5 Tips to Potty Train Your Child

For most parents, potty training is a daunting task (whether it’s kid #1 or #7, like me). We stress, bribe, beg and pray it goes quick and easy. But the fact of the matter is it’s different for each child and there’s not one prescription for perfect potty training. There are, however, tried and true tips that you can put into action to help the process along.  Here are a few tips that have worked great for our family:

  1. Step one—Wait for your child to show signs of readiness, Step two – role model, yes that means letting them watch you in the bathroom, and tell them about the process, Step three – practice with them, have the sit on the potty for 1 to 1.5 minutes around the time they should have to eliminate waste, Step four – use positive reinforcement like praise when they make potty in the toilet. Keep in mind accidents will happen.  Kids often have accidents because they are busy and forget or don’t yet realize how long they can hold it.  When this happens, have them change themselves and put their clothes in the laundry. Don’t get upset with them when it happens continue to be encouraging of their progress. Be prepared for accidents by bringing extra clothes to daycare and when running errands.
  2. Be Patient with the Process—One of the challenges of potty training is that as parents are we want to get through it and be done with the process. One of the mental hurdles we need to get through is allowing the process to work at your child’s pace. Using the Potty Watch can help remind kids to go sit and the potty. That takes the onus off the parent help kids take responsibility for making to the toilet on time. The watch plays a fun tune to help them get excited about the process. You can change the increments as the child’s success rate goes up.
  3. Give Lots of Praise—One of the best ways to help kids be successful with potty training is to use hugs, tickles, praise and positive statements for rewards. A chart to track progress is a great visual to see how they are getting better at using the toilet. If you have a resistant child, use other means of rewards to get them motivated.
  4. Learning to Toilet Train is a Process—Kids need to be able to physically control their body. They need to show signs of readiness emotionally. They need to cognitively be aware of expectations about using the toilet. Step one – Look for signs of readiness, Step two – Explain the process and expectations, Step three – Take the child to the store to pick out big boy underpants or big girl panties, Step four – allow the child to run around naked at home to ease in getting on the potty when they have to go, Step five – praise them for successes.
  5. Toilet Training Should be Fun—Use books and videos to reinforce the idea of going potty on the toilet. Have multiple potty chairs/toilets available. Kids can’t hold it for long periods of time as they are learning to control sensations. Rather than ask if they need to go potty, tell them it’s time to go and sit them on the potty at various time. Watch for behaviors like fidgeting or crossing their legs. Help them to recognize what they are feeling to help increase their success rate. Praise them for their progress. Making a big deal about making potty in the toilet reinforces their desire to do well.

Good luck and happy parenting!


Daddy Nickell


Parenting Expert and father of 7, Robert Nickell (aka Daddy Nickell) offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents.  Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddy & Co., delivery room duds and daddy gifts and apparel for every stage of fatherhood, and the Daily Daddy Blog.  He is also the creator and producer of “My Life as a Dad,” the groundbreaking new web series that showcases celebrity fathers offering their personal experiences and parenting tips.

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