12 Potty Training Tips for Toddlers 2-3 Years Old


In my 10 years of being a preschool/daycare teacher I have spent quite a bit of time in the potty training room at work. So I know a thing or two about potty training toddlers.

I have also single handedly potty trained my own child with the tips I am about to share with you, some of the tips here may be contradicting to popular opinions but I assure you, they work.

I know it is daunting and overwhelming potty training a toddler merely because, shall I say it, bodily fluids.

Admit it, its gross and you’d rather not.

But seriously do you want to keep changing that big baby’s diaper with the BIG poops for longer than you absolutely have to?!

You have to make sure you are in the right mindset and ready yourself, which by the looks of you reading this blog post, YOU are ready mama! (or daddy)

But first, is your toddler ready?

Here are some obvious signs to look for…

What are the signs that your toddler is ready to Potty train?

  • They show interest in the potty by always flushing or sitting on it pretending to go themselves. They will also be interested in what you are doing on the potty too.
  • They start dressing and undressing themselves without any help.
  • They stay dry most of the day.
  • They start telling you they peed or pooped, which means they know when they go.
  • They can follow simple directions by you telling them step by step instructions for a task.
  • They can communicate with you no problem.
  • Your toddler can run and walk effortlessly.

As you can see there are many factors that go into if your toddler is ready to be potty trained, so if they show any of these signs then its a go!

What age should a child be Potty trained by?

A toddler should start potty training at the age of 2 years old. Boys may take a little longer than girls. They should be fully potty trained by 3 years old in most cases.

If your toddler is not showing any signs of potty training after 3 years old, whether they are a boy or a girl, seek medical advice.

What is the best way to Potty train a toddler?

below are the absolute best ways to potty train a toddler from my 10 years experience working in a preschool and in the potty training room (2 year old room)

These pro tips will get your toddler going to the bathroom in no time, just be patient because it is a process.

If your toddler is in a daycare or preschool setting and you are trying to get them potty trained to move to the 3 year old room (where they have to be potty trained to go to), don’t worry, I do not mean to toot my own horn (toot toot) but I got you…

If you are a stay at home mom and just need to stop spending so much money on diapers (or those pull ups aren’t working), I got you too mama!

Keep the Potty a positive experience

I’ll be the first to admit, potty training a toddler is stressful. We never show them how stressful it is because it might just backfire on us.

If your toddler is scared or nervous about the potty already or if they are new to it, always keep it positive while in the bathroom.

This could look like…

“Wow you are doing so good right now what a BIG boy”

Or

“Look at you being a big girl on the potty good job!”

You get what I mean. Stay positive. Show no signs of frustration.

The last thing you want is your toddler being scared of the potty, or frustrated because they see you stressing out.

Having your toddler associate the bathroom and the potty as a positive experience will make the process of potty training your toddler a breeze.

Choose the right Potty

Honestly I wouldn’t even get a toddler potty like this one merely because in the future it could be hard for them to go on the big potty.

Instead of choosing the right potty training toilet you can choose the right accessories for the potty you already have, the bathroom toilet.

You can get a toddler stool like this one (on Amazon) and a potty training seat like this one on Amazon. These two things alone will make your toddler feel like the biggest boy or a girl in the whole wide world.

As long as you set up the bathroom for optimal potty training success you will have a positive outcome.

But if you insist on getting a potty training potty…

Choose the right location for the Potty

Always keep the potty training toilet in the bathroom where you actually go potty.

Your toddler might get the wrong idea if you keep the potty in the living room for convenience or anywhere else in the house for that matter.

Keeping the toilet in the bathroom will also ensure that your toddler knows what to do after they go, which is flush.

If the toilet is in the bathroom where it should be then you can dump it in front of them and have them help you flush the toilet right after they go.

I know some potty training articles tell you to wait to flush the toilet until they aren’t in the bathroom because they may be frightened by the noise, but it’s really a good idea to desensitize your toddler from the beginning.

It can still be a super positive experience even with flushing involved.

Read Potty training positivity books to your toddler

There are literally so many books about potty training positivity you can find on Amazon here.

But my absolute favorite books for potty training your toddler are:

Putting a little basket with potty training books next to their potty would be the perfect motivation for them to sit on the toilet and do their business.

You can even choose to read your toddler a potty time book every night before bed and every morning before the first bathroom break.

Play up the underwear

If you take anything from this post this is the advice that completely trained my child personally.

I hyped up the underwear hard-core.

I brought him to target and got him a couple of packs of underwear with his most favorite characters on them.

He was so excited about them and about potty training so he wanted wear them immediately.

Ge chose Pokémon, Elmo and micky mouse.

I can’t express how important it is to emphasize and hype up this awesome super cool big boy or girl underwear‘s.

Ditch the diapers all together

This point goes along with the last point of the underwear hype.

I literally just ditched the diapers all together. I know, daring shall I say.

We went from diapers to underwear in 0.2 seconds.

Yes he had accidents that he was very disappointed he ruined his really super cool big boy underwear from.

This only motivated him to actually go to the bathroom when he felt the urge to go. To avoid ruining his precious underwear.

And don’t think we didn’t do this in the potty training room at school too.

You bet we did! With parents permission and cooperation of course.

We had these kids potty trained in less than a week every time with this method.

DO NOT use pullups for Potty training!

Pull ups hinder potty training. The rumors are true. So don’t buy into the hype.

I know it is really tempting because they can be pulled up and down like underwear and still catch accidents when they happen.

I mean, you might as well just call pull-ups diapers 2.0 because that’s basically what they are.

They absorb the pee just like diapers. Who wants that? How does that help?

It’s actually confusing to a child.

Your child needs to feel it in their underwear running down their leg no matter how gross that sounds it’s the only way.

They are not going to want to feel that uncomfortableness and they will think twice before FOMO kicks in and they think they can hold it longer than they actually can.

Yes, it’s more work for you for maybe a week or so… but come on now, you wanna ditch the diapers right? Don’t go for the crutch!

Don’t do it girl.

It’s not worth it.

The money is wasted and the potty training takes longer.

Get big kid underwear’s on them and buckle up for the ride.

The same works for pooping in their underwear.

My son knew if he pooped in his pants I cut those underwear’s right off him and they went in the garbage. Bye bye micky.

He couldn’t imagine that happening to every single underwear he has!

So he stopped what he was doing and started going when he knew he had to go in order to avoid another long lost super hero underwear.

It took about 2 accidents for him to come to his senses and recognize what he needed to do.

That goes for most of the kids in my potty training room as well. They catch on quickly. Trust me.

Use a Potty training reward system

If by chance your child is taking a bit longer especially to poop.

Then you can use a potty training reward systems, but only for a short period of time!

Kids will actually pretend to go go for no reason just for a reward otherwise.

So use this option sparingly.

To be honest, I never use this option. It creates a bad habit and could cause regression if rewards are stopped out of nowhere. So use this tactic with caution, you have been warned.

Have them go to the bathroom every hour or so (set a timer)

Having a potty training routine is super helpful especially in the very beginning of toilet training your toddler.

A routine can just look as simple as going to the bathroom every hour.

Using a visual schedule can also be super helpful for your toddler with their bathroom times.

Giving them plenty of time to go to the bathroom and experiencing having clean underwear for long periods of time through out the day could do the trick.

When they do have an accident they won’t like it because they are so used to being clean.

It’s a pretty genius concept if you ask me. So don’t skip this part.

Use the potty with them

Considering you have a little potty in the bathroom for your toddler you can easily use this tip.

Using the potty with your toddler can encourage them to be just like mommy or daddy.

You can even have a doll with a potty next to them if they’re using the toilet.

After all, they say monkey see monkey do and that is mostly true.

Using the bathroom with your toddler can help them look forward to potty time every time.

Give it a shot next potty break.

Motivate with music

I had to add this tip because it reminds me of the time when I was potty training a little boy in my class.

He particularly did not like pooping in the potty.

He went potty just fine for number one, but number two was a constant battle.

So my coworker had a brilliant idea of playing music for him to help him “push it out.”

Of course you will never guess what song we played that actually helped him poop in the potty.

Push it by salt n pepa… I kid you not.

This song literally had him pooping in the potty!

We only played the beginning chorus.

It was hilarious but effective non the less, don’t you think?

Try it out yourself… you and your toddler may get a kick out of it.

Stay consistent

Last but not least STAY CONSISTENT.

There’s nothing more than gaining a little bit of progress and losing it in one day because you weren’t consistent enough to follow through.

Unfortunately this happens a lot. I know you get busy but this is something that is vital to your child’s growth and development.

If you work a lot and your child is in preschool, have a solid potty training plan with their teacher in place and stick to it at home too.

If you are a stay at home mom, this should be easy for you to accomplish, just keep working at it every single day and you will see progress.

Now, after sharing this information with other moms, get off this blog post and go buy your child some big kid underwear!

Jennifer LoVerde

Hey there! Jennifer here, and I run this website. I am a mommy to one amazing little boy + Childcare and development professional (10+ yrs). I created this website to provide useful information about pregnancy and newborn care, & inspire you to live your best mom life!

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