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Toilet Training Toddlers without the Tears: Tips to Potty Train Your Preschooler Happily

Say Hello to the Potty!

So, by now, you must know whether or not your toddler and you are ready for potty training. Great! Let’s look at some toilet training tips to start the process, free of stress and tears.

Choose the Potty

We started by picking a potty chair that our daughter loved. It is pink, had Peppa Pig stickers and shaped like a comfortable chair. Totally cool and comfortable. Next, I remember the big deal we made about the potty chair. We clapped and praised her for just sitting on it and trying it on. We put her dolls on to the chair and the, told them that “This is Manini’s potty chair. You have to ask her before using it.” She was thrilled and naturally, wanted to sit on it all the time. Yes, even during meals. The idea is to not just bring out the potty chair one day and expect your toddler to fall in love with it. If he does do that, great. Else, I’d recommend choosing a potty that pleases your baby, is comfortable to sit on and then, easing the potty into your toddler’s life and letting him get used to it gradually.

Watch for Signs

Remember how I talked about you being ready for potty training. Well, this is why. You need to be alert and watchful of signs when you think your toddler is ready to poop or pee. If your little one is able to let you know verbally when he wants to go, great. If not, keep a watch on his facial expressions so that you can take him to the potty in time. Also, tune into other signs such as – dirty diaper discomfort, wanting to use the toilet like Mama or Papa and seeking privacy when peeing or pooping. Our daughter would actually want to hide when she would be wanting to go potty and that was my cue to take her to the potty chair.

Prepare Your Preschooler

As with any life change, you must prepare your preschooler and while introducing the potty chair and watching for signs of readiness is a part of the preparation process, it helps if you talk to your toddler about how he’ll be using big boy or big girl underwear and the toilet or potty like Mama and Papa. I also found reading potty training-themed books really helped with our daughter. One of her favourites include a magazine from Tessy and Tab and lately, the Potty Tots story book. She loves it so much we read it every night and even though she is comfortable using the potty and telling us when she needs to go, she loves saying, “ I can do it, Mama like the Potty Tots” **laughing**

Ask and Remind

Even though you’re watching for signs of readiness and have prepared your toddler, you still need to remind, remind and yes, remind some more. Asking them if they want to go is a great way of reminding them that they’re no longer in diapers, disposable or cloth, and will need to use the potty to pee or poop. I would ask her while she would be playing because that was usually when she would be engrossed in something and forget about telling me or paying attention to her own bodily signals.

Dealing with Accidents

Yes, after all the preparing, reminding and asking, there will be accidents and messes. Be positive and patient as you clean up, remind them gently to tell you the next time and repeat how messes in diapers or even, panties can happen but if they tell you then they wouldn’t. I know for a fact that this was the toughest for me. It was like one step forward, two steps back at times but yes, repeating myself and dealing with accidents as calmly as possible really helped.

Praise and Encouragement

This is one area where really you should go overboard with the praise and encouragement. Gone potty on the potty chair? Yay!! Told you when she wanted to pee? Clap and tell her what a big girl she is. Use the stars, the charts and the little junk toys you’ve stashed away. Yes, praise your little one liberally to build up confidence and give them that much-needed dose of encouragement.

Go Slow and Steady

While you may be tempted to rush from the diapers to the underwear in a jiffy, go slow and steady. Let your preschooler get used to staying in underwear during the day before dumping the night time diapers. Be consistent with praise, repetition and reminding. Also, when your toddler is using the potty, let her take her time and not rush her. It’ll allow her to empty her bowels or bladder completely and prevent an accident at the playground.

Stock Up on Potty Training Gear

While I’m not a big fan of fancy gear for toddler development and milestones, I did stock up on a few things that I consider must-haves for a tear-free, stress-free potty training experience:

  • Stash of cotton panties. We made sure that we bought soft cotton ones with comfortable, soft elastic so that they would be easy on her sensitive skin and yes, we did get the ones with Dora and other characters, so that she’d be excited about wearing them.
  • Change of clothes, at least 2, in her preschool bag and in my toddler kit in the car.
  • Mattress covers to protect our mattresses from accidents

What potty training tips worked  or didn’t work for you? 

Join me and Potty Training 101 series sponsor Bumboosa as we simplify toilet training all this month.

Photo Credit: mollypop


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  1. Have a peep at my tried and testing potty training blog. It really worked for me every time!

  2. RJ, the Hope Coach says:

    Wow – I haven’t thought about this subject for a really long time!

    When my sons were ready, I discovered two things about little boys. First, that they have really bad aim, and second, that they respond incredibly well to peer pressure. They were enrolled a couple afternoons a week in a play group, and the roomful of little boys “went potty” every day after snack. Both my sons got into the “game”, and almost magically they were both completely potty trained in about two weeks.

    I learned how to help with the “aim” problem from that same kids group. They put small plastic rings (like those used for kids in swimming pools) in the potty and let the boys “aim” inside them – problem solved!

    RJ, the Hope Coach

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