Tips for First Time Potty Training
Welcome to Potty Training 101.
Potty training is stressful for both the parents and child. That’s why finding the right approach is important. According to Steve Hodges, M.D., Pediatric Urologist, “For proper bladder development, young children need to pee and poop without inhibition.”
The problem with potty training too early is that your child might not be developmentally ready to use the potty and could develop a case of chronic holding. Chronic holding is when your child holds the urge the poop or pee, which can cause urinary tract infections and constipation, amongst other health issues.
When is the Right Time to Start Potty Training?
There’s not a magic number and this depends on each child’s development, but a general rule is to start potty training after the age of 2, and ideally when your child is leading the process.
When your child is ready to use the potty they will show interest by asking to use one, refusing to wear diapers, taking off soiled diapers, telling you when they’ve gone in the diaper or by mimicking you.
Wait for signs of readiness before you start potty training; don’t push or force the process. Encourage the process and make it easier for your child to use the potty—but let them use it at their own pace. The only exception to this is if your child needs to be potty trained for a specific reason, like going to daycare.
How Can You Encourage Potty Training in Children?
Once your child is showing signs of being ready to use the potty, encourage potty training with these simple tips:
- Make your toilet child-friendly. Get a potty seat for your toilet or a potty chair. We recommend using the potty seat on your toilet so you won’t have to transition your child from the potty chair to the toilet in the future.
- Allow your child to walk around naked or in their underwear at home. It’s hard for children to feel they went in their diaper and by not wearing diapers they will learn what the urge feels like.
- Do not scold them or yell at them if they have an accident. Accidents will happen, be ready for them and don’t make your child feel bad about them, or it might delay their confidence in using the toilet.
- Keep them comfortable by giving your child foods with plenty of fiber.
- Feed your child a diet that’s full of healthy foods, and low in processed foods and sugars.
- Make sure your child is getting plenty of water—around an ounce of fluids per pound of body weight is a good number to aim for.
- Remind your child to use the potty frequently, especially once they’re wearing underwear full-time.
- Carry an extra set of clothes everywhere you go until your child is fully using the toilet.
- Make a big deal out of it. Talk to your child about what a big step this is, answer their potty questions and go out on a "date" to buy their first set of underwear together. Make them feel like this is a big accomplishment, and they'll be excited about it!