Potty training is a big step in the development of babies. Babies should be approached with understanding, support and positivity throughout the potty training process.
When to start potty training
The success of potty training depends on physical, developmental and behavioral milestones, not age. Babies usually signal that they are ready for potty training between 18 and 24 months, but some babies may not be ready until they are 3 years old. There is no need to rush; starting toilet training too early may prolong the training process.
Signs that a baby may be developmentally ready to begin the potty training process:;
- Is dry at least 2 hours at a time during the day or is dry after naps
- Shows signs they are about to pee or poop, like grunting, freezing, or squatting
- Can follow simple instructions
- Can walk to and from the bathroom and help undress themselves
- Does not like to be in wet diapers and wants to be changed
- Asks to use the toilet or potty-chair
- Asks to wear “big-kid” underwear
Potty training tips
Keep the process positive: Choose carefully the words you use to describe body parts, urine, and bowel movements. Stay away from negative words such as dirty, stinky.
Get a potty-chair: Get a fun potty that your babies may like. Also, books or toys for “potty time” can help make this time more fun.
Follow the signs: When your babies feel the urge to poop, you might notice grunting, squatting, or freezing. Explain briefly to your babies that these signs mean a poop is about to come.
Make trips to the potty-chair a routine: Get your babies into the habit of sitting on the potty first thing in the morning. You can also do this step at certain times, such as after meals or before going to sleep.
Switch to big-kid underwear: Big-kid underwear, which are special underwear used in toilet training, can support the training process.
Teach your babies proper hygiene habits: Show your babies how to wipe carefully and make sure they learn to wash their hands well after using the toilet.
Don’t forget to praise your babies: When your babies are successful, you can use supportive sentences such as “congratulations, I am proud of you”, but avoid rewards and punishment. Because rewards and punishments can distract rather than encourage.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. (2023). Toilet Training: 12 Tips to Keep the Process Positive. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/toilet-training/Pages/Praise-and-Reward-Your-Childs-Success.aspx
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Potty training: How to get the job done. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/potty-training/art-20045230
- American Academy of Pediatrics. (2022). The Right Age to Potty Train. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/toilet-training/Pages/the-right-age-to-toilet-train.aspx