The ABCs of Potty Training: Tips, Tricks, and Triumphs


Toilet training represents a significant and vital milestone during the early stages of a child’s development. It is commonly recommended that children undergo toilet training between the ages of 18 to 24 months. This process offers numerous health advantages and prepares children for the next phase of their development, such as preparing them for school and other milestones.

In addition to its benefits to children, toilet training also offers advantages to parents. For example, successful toilet training saves on monthly diaper costs, improves parents’ ability to move around with their children, and reduces stress and parental burnout.

Nevertheless, guiding your children through toilet training is more challenging than it may seem. There are a lot of obstacles that parents face during their journey of toilet training their children. This article aims to assist you in comprehending valuable tips and strategies for successfully toilet training your children.

Overcoming common challenges

There are several popular challenges that are experienced by parents when they toilet-train their children. Let’s dive into these challenges and how you can conquer them:

Toilet fear

It is reported that many children experience toilet fear on their first time of toilet training. There are several reasons why this can happen. Some children might be afraid of the sound of the flushing toilet or being in the bathroom, and others might feel uncomfortable with the idea of sitting in the potty for quite some time by themselves. 

A highly recommended approach to address this issue is introducing the tools you’ll use in the toilet training process. Familiarizing your children with these tools can help them feel more at ease with their usage. Moreover, actively supporting and participating in your children’s potty training journey can reduce the intimidating atmosphere often associated with the process.


Many parents feel overly stressed out when their children show signs of regression during toilet training. Little did they know, regression is normal and common to happen during every child’s milestones. 

Regression in toilet training might come in the form of bedwetting after successfully being toilet-trained. Referring to this, parental stress might become worse when their child is about to enter school, especially because being toilet trained is one of the important signs of school readiness.

A child who has previously stayed dry but suddenly experiences wetting accidents may encounter emotional challenges, often stemming from significant routine changes or disruptions. To address this, it is strongly recommended to demonstrate unwavering emotional and physical support for your child. Engage in open communication by asking your child about the situation and collaborating on potential solutions to get back on track with toilet training.

Another potential reason for a child regressing after successful toilet training could be related to their physical health. Wetting accidents may indicate underlying issues such as bladder infections, constipation, or type 1 diabetes. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to consult a healthcare professional to uncover the underlying causes and promptly initiate necessary treatment.

Creating a positive environment

Creating a supportive and encouraging environment plays a crucial role in toilet training’s success. Such an environment reduces children’s feelings of intimidation and anxiety associated with the process, facilitating a positive and confident transition into this important milestone.

Read more: Toilet Training and Why It is Crucial for Parents 

To create a more toilet training-friendly bathroom environment, there are several steps you can take. One effective approach is selecting a potty chair that is appropriately sized for your child’s comfort and ease of use. Additionally, adding potty stickers to the toilet can make it more visually engaging and appealing to young children, encouraging them to use it confidently. These simple adjustments can help transform the bathroom into a welcoming and supportive space for the toilet training journey.

Positive reinforcement 

When parents or caregivers provide encouragement, patience, and positive reinforcement, children are more likely to feel at ease during this developmental phase. This, in turn, can lead to a more relaxed and successful toilet training experience, as children are less anxious and more motivated to embrace this new skill.

Positive reinforcement can be done in several ways. Here are some useful tips and tricks for reinforcing positivity during toilet training:

Provide support

First and foremost, consistently encouraging your children to stay committed to their toilet training goals creates a sense of purpose and motivation. Reassure them of your constant presence and unwavering support throughout the process, emphasizing that you’re there to help them every step of the way. Celebrating their achievements, no matter how small, with praise and excitement can boost their confidence and self-esteem. 

Practice empathy

Equally important is demonstrating empathy and understanding when your child encounters setbacks and accidents, assuring them that you empathize with their feelings and remain firmly on their side throughout the toilet training journey. This multifaceted approach fosters a positive and nurturing environment for your child’s development.

Give rewards

Lastly, giving rewards toward your child’s toilet training milestones can also be an option for parents to maintain the process of toilet training positive. Small and simple rewards such as stickers, interactive toys, your child’s favorite food, and even going out to the park can contribute to the child feeling a sense of celebration and accomplishment.

The role of consistency

Consistency is a widely acknowledged principle in achieving goals. It holds true in the context of toilet training as well. Establishing consistent routines aids children in comprehending the structure of their daily activities. 

In line with this, developing a well-thought-out toilet training plan can be a valuable tool for parents navigating the potty training journey. By adhering to a structured plan, parents can provide their children with a clear and predictable framework for toilet training, fostering a smoother and more successful transition.

Initiating a potty training plan can begin by establishing a designated schedule for potty breaks. This schedule can typically involve intervals of every 30-60 minutes each day, though it’s important to customize it to suit your child’s unique habits and needs. Alternatively, you can synchronize potty time with key daily activities such as meals, waking up in the morning, and bedtime. By aligning potty breaks with these routine events, you create a natural and predictable rhythm that helps children develop a consistent toilet training routine. 

Introducing your children to the established routine not only aids them in recognizing cues for when to use the potty but also promotes healthy habits that can benefit their overall development. This consistency fosters a sense of predictability and responsibility, which can contribute positively to their future growth and well-being.

Managing accidents

As mentioned, accidents are one of the challenges of toilet training. However, many parents misunderstood accidents as potty training regression, making them think they are failing the toilet training process. 

It’s important to keep in mind that when your children unexpectedly have accidents after being successfully toilet trained or display resistance towards using the bathroom, these occurrences are quite common and should not be cause for excessive concern. Instead, parents should strive to maintain a calm and positive attitude throughout the toilet training process, understanding that occasional setbacks are a normal part of the journey

Mishaps can occur during potty training, including daytime and nighttime wetting. Here are some thoughtful strategies for handling these situations:

  • When you’re on the go, ensure you have spare clothing available, particularly underwear. Nevertheless, refrain from immediately changing your child’s attire after an accident. Instead, have a constructive conversation with your child, emphasizing the importance of not wetting themselves in the future.
  • Stay energetic and encouraging when motivating your child to use the bathroom.
  • Steer clear of raising your voice or scolding your child in the event of accidents.

Transitioning to nighttime training

Nighttime potty training typically requires a longer duration than daytime training, often spanning approximately a year to achieve full success. The challenges encountered during nighttime potty training are similar to those faced during the daytime phase. However, addressing these challenges can be more taxing for parents, as nighttime is typically associated with rest and relaxation, making it potentially more stressful to manage the process effectively.

Introducing training pants into your nighttime potty training routine can prove to be beneficial. Unlike diapers, training pants absorb your children’s urine and provide a cue by feeling wet, helping them learn to control and hold their pee. Additionally, using protective bedding on your children’s bed can help prevent any mess caused by urine leakage at night, making the process more manageable for parents and children.

In conclusion

Beyond its significance, toilet training is undeniably a vibrant and crucial aspect of early childhood development. It demands a substantial investment of time, dedication, and patience from parents and children to ensure its success. 

Challenges are a typical part of any child’s developmental milestones. Yet, there’s no need to be overly concerned, as there are valuable tips and strategies, such as fostering positive reinforcement and enjoying the process mindfully, which are available to make your toilet training journey smoother. Ultimately, with perseverance and the right approach, successful toilet training can be achieved, leading to transformative benefits for parents and children.

If you would like to see more resources on toilet training, check out the Parenting Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Visit the Parenting Science Labs today.

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