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Start Potty Training With a Routine

Routines are a normal part of our daily lives: We go to work and eat meals at regular times and schedule doctor and dentist visits at predictable intervals. We plan our child’s play dates on certain days of the week and set up nap times to give them adequate rest. This provides a sense of order and gives your child the structure she needs to feel secure and confident.

Make Potty Training Work Better!

Potty training works better when you establish the same order and structure, but before you begin, make sure your child is ready. According to Mayo Clinic, many children show signs of being ready for potty training between ages 18 – 24 months. The signs include:

  • Can your child stay dry for up to two hours?
  • Can your child communicate when he or she needs to go?
  • Does your child seem interested in using the toilet or wearing “big kid” underwear?

If your child understands potty training terms like “pee” and “poop” and can communicate at a basic level – either through facial expressions or seeking a private spot when he has to go – it’s time to buy a potty seat and begin.

Our NextStep2™is your partner in setting up a potty training routine. Instead of a traditional potty chair that sits on the floor, susceptible to tips and spills, the NextStep2 features a built-in potty seat that attaches magnetically to the cover. When your child is finished using the toilet, she can flush herself, giving her a real “big kid” feeling.

Now that you’re set up for success, it’s time to start a routine. Plan ahead to stay at home for a few days to give you and your child a good start.

  • Right after your child wakes, set them on the potty seat. They will begin to associate waking with the sensation of a full bladder.
  • After meals, set your child on the potty seat. This builds another association between eating and recognizing when it’s time to use the toilet.
  • Many resources suggest having your child use the potty seat every hour. Because children become involved in play and often ignore or miss the signs that their bladder needs to be emptied, you’ll have to interrupt play for a quick trip to the bathroom. If this doesn’t work for your family, be on hand to monitor your child and watch for signs that she needs to use the bathroom.
  • Make rewards part of your routine. As your child makes the connection between going potty on the toilet and getting a small reward, the routine will begin to “stick” and become effective.

Prevent Power Struggles

When you focus, gently, on a routine, it helps prevent power struggles and contests of the will. Your goal is to help children build a healthy habit that will let them gain independence and promote self-control. 

And if the routine isn’t working, or if a struggle builds, step back and try again in a few weeks or a month. Potty training isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, so building a routine and a timeline that works for your family is key.

Read our other potty training articles here:

Stuck In a Potty Training Tug of War?

Is My Child Ready for Potty Training?

Why Is My Toddler Still Wetting the Bed?

Five Effective Rewards for Potty Training