On average, babies and toddlers can go through over 8,000 diapers before they are fully potty trained and reputable sources such as the American Academy of Pediatrics say that it can take anywhere from 34 to 38 months for children to be physically and emotionally ready. Of course, every child is different and some are ready as soon as 2 years old while some take some extra time before they show an interest. It’s a milestone that shouldn’t be rushed, yet for parents, especially those who have multiple kids, there’s always the yearning to ditch the diapers as soon as possible. Check out these 10 steps to potty training success.

  1. Look for signs that your child is ready. Talk with your pediatrician at your child’s next well visit if you think your child is showing signs of interest or if you have concerns or challenges.

  2. Wait for the right time. Timing is everything, try to avoid potty training right before going on vacation, when moving, or expecting the birth of a sibling. Choose a point in time when you know you’ll have a little extra time to dedicate to your little one, for instance after the holidays, summer break or when you can anticipate a lighter work schedule.

  3. Prepare by choosing the right kind of child-appropriate potty. Decide if you prefer a free standing mini potty, or the type that goes on top of your family’s regular toilet. If you choose the later, be sure to purchase a step stool so your child can easily access the toilet. Let them pick out their own with their favorite Disney character etc.

  4. Buy training pants before you start. Buy lots of them, your child will go through many pairs a day. Toddlers realize quickly that underwear doesn’t absorb and this creates it’s own learning curve. Plan to buy a few extra pair of underwear and a change of clothes to keep in a Ziploc bag in the trunk of your car for emergencies. Always keep wipes, hand sanitizer, and an empty gallon size Ziploc bag (for soiled clothes) on hand.

  5. Purchase books about potty training. There are many books available at local book stores in and around Ahwatukee like Changing Hands Bookstore that are designed for kids with pictures and simple language you can read along with them. Encourage your child to ask questions and give answers that are simple to understand.

  6. Make a routine. A trip to the potty should be the first thing your child does when they wake up, go to bed, after every time they eat or drink something and every couple of hours in between. Even if they don’t go every time, keep in the same routine every day.

  7. Keep it fun. Read a book to them while they are on the potty, play a game, or even just sing a song to pass the time.

  8. Teach proper hygiene. Teach them how to wipe front to back, don’t just do it for them every time.

  9. Praise and praise often. Even if they don’t actually go, still give them praise for trying and don’t get upset if they get off the potty and then immediately have an accident. Stay positive and don’t get discouraged or scold them. Create a reward system with stickers once they get the hang of it.

  10. Stress the importance of washing their hands every time they go to the restroom. This is a habit you’ll want to create early so that it sticks with them as they gain independence at school and at friend’s houses.