Potty training – 9 tips from the expert

When do you start potty training? Well, in general children can't control their bladder or bowel movements before 12 months of age. So how do you approach potty training in the best way?

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Potty training in the bathroom with a mom and her child
Vacations are a great time to start potty training.
Photo: BabyBjörn

Before starting potty training, look for signs your toddler is ready. It could be that they don’t like having a dirty diaper on, or starting to take interest in your trips to the bathroom. Perhaps you have practiced baby potty training, or elimination communication, right from the start and your child is already familiar with the potty?

Today’s diapers are so absorbent that it can be difficult to feel when the diaper is wet.

Dr. Robyn Strosaker, pediatrician at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, offers the following tips to help your child have the best potty training experience possible.

When should I start potty training?

  • 18-24 months. Most young children are ready to begin potty training sometime between 18-24 months. After 24 months, many children enter a phase in which they are developing their independence. It can be trickier to start potty training them then.
  • Vacation. Both family and child need to be ready for potty training. Choose a week when you parents are on hand. Vacations are a great time to start potty training.
  • Signs. To know whether your child is ready, look for these signs that your child is ready to stop using diapers.

Where should I potty train?

  • Favorite spot. The bathroom doesn’t have to be the only place to potty train your child. If there’s any other place in your house where your child likes to spend time, it might be a good idea to have a potty there.
  • Always nearby. Putting the potty in a room where your child usually plays can help him or her get used to the potty and prepare for potty training.
  • Home and away. Bring the potty with you if you’re away from home.

More on child development: When do babies crawl?

How can I help my child? Potty training tips

  • Buy them underpants. Today’s diapers are so absorbent that it can be difficult to feel when the diaper is wet. Try to get your child to wear underpants so that he or she can feel this. If their clothes and their bed get too wet, you can put a diaper over their underpants in the beginning.
  • Less liquids before bedtime. You can help your child stay dry at night by not offering baby formula or other drinks too close to bedtime.
  • Be patient. If problems crop up, don’t make a big deal about it. Take a break from potty training for 2-4 weeks and then try again.

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