Potty Training Tips from a Pediatrician - WellBeing by Well.ca
June is National Potty Training Month! To make the potty training process a bit easier, our friends at BABYBJÖRN have put together a list of top potty training tips from Dr. Robyn Strosaker, a paediatrician at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.
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Diapering & Potty

Potty Training Tips from a Pediatrician

June is National Potty Training Month! To make the potty training process a bit easier, our friends at BABYBJÖRN have put together a list of top potty training tips from Dr. Robyn Strosaker, a pediatrician at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.

First things first, how do you know how you’re ready for you and your little one to start the potty training process?

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Signs of Potty Training Readiness
  • You’re changing diapers less. If your little one is staying dry for an hour or two at a time or if they wake from nap or nighttime and they are still dry, this could mean they are ready to start potty training.
  • Their bowel movements become predictable.
  • If you start to notice a pattern to their potty habits, it may be a good time to pull out the training potty.
  • They don’t like having a dirty diaper or announce that they need to be changed. This may become a common conversation in your house, but it’s a great indication of potty readiness!
  • They talk the talk. If they start communicating with you & mentioning words like “pee” and “poop,” they are well on their way to potty independence.
  • They walk the walk. Your curious toddler may start to take an interest in your trips to the bathroom. If so, talk to them about what you are doing and encourage them to do the same!

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Potty Training Tips

When?

  • Most children can be ready to start potty training between 18-24 months. Children will train easier before 24 months; some can become willful after that point.
  • Both the family and the child need to be ready. Review the signs of readiness and make a plan with your significant other.
  • If your child is having trouble, stop for 2-4 weeks and then try to restart.
  • Find a time when you can be around during the week to start potty training. Summer vacations or holidays are the best times.

How?

  • Sticker charts are great. If your child earns a certain number of stickers, they can earn a non-food reward.
  • If your child still wants to go in their diaper, take them out of it. If they are wearing underwear, they will feel uncomfortable when they are wet. If you are concerned about the mess, you can put the underpants on under the diaper. For those kids who don’t like wearing underpants, encourage them to wear them for a short time and offer rewards when they keep them clean and dry.

As a side note, there is nothing developmentally different between pull-ups and a diaper. Training will go quicker with underpants.

Where?

  • If your child has a certain area of the house he/she prefers to go potty in, it might be a good idea to get a portable potty and let him/her try that.
  • Put the portable potty in a room where the child typically plays to help them get used to the idea.

Other Considerations

  • Most kids aren’t ready to be dry at night until they start waking up dry from naps and some mornings.
  • To help keep them dry at night, stop liquids 2-3 hours after dinner, depending on your child’s bedtime.
  • When traveling: take a portable potty or potty seat with you, but you may need pull-ups for long car trips or plane rides.

What’s your best potty training story?

Written by Dr. Robyn Strosaker, Pediatrician at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital

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Please Keep In Mind

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness. You must consult with your professional health care provider before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking, varying the dosage of or ceasing to take any medication.

35 Comments
  • Elishia Cowell
    Posted at 10:21h, 23 June Reply

    I don’t have any experience yet as my daughter is only 3 months old, but everyone tells me it comes quickly!

  • z
    Posted at 10:21h, 23 June Reply

    We’re not quite there yet with our little… but, when my brother was being toilet trained my mom left his potty outside with us while we were playing. He seemed to understand that liquid went into the potty, but hadn’t quite realized where the liquid came from. While we were playing, he went by a tree for some privacy to pee. He then walked over to the potty and poured water from his sippy cup in the potty. Right away, he clapped and cheered for himself. He was so proud that he put liquid in the potty. : )

  • Kira
    Posted at 11:58h, 23 June Reply

    Our son is almost 8 months old and we’ve been using cloth diapers from the beginning! I love all the options well.ca has for cloth diapering! I’m hoping that our son will be potty trained sooner because of the cloth diapers. I can already tell he hates being wet!

  • michele
    Posted at 12:12h, 23 June Reply

    my daughter is just about ready to be potty trained, with my older son when i trained him we used fruit loops to aim at when peeing..he thought it was so fun he asked to go to the potty all the time…the best is when we were in a restaurant and he asked to use the potty and yells in the bathroom i got you sucker..the green one is going down ..mommy see aim fire..peeep goooooo… I had to explain to the other ladies what was going on…

  • Carey Hurst
    Posted at 12:14h, 23 June Reply

    I don’t really have a story for my second , he is 3 and trying to heave him potty train is really hard this time. It’s just me and him in the home and not having his body part is a hindrance I say .
    My oldest was trained before heneas even 2, but my second I need help .lol .
    I know he will go when he is ready though and honestly I don’t “train” my children to do anything , I coach . 🙂

  • Leanne
    Posted at 12:16h, 23 June Reply

    We are trying to potty train our 2 year old, and we will regularly ask her if she wants to try going pee on the potty. She will tell us, “nooooooooo, not today. Maybe tomorrow. I too little.” Well then. I guess she knows best 😉

