Potty training – 9 tips from the expert

When do you start potty training? Well, in general children can't control their bladder or bowel movements before 12 months of age. So how do you approach potty training in the best way?

BABYBJÖRN Magazine - Potty training in the bathroom with a Mum and her tot
Vacations are a great time to start potty training.
Photo: BabyBjörn

Before starting potty training, look for signs your toddler is ready. It could be that they don’t like having a dirty nappy on, or starting to take interest in your trips to the bathroom. Perhaps you have practiced baby potty training, or elimination communication, right from the start and your child is already familiar with the potty?

Today’s nappies are so absorbent that it can be difficult to feel when the nappy is wet.

Dr Robyn Strosaker, paediatrician at University Hospital’s Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, USA, has the following tips to help your child have the best potty training experience possible.

When should I start potty training?

Where should I potty train?

  • Favorite spot. The toilet doesn’t have to be the only place to potty train your child. If there’s any other place in your house where your child likes to spend time, it might be a good idea to have a potty there.
  • Always nearby. Putting the potty in a room where your child usually plays can help them to get used to the potty and prepare for potty training.
  • Home and away. Take the potty with you if you’re away from home.

More on child development: When do babies crawl?

How can I help my child? Potty training tips

  • Buy them underpants. Today’s nappies are so absorbent that it can be difficult to feel when the nappy is wet. Try to get your child to wear pants so he or she can feel this. If there are frequent little accidents, you can put a nappy over the pants in the beginning.
  • Less liquids before bedtime. You can help your child stay dry at night by not offering baby formula or other drinks too close to bedtime.
  • Be patient. If problems crop up, don’t make a fuss about it. Take a break from potty training for 2-4 weeks, and then try again.