5 Tips for Stress-Free Potty Training

by - August 11, 2020


Potty training is a major milestone but often considered as one of the most challenging parts of early parenting.

I have read countless online comments from moms—both first-time parents and veteran ones—about the long and difficult process of potty training.

There's also the years-long challenge of overcoming bedwetting.

However, every kid is different. Some take a lot of time to potty train, while others seem to be a natural at it.

If you're in the trenches of potty training, here are some tips for stress-free potty training:

1. Wait and let your child's readiness lead

A child's ability to be potty trained is highly dependent on his/her readiness, both on the cognitive and physical level.

Parenting experts say that while it's considered developmentally "appropriate" to expect 18- to 24-month-olds to be potty trained, some children are not ready yet until they are 3 or 4 years old.

And if you have a boy, it's more expected that they get ready later than girls do.

So if it seems that your toddler isn't interested in potty training yet, the best course of action is to wait and let your child's readiness lead.

2. Know the signs of potty training readiness

More often than not, you may be misled by online articles and books claiming that if you use their same exact methods, you can potty-train your child in just a few days.

However, that's not always the case. If you introduce potty training prematurely, the chances of success are slim.

Knowing the signs of potty training readiness can give you a good idea whether it's the right time for your toddler to be potty trained.

Some of these are the following:

  • Able to maintain being "dry" for at least 2 hours or during nap times.
  • Can walk and/or run steadily.
  • Can pull his/her pants down and/or up.
  • Can sit down patiently in one place for 5 minutes.
  • Is curious about your bathroom habits.
  • Can become uncomfortable when his/her diapers are dirty.
  • Can follow simple instructions.
  • Can verbalize when he/she needs to go.

3. Encourage, encourage, encourage

Encouragement goes a long way when you're training your toddler—be it for potty training or many other developmental milestones.

Praise is just not enough, such as "Good job!"

Be specific in what you find delightful. For example, "Wow, you were able to pee in the potty just in time!"

And whenever there are accidents—and there will be many—stay calm and unruffled, and really mean it.

It's best not to redirect the child. You need to acknowledge his/her accident yet still encourage the toddler.

For example, "Oopsy! You peed in your underwear, and now you're upset that you're dirty. But you did a good job in letting me know that you're peeing! Let's try to pee in the potty next time!"

Or sometimes, a simple "Oh, darling. That's okay. Thank you for trying!" worked really well for us.

4. Read them books, sing them songs

I'm a huge fan of using picture books and songs to teach my toddler.

It's also a fun way to teach children and effective tools in helping them recall the lesson better.

Here are some of the books and songs/videos I used to help K during our potty training:

"Potty Time!" by Caroline Jayne Church

I love how simple and fun this book is, with its short and cute sentences that rhyme, and the "Flush me!" button.

There's also a book reading video of Potty Time! here:

Potty Training Song - Cocomelon

What parent has never heard of Cocomelon? Our toddler loves this particular video

However, when we potty trained, I made up a special potty training song for my toddler that's simple enough so that she can also sing along with me while she peed/pooped.

5. Be gentle; let go of perfection

Lastly, be gentle and kind, both to your toddler and to yourself. Let go of the vision of perfection.

Remember, if your toddler hasn't been potty-trained yet, it's highly likely that he/she isn't ready.

No one keeps a record of your parenting wins, and there surely is no competition on who the best parent is in the world.

I know it's easier said than done. But here's one thing that helped me whenever I try to teach my daughter something:

A child is a whole person from the day he/she is born. 
And as with every person, we learn at our own pace. 
Trust your child.


In a previous post, I shared to you how our toddler was quickly potty-trained. If you'd like to know how we did it, head on to this post: How Our Toddler Was Potty-Trained at 2.6 Years Old

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