We all know we have to do it, eventually.

It’s not fun.

It’s not pretty and it can try the patience of even the most saintly among us.

It is a fact of parenthood that all children will need to be potty trained, whether or not their parents want to potty train them is a whole different matter entirely.  Although, it is painful, it can be less so, if you know what to expect and what you are doing. Fortunately, there is a pluthera of information out there to help answer the inevitable questions that will pop up.

The following are some common questions and answers about potty training.  Some from readers of the blog and some from my own experience:

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links, which means that should you choose to purchase through the links provided, I will receive a small commission.  Thank you.

When should I start?

From “Toilet Training-Topic Overview” at WebMd:

Most children are ready to start when they are between 22 and 30 months of age, but every child is different. Toilet training usually becomes a long and frustrating process if you try to start it before your child is ready. 

How do you know your child is ready?

Look for signs they are ready.  Ideally, if they want to do it, you will have the most success.  Laura Markham at AHA Parenting made a good point in her article, “Easy Potty Learning for Toddlers,“:

 The simple truth about toilet training is that if the child is ready, it happens very easily. If not, a power struggle often ensues — and we all know that no one wins a parent-child power struggle. Fights with your child about his or her body are fights you will never win.

You know your child is ready if they seem interested, want to do it and are physically capable.

What can I do to encourage my child to want to be potty trained?

I covered a lot of my ideas in the post, “What I Wish I’d Known When I Potty Trained my First Child.”  

Here are some more ideas from You and Your Toddler by Dr. Miriam Stoppard:

Praise your child and encourage her to regard bowel and bladder control as an accomplishment…Suggest that your child sit on the potty, but allow her to make the decision.  Let your child be as independent as she likes…and praise her independence.

How do I help my child not be afraid of the potty?

In the book, Toddler Wise by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam the authors explain how to handle toddler fears in this way:

Children often overcome their fears once they become acquainted with the object of fear…In such cases parents must bridge faulty assumptions with reality.

Some of the ideas, I’ve had in helping children with potty fears is to explain concepts simply and truthfully, make the potty a normal part of routine and pinpointing what, specifically is scary to the child and addressing that issue (i.e. is it the noise, that part of him is going away, or your expectations of him).  Once those fears are acknowledged and addressed the child often becomes much more willing.


How do you know if you’re doing this right?

Potty training, like many other skills you teach children, will not be something you can check off as done for months and maybe even years.  It can be helpful to think of it in terms of several steps instead of one.  Goals for parents could include: figuring out your potty training plan, teaching your child the steps and preparing a bag with potty training essentials.  Goals for children could include: knowing the correct terminology, being able to recognize when they are going to the bathroom, confidently sitting on the potty, or correctly flushing the toilet and washing their hands.  Having it in bite sized chunks will help you both see progression and not be so focused on what’s not happening.


How do you potty train at night?

A few mentioned that they were having a hard time potty training at night.  In Parenting Preschoolers with a Purpose by Jolene L. Roehlkepartain relates,

If your preschooler wets the bed, you’re not alone…most children don’t stop wetting the bed until around age 5…Bed-wetting is a physical situation (a young child’s bladder isn’t large enough to hold a full night of urine)…

Several sources recommended treating daytime potty training and nighttime potty training as two seperate goals.

If you feel like your child is physically capable you can try some of the advice from Dani at Merakilane.com.  In her article, “10 Tips for Nightime Potty Training Success” she advocates limiting liquids, waking your child before you go to bed, having easy access to supplies that will help with the inevitable accidents and multiple trips to the bathroom in the hours before bedtime.

If it seems to be an issue of your child staying in bed for too long you could try what Amalah in her article: “Nighttime Potty Training” advocates:

[set] your alarm for about 10 or 15 minutes before [the child wakes up] and wake her up and escort her to the potty…

I also, had a reader of this blog recommend an alarm like this one, which she said helped one of her children stop wetting the bed.  That also might be something to try.

I truly hope that this has been helpful.  I appreciate the questions sent in as well as the chance, I had, to research them.  I feel like I learned a lot to help me in my potty training, which I will eventually, have to do, perhaps this has been a form of stalling…


What about you:

What are some questions you’ve had answered about potty training?  Or what questions do you have that we haven’t covered yet?

Write it down in a journal, talk it over with a friend or leave a comment below or on Facebook.