  • Celine
    Posted at 12:18h, 23 June Reply

    We are not there yet either. We keep trying. The best story I have is how my son loves to use his potty seat as a hat 🙂

    • Cori Myles
      Posted at 15:01h, 23 June Reply

      I definitely did this as a child! To this day, it’s one of my mom’s favourite stories! 🙂
      – Cori

  • Alexis
    Posted at 12:21h, 23 June Reply

    Because we live in a rural area, men and boys often utilize the great outdoors. When visiting a nearby big city with our twin boys in potty training, all that they talked about was “In cities…..we don’t pee outside.” I was simply glad that they remembered.

  • KB
    Posted at 12:23h, 23 June Reply

    We are right in the midst of this now. For us it has been a lot about following our little one’s lead. We bought our first potty quite a while ago for her to be accustomed to seeing it there (but would love another so I don’t have to carry this one around the house). Now we find that showing her we have confidence in her is our best tool. When she is allowed to go independently when she needs to she is so much more proud than if we ask her at every 30 minutes if she needs to use the potty. To help this along we have had discussions about listening to our body and the things it tells us – hungry, thirsty, tired, need to pee etc.

  • Rachel
    Posted at 12:34h, 23 June Reply

    My Daughter is not showing signs of being ready yet, but I have a story of when I was a teenager babysitting my cousin.

    I had him on the potty waiting for him to do his thing, but his sister needed my attention downstairs, so I left him for a little while to tend to her. When I came upstairs he was completely naked, and had climbed up on the bathroom counter with the detachable hand shower. He was peeing through it… trying to get it into the sink… It was quite the mess.

  • Veronica Cantin
    Posted at 12:38h, 23 June Reply

    For my story, you’ll need to know that our one cat is potty trained (yes, its possible) and for our daughter’s potty seat we bought one of those 3 in 1 setups that can be used as a seat on the floor, toilet, or as a stool. So, there is a Styrofoam insert that sets in the seat for comfort. The cat was howling away in the bathroom, when i found her, she was stuck in the seat insert and couldn’t get it off. Since then we keep the bathroom closed and only let her use the litter box.

  • heidi
    Posted at 12:52h, 23 June Reply

    We potty trained at 2 years old – reward system via jujubes worked like a charm 😉 to this day she still cheers when she uses the toilet and demands a treat!

  • Patty
    Posted at 12:52h, 23 June Reply

    My girls are still in their PullUps and we are working together for potty-training. I’m always open for tips especially when both of them have autism.

    I have a very endearing story to share.

    Two siblings were always together all the time, the oldest would teach the youngest what to do. The youngest was able to pick up on everything earlier and ahead of schedule however this one time it was much different. Toilet training was done differently. Mom walked in on her daughter’s proudest milestone, toilet training accomplished by her big brother! Mom was puzzled how her son did this and would follow the duo to the bathroom. Mom saw her very proud daughter straddling the toilet. Smiling and singing, “I’m a big girl now!”

  • Angela Mitchell
    Posted at 12:52h, 23 June Reply

    My son is 2 1/2 but I haven’t been able to get him interested. He refuses any attempts to potty train him. I’m laying off for awhile and looking for more signs he may be ready before I start again.

  • Brandi
    Posted at 12:53h, 23 June Reply

    My little man is almost ready to start training. We have been sitting him on the toilet- while we fill the bathtub- since he was 8 months old, so we’re hoping he will be less afraid of the process. He’s our first child, so we’re learning as we go!

  • Sarah
    Posted at 13:18h, 23 June Reply

    Keep Betty and Verconica comic books in the bathroom and when you go pee have your little one sit on their toilet at the same time.

  • Adina H.
    Posted at 13:26h, 23 June Reply

    I’ll never forget when my toddler nephew squatted down and pooped right on my kitchen floor. Not quite what we were hoping for, but a step away from diapers nonetheless. My sister and I still laugh about it.

  • Katy
    Posted at 13:36h, 23 June Reply

    My son is 15 months so we haven’t started to potty train quite yet, but he has figured out how to remove his diapers so we best be starting soon!

  • Jany
    Posted at 14:17h, 23 June Reply

    My LO is only 6 months, so still some time until potty training. Here’s a story from my hubby: when he was a baby growing up in China, he was put on top of a barrel to do his business, since there weren’t potties. Also, after a certain age, he didn’t wear cloth diapers (one folded piece of fabric), but just had a slit in the middle of his pants, so it was easy to do his business outside.

    • Cori Myles
      Posted at 12:18h, 29 June Reply

      Congrats Jany! You’ve been randomly selected as our winner! Please send us an email to info@well.ca with your mailing address so that we can get your prize to you.

      Thanks for sharing your husband’s story with us, and congratulations again!

