Most toddlers don’t start potty training until after the age of 2.  At the age of 2 often toddlers have an understanding to hold their bladder and show they need to use the bathroom.

Some toddlers are ready before 2 years of age and you as a parent can encourage your little one if you see they are capable to go the toilet on their own.


1. Time and Dedication

The number one rule is to have time and dedication to train your little one.  As they say “Rome was not build in a day.”  Consistency is key to help your toddler develop the full understanding to get rid of the diapers and going to the toilet.


2. Model and Demonstrate

A good way to start potty training is to take your toddler with you to the bathroom.  Toddlers learn a great deal by watching and will try to repeat your every move.  Whenever you go the bathroom take your little one with you and show them how we sit on the toilet, flush the toilet, and wash our hands after we’re finished in the bathroom.


3. They should have an understanding of what a Toilet is

Toddlers should have some knowledge of what the toilet is.  What we do in the bathroom, what comes out of their bodies and also what ends up in their diaper or the toilet.


4. Tools for Potty Training

By reading books and watching videos your toddler learns the concept of going to the toilet.  Another way to make potty training less scary, is to make a reward chart for your little one and praise them with a star/sticker or something they like every time they try to go to the toilet.

5. Make it part of your day-to-day Routine

The more they hear about it, the more they will understand the concept of what is expected of them.  Talk about the potty during nappy changes, meal times, bath times, playing, when in the car etc. Remember your toddler will have accidents even if they are fully trained and this is ok, it is a work in progress.


6. Use the right Equipment

Using the right equipment will make potty training a lot easier.

Here are some ideas of what equipment you can try:

  • The potty seat with steps
  • Portable potty with disposable liners
  • Wet liner for car seat
  • Potty training underpants
  • Easy peasy potty for boys


7. Make it fun

 Toddlers like to be entertained and flourish on stimulation.  Make it fun for them by playing songs, read books or play games with them.  This helps them to enjoy potty training much more.


8. Fill them up

Make sure to give them extra fluids throughout the day to let them go more to the toilet.  This way it creates more opportunities for potty training.


9. Respond fast to their needs

When starting with potty training they may tell you that they need to go the toilet even when nothing comes out. As soon as your toddler says potty take them straight to the bathroom to overcome accidents. Unfortunately at times you simply can’t take them straight to the bathroom and that’s also okay. You will soon start to notice that you toddler has tell-tale signs of when he/she needs to go to the bathroom.


10. Leave bedtime training for now

Let your toddler wear their diapers or pull-ups during bedtime.  It’s much harder for your little one to hold their bladder for 10 -12 hours straight at a time. Let them get used to going to the potty and noticing when they need to go for now.


11. Be ready for messes and make clean up easy

Accidents can get messy at times.  Make clean up easier for yourselves.  Make sure to keep them more on hard floors and always have disinfectant spray handy.  Line your couches and replace their mattresses with a waterproof mattress when you start potty training at night.  This will simply make your life easier.


12. Inspire independence

Toddlers often want to do things for themselves and want to exercise their independence.  They want to feed themselves and dress themselves in summer clothes even when its winter outside.  This is a good time to introduce the potty.  They will be very interested in all of the aspects that go with it.  Let them try do things themselves.  The more you give them the freedom, the better they will get and be more interested in the potty.

13. Don’t be hard on them

One thing we need to remember as parents that it is not as easy as it seems to us.  Toddlers have to work really hard at this skill.  Potty training is a huge transition for any toddler.  If they are not prepared, there might be a lot of pushbacks from them.


14. Give them a break if they need it

This can be stressful on both you and your toddler.  Potty training can get very tiring at times. If you feel you don’t get anywhere its okay to pause for a while.  Give yourself and your toddler a break and concentrate on something else for a while.  Try again in a couple of weeks.


15. Last but not the least, enjoy it.

Toddlers only stay little for a short while.  Soon they won’t need your help anymore.

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory – Dr. Seuss

Contributed by Nicolette of Clamber Club Toddlers – Bloemfontein