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What are the potty training basics that every parent should know?

Potty _Training


As far as milestones in the early life go, parents and caregivers all over the world can probably agree on the importance of potty training. When a child becomes potty trained it’s not only a sign of growth and independence, but it’s also a way for a child to understand their body’s signals.

But how do you know when a child is ready to start potty training? And how do you most successfully help a child make the transition from diapers to the toilet?

Many children show signs they are ready for potty training between the ages of 18 and 24 months. However, some children take as long as 3 years before they are ready. The important thing to remember is that parents and caregivers should not be in a rush because if a child starts too early, he or she may take longer to train.

No matter the age, there are certain signs that indicate a child is ready to begin potty training including: 

  • Pulling at a wet or dirty diaper
  • Expressing an interest in others’ use of the potty or even copying bathroom behavior
  • Having a diaper remain dry longer than the usual time
  • Waking up dry from a nap
  • Expressing to a parent or guardian that they are about “to go”

When a child exhibits at least two of these readiness clues, then it’s up to the parent or guardian to set the stage for potty training. That’s when an adult should ensure that the child can sit on a potty seat and get back up without help.

In addition, a child should be able to pull down a diaper, training pants, or underwear without the help of an adult. Experts also say that a child should be able to control bladder and bowel muscles and keep a diaper dry for at least two hours before they are ready for potty training.

If a child does appear ready, a parent or guardian should then purchase such products as a small practice potty, training pants, and even children’s book on how to use a toilet. Adults can also be an instructional role model when it comes to potty time. When a parent or caregiver goes to the bathroom, he or she can use that time as an opportunity to talk a child through the whole process. Experts also recommend using words like pee, poop and potty to help a child understand the process.

Parents and caretakers should also familiarize their child with a potty seat by putting it in the bathroom — even making the potty a fun place where a child wants to sit — with or without a diaper. By decorating the practice potty or using it for a sitting place where a child can look at a book or play with a toy it becomes a non-threating and routine part of their day.

Once the process has begun, parents and caregivers should be aware of what times of the day a child has the urge to pee or poop. Then a child can begin to establish a routine by sitting on the potty during those times — especially after a meal or drinking lots of fluids. Also, be sure to
praise a child for their efforts. Positive feedback will keep a child interested in mastering potty time.

And finally, remember that accidents will happen during the potty training process — even after it seems a child has figured it all out. If an accident does occur, be sure and keep cool, and don’t punish or shame a child for making a mistake. It will only set the training process back a few steps.

For more tips on effective potty training, visit or to learn potty training tips used by daycare providers, visit

Visit to learn more about child care and development, search for ABC Quality approved child care provider and learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system. ABC Quality is administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education.

By ABC Quality Team on September 17, 2019