Toilet training can be frustrating, for both you and your child. However, there are steps you can take to make it easier on your whole family (and perhaps cut down on the number of accidents!):

  • Be consistent in your approach. As with many kinds of learning, it’s easier for your child to learn what to expect and they are encouraged to do things the same way time after time.
  • If you’re comfortable with the idea, show your child how to use a toilet yourself. Sit on the toilet and show how to use it correctly and demonstrate what toilet paper is used for. For boys, it’s best to teach them to sit while urinating at first. This makes it easier to learn to have bowel movements while seated and minimizes messes related to bad aim.
  • Read books featuring positive toilet training experiences. Look for books that show children learning how to use the toilet to demystify the whole process.
  • Be positive and use lots of praise! Toilet training is a skill that takes practice, but your toddler will probably be motivated. Most children want to be “big boys” and “big girls” and learn how to use a toilet like an adult. Children respond to praise and want to succeed. The whole experience will be more successful when you celebrate her achievements instead of shaming her for accidents. Using small rewards, such as a healthy treat or a sticker may be all the encouragement a child needs to return to the potty again and again.
  • Teach cues. Your child might have bowel movements at the same time every day or after eating. Encourage your child to recognize the feeling of a full bladder or impending bowel movement, and then ask, “Is it potty time?” At first, even if your child says no, it helps to take them to the bathroom on a regular schedule and give them the opportunity.
  • Avoid clothes that your child can’t get off without help. Complicated buttons and snaps make it harder for your child to make it to the potty on time.
  • Nighttime dryness is often the last hurdle in successful potty training. It may be a good idea at first for your child to continue wearing a diaper or pull-up at night. You will know that your child is ready for underwear overnight when he or she is consistently dry in the morning.
  • If your toddler starts to react against toilet training, step back and take a break. Often even a break of only a couple weeks may be all your child needs to get back on track.


  • Make sure everyone is on the same page with how you are going to potty train your child—daycare providers, grandparents, and family friends.
  • Look for cues your child might be getting ready to have a bowel movement and take them to the potty chair.
  • Be patient! If your toddler has a difficult time at first, take a step back and try again in a little while.


  1. Pediatrics. “Toilet Training Guidelines: Parents—The Role of the Parents in Toilet Training.”


  1. My 3 year old son was doing well with training and then suddenly he wouldn’t unless I kept asking or made him. (and every time he had to pee though he said no) he will poop in the potty, no problem, but isn’t peeing unless I ask or make him.. What do I do?

  2. I would like to have my 21 month old potty trained by the time his little brother arrives. He so far does number one in his potty and lets me know when he needs to poop but we never seem to make it on time! I work 9am through 5pm on weekdays so this gets in the way of our training. Any advice?

  3. we have used the showing how your toddler to use the bathroom she always coming in the bathroom when mother or sister is in bathroom once we started to tell her how to use it and what it is for we started to use either her toilet or the big kids toilet at first she would sit on the toilet get off pull her pull up back up and then pee in the pull up so we had to sit her on the toilet every 5 mins to see if she would finally do it. one day she did it and we haven’t looked back. the next step is for her to continuously poop in the toilet.

    1. Toilet training takes a lot of patience! Sounds like you have done a great job with your little one!


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