Potty Training Basics

Here are the potty training basics from one mom who's been through a lot. Not all of it worked. Included here, tips and tools for potty training basics.

My daughter was finally potty trained at 2.5 years old and it was a long, drawn out process. I tried everything and even swore I would NEVER do the M & M candy bribery but I gave into sugar! That didn’t even work. Here are the potty training basics I learned along the way.What did work was my persistence, extreme patience and allowing her to find her own way (after a bit of prepping of course). After a while, she knew what needed to happen when but it was a battle trying to get her to go. Never the less, the day did come and we finally graduated to big girl underwear! In the end, I collected some great tools and tips that every parent should consider. If you’ve gone through the potty training school of hard knocks and have some words of wisdom to share please don’t be shy – share them here.

Potty Training Tools

  • Potty Book or Potty Doll
  • Toddler Toilet Seat Cover and/or Small Potty
  • Step Stool
  • Big girl or boy underwear
  • Night time training pants
  • Reward System – stickers, potty chart, grab bag of goodies
  • Waterproof covering for mattress (helps with bed wetting)
  • Egg Timer – you can use an egg timer to set a routine

Potty Training Tips

  • You can start at 18+ months old or earlier but have realistic expectations
  • If you start when baby is much younger than a toddler she should be able to sit down on her own for at least 10 mins without slouching or needing a prop
  • You’ll want to train your child by age 3 especially if they are head to pre-school or daycare
  • The average age to be completely potty trained is 2.5 yrs old
  • Use praise not punishment
  • Don’t ask “Do you want to potty?” instead tell her “Let’s go potty.”
  • Have a routine – take her to the potty several times a day consistently (when waking up, after meals/snacks and before bed)
  • Don’t force – make positive and as natural as possible
  • Have her watch you (should be the same sex) so she can imitate you
  • Small immediate rewards like stickers, potty chart are good motivators
  • Have her choose her favorite big girl or boy underwear (ie. Dora)
  • She should wear clothing that she can easily pull down to potty
  • Teach good hygiene (how to clean private parts, flush and wash hands)


Published on: March 31, 2010
About the Author
Photo of Melissa Moog
Melissa is the founder of Wellness Warrior a resource for moms & dads to connect beyond babyhood, to tell the stories of the bumps they hit along the way and how we shake off the dust and go on to discover the new road before us.
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