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Potty Genius Blog

Are You Ready for Potty Training?

preparing for potty training

by Angie Long

Angie is an experienced freelance writer and mother of two. She has extensive experience working in professional training, including the development and evaluation of training and exam material. She has a background in elementary education. Angie has a 4-year-old who still struggles with potty training, yet her 8-year-old nailed it by two years of age.


Potty Genius Blog

Are You Ready for Potty Training?

by Angie Long

Angie is an experienced freelance writer and mother of two. She has extensive experience working in professional training, including the development and evaluation of training and exam material. She has a background in elementary education. Angie has a 4-year-old who still struggles with potty training, yet her 8-year-old nailed it by two years of age.


preparing for potty training
The thought of not having to change a diaper anymore, the amount of money you’ll save by crossing them off your shopping list, the sense of pride you feel when your child accomplishes a major milestone — these are all good reasons to get excited to start the process of potty training. But it is important to realize that your child might not be emotionally or physically ready for potty training. And even if they are ready, they can’t do it without you.

Getting Ready to Potty Train

There are a few things that need to be done to prepare for potty training.
  1. Gauge their readiness to potty train. Do they show any interest in the toilet or potty chair?
  2. Do you have a few days to focus on nothing but potty training? You can’t start one day and take a break the next day. This only confuses the child.
  3. Are you emotionally ready to potty train? Can you react to accidents without getting frustrated and throwing in the towel?
Whenever you switch up your child’s routine, you put yourself in unfamiliar territory as well. You don’t know how your child will react when you bid farewell to the trusted diaper. But what you can do is encourage them and be a source of guidance. Remember, you are a parent, not a friend. You need to lead by example and be friendly, but firm, when it comes to potty training. Here are some tips to get you ready for potty training:
  • Get excited preparing for potty training. Make a big deal of this! When your child wakes up, ceremoniously throw their soiled diaper in the bin with your child and ask them to say goodbye. Explain that the child is a big kid now and not using diapers.
  • Have a reward system prepared for potty training. Consider stickers, small pieces of candy — whatever it takes to motivate your child to use the toilet.
  • Consider getting your child some new underwear with their favorite characters on it. This can do wonders for motivation. Sure, they will have accidents, but that might encourage them to use the toilet, since they won’t want to get their new underwear wet.
  • If you don’t want to constantly change underwear and pants, dress your child in a large T-shirt that covers his or her bottom. Explain that since they are not wearing a diaper, they have to use the toilet if they feel like they have to go.
  • Take your child to the toilet at regular intervals. You may want to start out as frequently as every 15 minutes and then extend it to longer intervals when your child starts to get the hang of it.
  • Don’t relapse at nighttime. Yes, you’ll be changing sheets, but you’ll avoid confusing your child.
  • Have your child use the toilet immediately before bed and in the middle of the night. Set an alarm for yourself.
  • Stay positive. Although it may be exhausting (holed up in your home for three days while chained to the toilet and washing machine), looking at potty training as an excuse to have fun and bond with your child can make all the difference.
Many children do quite well after three days, although accidents will still happen. Still, there are just as many children who need longer than three days. Don’t get discouraged.

How to Handle Accidents

Remember that accidents are a part of potty training. Tough love has no business here. Never yell, and never make your child feel bad for having an accident. Doing so can actually hamper your efforts. They don’t want to be wet. So simply change their clothes, ask them if they need your help next time, and go about your day. Be prepared. Always carry at least one spare set of clothes with you. In fact, even kindergarten teachers commonly ask parents to send a spare set of clothes to school, just in case an accident occurs, which goes to show that accidents still happen at age four. You’re not alone. You’ve got this!

Additional Potty Training Resources:

An Anxious Parent's Guide to Potty Training Is Your Kid Ready to Potty Train

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