibling, or starting preschool, your child might feel overwhelmed and struggle to adapt, causing regression.
  • Emotional stress: High levels of stress, anxiety, or emotional upset can impact a child’s ability to stay consistent with potty training. Providing extra love and assurance may help them regain their confidence.
  • Fear: Sometimes, a negative experience like a painful bowel movement or a scary sound from the toilet can trigger regression. Address your child’s concerns and offer gentle reassurance and support.

Once you find out the reason behind the regression, start working from there. Offer lots of support for their fears and keep the communication channels open. Let them express their fears openly and listen to all of them with no judgment. 

And then try to re-establish the routine like you first started, but the difference is this time both of you are used to the process. And remember to not blame them for going back to their routines, and consider this a fresh start. 

If your child’s potty training regression lasts for more than a month or if they seem upset, anxious, or in pain during toileting, consider reaching out to a medical professional. And, pay attention to your child’s overall behavior, as changes in mood or temperament could signal an underlying issue that requires attention.

a toddler sitting on potty covering her face

How long should a child sit on the potty when potty training?

The length of time a child should sit on the potty when potty training can vary depending on the child’s age, readiness, and individual needs. Generally, it is recommended that children sit on the potty for 5-10 minutes at a time, several times a day.

If a child is resistant or unwilling to sit on the potty, it may be helpful to make the experience more enjoyable and comfortable for them. This could involve offering small rewards, reading books orplaying games while on the potty, or using a special potty seat or stool to make sitting more comfortable. 


Individuality and finding what works for your child are crucial when it comes to potty training. Every child is unique and may respond differently to different potty training strategies.  It’s important to take these differences into account and to find a potty training approach that works for your child.

And remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to potty training. What works for one child may not work for another. It’s important to be flexible and open to trying different strategies until you find what works best for your child.

For some kids, 3-day potty training can work, but for some, it might not. By taking your child’s individuality into account and finding a potty training approach that works for them, you can improve the success rates of potty training. 

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