  • Heather
    Posted at 14:37h, 23 June Reply

    My daughter is 18 months old, we havent started training yet and I find the whole process quite daunting- this article helped!
    When my neice was training she actually would go outside with the dog rather than use the potty…

  • Melissa
    Posted at 14:39h, 23 June Reply

    My daughter is just 4 months old so we’re not quite there yet, but I’m hoping to transition her to cloth diapers to make it easier for her to train by feeling wet (so I’ve been told anyway).

    When I was a teen, I used to babysit for a little girl and her sisters. The first afternoon I was there, she told me she needed to go the bathroom (she was 3/3.5 years old). I stood outside the door to give her some privacy as we didn’t know each other that well, when I heard her yell “power wipe”!!! Say what?Apparently her parents forgot to mention they still helped her wipe with #2’s – and this was her “call” for assistance. I was a bit freaked out (I didn’t babysit a lot – especially not toddlers), so I talked one of her older sisters into helping her wipe that day – LOL.

  • Ashley G
    Posted at 15:17h, 23 June Reply

    My son pooped right in the middle of my sister’s kitchen during potty training time lol He just squatted and went! It was honestly one of the funniest things ever! My sister wasn’t too thrilled though lol

  • Annalisa
    Posted at 15:20h, 23 June Reply

    Our son is showing lots of interest at 19months- but we haven’t quite taken the leap yet. We leave him diaper free much of the time at home, and when we pees or even poops on the floor- he tells us straight away, and brings us to it to clean it up, which he loves helping with 😉 We have a potty out, which he will sit on now and again, but doesn’t like to do so when it’s ‘actually’ time to do so…

  • Nicky
    Posted at 17:30h, 23 June Reply

    Apparently (according to my mom) when I was young I was a great big sister by teaching my younger siblings how to use the potty. I helped sing songs, read books, and play with puppets to help them stay on the potty longer. Those skills will come in handy when it comes time to potty train my little one! 😉

  • Carole Dube
    Posted at 19:10h, 23 June Reply

    My daughter is trying to potty train my granddaughter. They were visiting family and she just decided to poop in the middle of the living room. Haha! It’s harder for her to poop in the toliet. Maybe if she had a potty, it would be easier.

  • Barb W
    Posted at 08:48h, 24 June Reply

    Once my son decided he was ready, it pretty much happened in the blink of an eye. All diapers ceased within a couple weeks!

  • Maja
    Posted at 09:05h, 24 June Reply

    With both of our girls we introduced the potty early for them to be familiar with it. With our older we then did the three day plan just after she turned 2 and it worked really well. Our younger is 20 months and she seems ready. When she sees her older sister on the toilet she wants to go too. But she hasn’t pooed in her potty yet. One time she didn’t have her dipper on (she just peed) and she squated next to her potty and pooed. I think this may turn out to be a challenge. We are going to do a big deal around throwing out the dipper in a few weeks so a new potty would be really great.

  • Amanda R
    Posted at 15:14h, 25 June Reply

    My crazy potty training story well where do i start ……
    Well with my 2nd we were training him and we decided to go outside in the yard to play now I live in a cooperative and we share a big community yard everyone was outside all the kids are playing nicely together all the adults are sitting talking and enjoying the weather when all of a sudden I hear one of the kids say ewww hes peeing I turn and my son was there in the middle of the yard pants down peeing on the grass he said see mom no accidents i made it lol now hopefully he won’t teach his brother to do the same

  • Tiffany Rotulo
    Posted at 15:15h, 25 June Reply

    My 3 year old was potty trained about a week before his third birthday. I felt so much pressure to get him train by age 3. I had it in my head that people would think I was a lazy parent. I was so hard on him to get it done and after months of trying I gave up. Two days later he used the potty by himself and was trained basically over night. Lesson learned! When my now 6 month old gets to potty training age I’m not going to push him so hard. They will learn when they are ready, you can’t force it.

  • Ashley
    Posted at 16:23h, 25 June Reply

    I haven’t trained my little guy yet as he is 16 months old! I’m hoping it will go just as easy for him as it did for the little boy that I look after! I would love to win this to help us along!

  • Julie
    Posted at 18:04h, 25 June Reply

    My daughter is only 8 months, so we’re not quite there yet but thanks for this very informative post! We use cloth diapers and I’ve read it helps with potty training so I’m hoping when the time comes, the transition is smooth. But Izzy’s already a willful child so I’m expecting the worse and hoping for the best…lol!

  • Janet m
    Posted at 20:26h, 26 June Reply

    It is a challenge. I need to stay focused and I like the use of charts. I know we will succeed!!

  • Arianne
    Posted at 21:04h, 14 June Reply

    A friend told us her one year old was using the potty first thing in the morning everyday, so we decided to try it with our 11 month old. It worked! She’s been using the potty in the morning pretty much everyday for the last two months. Hopefully it will make the “real” potty training easier when we get to it.

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