Potty Training - Advice, Tricks, and Helpful Products

how to potty train tips advice

Here are seven things you might not know about potty training:

1. The younger you start potty training, the longer it will take and the more you and your child will suffer through the process.

2. Potty training fails when it starts during a major transition, like when starting a new year of school, having a new baby, or moving into a new home.

3. Girls tend to potty train faster than boys, and the first child usually takes the longest.

4. Potty training will likely take a couple months, and then your child will make it through the day without a diaper. Night-time potty training takes much longer, sometimes half a year to a full year; other times, it will take some tries and then going back to the drawing board several months later.

5. Boys start potty training sitting down, not standing up. This is to help with the mess, but also to get them comfortable with the seat and help them be patient while sitting and waiting for a pee or poop to happen.

6. Kids who see their parents use the potty on a daily basis will usually have an easier time learning how to do it themselves.

7. Most kids will have several accidents before they master potty training, and your job as a parent is to keep your cool and not get frustrated. And that's not easy!

Here are three tips to help speed up potty training.

1. Read to them while they sit on the potty. Not only is reading beneficial for your child in general, it also does a great job of distracting them from the potty training. When we were potty training our kids, we would load them up with apple juice and then about 10 minutes later sit them on the potty and read them a book. It doesn't really matter what kind of book you read them, as long as it will keep their attention for a while. This is a great strategy for the first several times on the potty when you really want to be patient and just let them learn the concept. The first few times nothing may happen until you give up and put the diaper back on, but then suddenly after a couple tries it will happen and you both will be very excited about the big step of making a first pee-pee (or poo!) on the potty! There are some cute books that cater specifically to the potty training topic. Some of course are for parents but the cutest ones are for the kids - check out our overall best baby books here. Below are six of our favorites!

potty training book

Potty

By Leslie Patricelli

Leslie Patricelli weaves a wonderful story about a toddler who achieves an amazing milestone! This book makes your little boy or girl feel comfortable with themselves and their new option of using the potty instead of a diaper!

potty training book

Everyone Poops

By Taro Gomi

This is a modern classic, taking your toddler through a unique learning experience about every person's and every animal's daily (we hope!) experience of pooping - and the unique shapes and sizes the poop takes on.

potty training book

Big Girl Panties

By Fran Manushkin

This book is a great positive approach that encourages and motivates even the most timid of girls to use the potty. Every little girl wants to wear big girl panties, just like mommy does!

potty training book

P is for Potty

By Naomi Kleinberg

For the kids who love Sesame Street and Elmo, this book will be a welcome addition to potty training. Elmo guides the way and your toddler will explore the flip-open flaps to find little hidden treasures (don't worry, it's not poop!).

potty training book

My Big Girl/Boy Potty

By Joanna Cole

This is a super encouraging book, and there's a version for boys and girls. Every toddler can be praised with "What a big girl/boy!" Cole and Chambliss do a great job navigating some of the difficulties and rewards of potty training.

potty training book

Where's the Poop?

By Julie Markes

This is another lift-the-flap book, but in this one you will expose the poop! From monkeys to tigers and kangaroos, it guides your toddler through an animal adventure, with words of encouragement along the way!

 

2. Get the right equipment ready before trying to potty train. There are a ton of great potty training products on the market, many of which will be extremely helpful during the process. We suggest you do some research on potty chairs, toilet seat covers, step stools for the potty and sink, and some extra containers of Lysol wipes to help clean the floor and toilet! Messes will happen, and you'll be prepared. In terms of toilet seat covers, there are many options that are cute, fun, comfortable, and easy to put on and take off. For boys, you want a toilet seat cover or potty chair that has a splash guard on the front. When little boys have to go pee really badly, pee can shoot up at unexpected angles, so having an extra splash guard can save your floor and bath rug and keep cleanups to a minimum. Potty chairs are a great option if you're willing to spend a little extra on the potty training process. The potty chair is basically a miniature toilet that is the right height for your kid to straddle and sit down onto. One of the big hurdles for little kids is climbing up onto an adult toilet and worrying about falling in or off. A child's size potty chair gives a great boost of confidence, helps them feel like they have a special place to do their stuff, and makes it more likely that they will be able to use the potty without your immediate help. Once you have all the right equipment, then begin the journey. Don't switch things up after unsuccessfully trying. Instead, buy it and set it up first. Below is some of our favorite potty training equipment.

