Best Potty Training Tips: A Guide For Parents of Toddlers

Potty training is a huge milestone for both parent and child. But how do you know if your child is ready and what are the best ways to go about it?

Each child and situation is different so its important to be informed. Next, you’ll need time and patience.

Best Potty Training Tips- A Guide for Parents of Toddlers

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Less diapering, but is your child ready?

Determining readiness can be a little tricky. Some children may notify you when they need a diaper change. Some may show interest in using a potty or a toilet. And often, there are cases when potty training takes a few rounds of trying.

Common Signs of Readiness

Some of the common signs of readiness include: having a dry diaper for longer periods of time, regular bowel movements, facial and verbal cues, and requesting a diaper change.

Potty Training Boys versus Girls

We all know that boys and girls have different anatomies and that as babies they require a slightly different method of cleaning. The same applies when potty training, plus a little more.

Some say that boys are more complicated and take longer to potty train than girls. But others might say that girls are more temperamental and moody.

Girls sit to both pee and poop but boys often stand to pee. Depending on the case, this could be an advantage or disadvantage.

Moms often complain about boys not having good aim. But might also brag about how much easier it is with a boy who can pee standing. Boys don’t need to be wiped every time they pee. And once a boy reaches the right height, they can go completely by themselves without having to be held up on a toilet.

Girls are usually quicker to potty train in the long run because once they only need to learn once. But boys, since they’re so little, have several stages and transitions to learn through the process. They are often taught to pee sitting down and later have to adapt to standing during height changes. In some cases, boys want to learn by standing and struggle with pooping sitting down.

Teaching boys to aim is a whole other ball game, and for your future self to deal with.

Whether you have a boy or a girl doesn’t change the common potty training methods but may affect how you treat certain situations.

Boys vs. Girls in Potty Training

Average Age for Potty Training Boys and Girls

The average age for beginning to potty train a child is between 18 months and 3 years old. That doesn’t mean that your child is behind if they’ve reached the 3 year mark. Nor does it mean that you should begin at 18 months.

Every child and situation is different so the age depends entirely on you and your child’s readiness. The same applies when comparing sexes, it all comes down to each child.

What You'll Need

Potty Chart Printables

How to Start Potty Training

Start Slow

Start by taking your child when they are in a good mood. Choose time when they usually soil the diaper. You can start with once or twice a day and, within a few days, you can take them more frequently.

If your child gives you facial or verbal cues, take advantage and rush them to the potty. When they succeed because of perfect timing, it makes it more exciting and easier for them to want to try again and understand the concept.

Children are often fascinated by a potty but become afraid of it when placed to sit on it. It is a common reason for starting and stopping potty training. If your child develops a fear, do not force them and give them some time before trying again.


Explain to your child that they are now a big kid that will no longer need heavy, yucky diapers. Explain to them that as a big kid, they get to use the potty or toilet just like mom and dad or older sibling.

As you gradually get them acclimated to the potty, practice a little call and response. Remind them, “where do pee and poop have to go, honey?”

Best Potty Training Tips

Have Patience

Children at this age are just beginning to understand the control they have over their bladder and bowels and it is a major transition for them. Transitions as these can be very scary for toddlers.

Expect lots of accidents and be patient, “accidents happen” after all. Calmly remind them that it’s okay but that next time they need to be aware of their body and go in the potty.

That’s why it’s important to have a mattress protector, stock up on cleaning and toiletry supplies, and always pack extra clothes in the car and diaper bag.

Establish Patterns and Be Consistent

Once your child is comfortable with sitting on the potty you can establish patterns for them to follow and get used to.

For the first few months, you’ll have to be in charge of determining when they need to go based on the time between the last trip. They will not always tell you when they need to go because they’re often distracted, they’re still little after all.

Follow a routine of taking your child every thirty minutes on the first few days and increase to every hour or two. Establish good patterns to follow, like: right after waking up, before and after a meal, before leaving the house, when arriving home, and before bed.

Continue following through with these patterns when you leave the house so that your child can get accustomed to public bathrooms and reduce accidents in public.

Positive Reinforcement and Rewarding System

Positive reinforcement is a psychological term for rewarding someone for positive behavior to replicate that desired behavior again in the future.

With potty training, one of the best rewarding systems is with a Potty Chart and stickers, where your child gets rewarded with a sticker for every successful potty trip on their chart.

Primary methods include praise and celebration, like clapping, high-fives and a celebratory dance or song. Common tangible rewards include receiving stickers, treats, and small gifts.

Best Potty Training Tips- Potty Charts
Potty Chart Printables

Overnight Potty Training

Your child will still need to wear diapers, like pull-ups, to sleep even when they are potty trained.

Although they have now accustomed to being potty trained, they have a harder time controlling their bladder when asleep. They may also have concerns or fears of going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, in the dark and by themselves.

Adapting to be more conscious during sleep and comfortable with nighttime potty training may take several more months or years, with several nighttime accidents along the way (again, mattress protector).

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Best Potty Training Tips- A Guide for Parents of Toddlers
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July 1, 2019 2:26 pm

Thanks for this! My older 2 were potty trained over night but its been a huge and unsuccessful struggle with my 3 year old. I needed this!!

Lorena |
July 2, 2019 9:42 am

We just started on this process for my two-year-old. You have excellent tips here. I found what helped my son the most was buying a stool step to get to the potty and also involving books and/or videos. He’s only peed once on the toilet, but at least now doesn’t… Read more »

July 2, 2019 2:38 pm

I’ll be getting into this next year 🙈 not looking forward to it!

October 3, 2020 2:03 am

Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful article