There’s no right or wrong way to potty train your toddler. You have to pick a potty training method that’s best suited to your child’s personality and your lifestyle.
When to start potty training?
Children are generally ready to be potty trained by the age of two, with some starting as early as 18 months, while others only start by the age of three.
Before children are potty trained, it’s important that they are developmentally ready and can comprehend the messages their bodies are sending about the need to wee or poo. Your toddler should also be physically ready to potty train. Bladder and bowel control can only occur once the muscles and nerves involved are fully developed.
3 potty training methods you can try:
1. Practise makes perfect
This is a gradual and less intimidating way of potty training.
How it works:
You show your child the potty, explain what it is for, and then gradually teach her to use it through practice sessions, charting when she gets it right and rewarding her for it, and gradually “weaning” her off nappies.
- It’s convenient and can be fitted into the family routine.
- It’s less stressful.
- It limits accidents.
- It doesn’t teach your child to initiate going to the potty.
- A young child who gets bored easily may lose interest in this method quickly.
2. Wait until the time is right
Being potty trained is a developmental milestone. This method suggests waiting until your child is ready, before teaching her and guiding her on how to use the potty.
How it works:
Your toddler should be a part of the process from the start, helping to pick out the potty and then sitting on it in a nappy. After she’s done her business, show her that the nappy’s contents are emptied into the potty. The next step is to get her to sit on the potty with a bare bottom, until she completes a wee or a poo by herself.
- It’s easy to incorporate into a busy family schedule.
- This method may take some time, as each child learns at her own pace.
- Accidents might be frequent.
3. Bare-bottoms up
This child-based method relies on the child not liking it when her bottom is wet or dirty.
How it works:
Let your toddler run around naked, or at least with a bare bottom, to come to her own conclusion that it’s unpleasant when she doesn’t do her business in the potty. This method heavily relies on the child’s ability to make logical connections and is mostly used with older toddlers.
- It’s cheap, easy and relatively quick if the child grasps the concept easily.
- There is a huge probability of mess, and that this method doesn’t work the first time around, although experts say it should take between three and five days.
- It might not be successful for all children.
Every child is different, so no single method can be judged to be the best. You know your child better than anyone, so you’ll know which technique will work well. And if one method doesn’t work, simply try another one.
Our experienced editors work with trained journalists and qualified experts to compile accurate, insightful and helpful information about pregnancy, birth, early childhood development and parenting. Our content is reviewed regularly by our panel of advisors, which include medical doctors and healthcare professionals. Meet the Living & Loving Team and our Online Experts.