potty training toilet

3-in-1 Train with Me Potty

By Summer Infant

Simple, inexpensive, at just the right height, and easy to clean! The Summer Infant Train with Me Potty doesn't take up a ton of space on your bathroom floor, and uses a convenient spout to help with cleaning.

potty training toilet

Contoured Cushy Step-up Potty

By Mommy's Helper

This training potty attaches to your regular toilet, and makes clean-up much easier than with a pot-based training potty. With a little ladder to help your toddler climb on and keep their legs comfy while they try, it's a great little training potty!

potty training toilet

Potty Training Seat

By Cozy Greens

This is one of the simpler options on our list - it is basically a ring that you put right on top of your existing potty, and it narrows the hole with a super comfy cushioned seat that doesn't slip or drip. And you can hang it up in the tub for storage - very convenient!

potty training toilet

Royal Stool Potty

By Fisher Price

Make your toddler feel like a Royal with this versatile potty that plays two roles - one as a stand-alone training potty, and then as a training seat that can attach to your home toilet. Easy to clean and use, and we like the side handles for confidently gripping!

potty training toilet

Potty Chair

By BabyBjorn

This is basically the same thing as the Summer Infant 3-in-1 training potty, but it's made by BabyBjorn so it comes in a ton of nice colors and about $10 more expensive. Worth it? Maybe, but we'll let you decide.

potty training toilet

Mickey Mouse Potty System

By Disney Baby

For the Disney and Mickey Mouse fans, this is the training potty that will get things moving! With some awesome graphics and a little shifter attached to the side, your toddler will definitely be entertained while taking care of business!

 

3. Invest in some training pants (or pull-up potty training diapers). Once your child seems to be gravitating toward the potty the majority of the time they have to pee or poo, try the transition away from disposable diapers to cloth training pants or pull-up training diapers. Training pants and diapers will make your kid feel like a big girl or boy, make them feel special, and help reinforce their progress. Pull-ups don't have the absorbancy of a regular diaper, but what they do have is the ability to quickly pull them up and down without the complicated closures. And the lack of absorbancy is a good thing: the more your child can feel they've peed or pooped, the better. The best disposable diapers do a good job absorbing and keeping pee and poop away from your child's skin, but pull-up diapers are thinner and keep things up close and personal. Harder for them to ignore it once the deed is done! Cloth training pants are awesome too, as long as you're willing to do the dirty laundry! Once your child learns to get themselves ready for potty time (pulling down the training pants), and get them pulled back up afterwards, they are in a great and independent position to make some serious potty training progress. If you can find some training/pull-ups with your child's favorite characters, that can be even better incentive for them! Here are some great training pants and pull-up diaper options:

potty training pants pull-ups

Baby Girl Training Pants

By Gerber

These are great training undies that are ideal for the second stage of potty training, after the disposable training pants and when accidents are becoming less frequent. Washable, comfortable, and reasonably absorbant, these are a good daytime bet for kids who are getting really close to being finished with potty training!

potty training pants pull-ups

Baby Boy Training Pants

By Gerber

These are great training undies that are ideal for the second stage of potty training, after the disposable training pants and when accidents are becoming less frequent. Washable, comfortable, and reasonably absorbant, these are a good daytime bet for kids who are getting really close to being finished with potty training!

potty training pants pull-ups

Easy-Ups Girls Training Pants

By Pampers

We totally prefer the Easy Ups relative to Pull-Ups (Huggies) because we find them to have better absorbancy, lower leakage, and they can even be used during nighttime if you're only at risk for one accident.

potty training pants pull-ups

Easy-Ups Boys Training Pants

By Pampers

We totally prefer the Easy Ups relative to Pull-Ups (Huggies) because we find them to have better absorbancy, lower leakage, and they can even be used during nighttime if you're only at risk for one accident.

potty training pants pull-ups

Bedwetting Underwear

By GoodNights

These are really the best overnight training underwear that we've tested - we've never experienced leakage and trust these with even our nicest sheets and mattresses! Say goodbye to that mattress pad - or don't!

potty training pants pull-ups

Baby & Toddler Training Pants

By Seventh Generation

Looking for a more sensitive and natural training pants? These are free of chlorine bleaching, lotions, and fragrances, and have a great reputation for being gentle for even teh most sensitive skin. Not great for nighttime wear, but great for the day.

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