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How to know when to start potty training and tips to make it a success

Every parent dreams about the day they can be done with changing diapers and spending a fortune on nappies … but knowing when your toddler is ready to start potty training and knowing how to go about it can be quite daunting, too. 

The average age is anywhere between one and a half to three years old. Every child has their own timeline, but you might also want to consider whether it’s the right time for your family. This may not seem like it would factor into your decision, but if you toss potty training into an already hectic time, your toddler may begin to associate it with a sense of being out of control rather than one of confidence. Choose a time when work life and family life feels pretty stable and calm.  

Sometimes your toddler is showing you they’re ready with these signs:

  1. They stay dry for an hour or two.
  2. They give a “look,” grunt or say they have to go.
  3. They can understand and follow simple instructions.             
  4. They like wearing training pants instead of diapers.            
  5. They can handle some simple dressing on their own.
  6. They are curious about bathroom habits.

Here are a few tips for when it’s time to prep and gather supplies:

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  1. Early introductions: Get a potty before you start training, so your child gets used to having it around. 
  2. Build excitement: Let your child pick out their own potty in a theme and style that excites them
  3. Give it a dry run: At first, it’s okay to let your toddler sit on the potty and get a feel for it with their clothes on, but reinforce that when it’s time to really go potty, they’ll use it just how you do.
  4. Double time: Use the mini potty in the bathroom and have your child practice going when you go.
  5. Fast-action outfits: When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go, so be sure to dress your child in clothes that they can get out of quickly.
  6. Nighttime: Toddlers are not able to recognize the need to go potty while sleeping until much later, typically around age four or five, so having them wear a pull-on diaper for sleep will not deter any training you’re working on during the day. Once your little one is mastering potty time during the day, you can begin to focus on nighttime.

Find out more at the Fisher-Price Play Lab

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