Parents POV: How do I know when my toddler is ready to potty train?

Peace at Home August 9, 2018

I didn’t know that I had to prepare myself for potty training!

potty training successI kept asking myself, how do I know when my toddler is ready to potty train? The question, I should have been asking is how do I know when my husband and I are ready to potty train our daughter (23 months old). I quickly found that success with potty training mostly depends on parents and caregivers and a 100% commitment to spending the time and sticking to your plan.

We are a busy working couple with demanding jobs. We have a nanny providing care. We really didn’t have a clue on how we to get started and whose responsibility it would be to help our daughter. Maybe our nanny would just handle it for us? Maybe should would just teach herself when she was ready? Ok, this is our responsibility as parents, so what do we do? When we saw Peace At Home Parenting’s Potty Coaching series, we felt that the small financial investment might yield some answers.

Here are some strategies that really helped us succeed at potty training with our two year old daughter. Of course, we also had the encouragement of the coaching group to help guide us!

  1. Start using normal bathroom and body part talk – if possible, have everyone in the house and caregivers using the same words (“pee” and “poop” or whatever works in your household). It helps if they have words for potty, maybe its sign language or another word – my daughter said “CaCa.” Initially, she only said it when she was pooping, but after 3 dedicated days of potty training, she also could indicate when she had to pee. We’re still working on her learning and using other words. 
  2. Demonstrate and talk about what is happening as much as possible – especially with younger children and toddlers, they are very interested in what you and their siblings are doing. The more they see you do it and talk about it comfortably, the more they will want to do it themselves.
  3. Read about it. The Potty Coaching series had many good resources that were tailored to our groups’ specific questions and the ages of our children.
  4. Pick 3 days that you and any other caregivers can focus 100% on potty training
  5. Assess if you are ready – your child already has a lot of amazing skills. Sitting on a potty and urinating, is likely not the most impressive. If you’re reading this, your child is most likely ready.

Getting Started with Potty Training:

I thought I had kicked off potty training when I put my daughter in undies and put her on the potty whenever I thought of it. After a week of only a couple successful pees in the potty and lots of wet undies and pants, I realized I wasn’t being dedicated. I was lucky to have joined JoAnn Robinson’s Potty Coaching class, which helped me realize I was not taking the steps recommended to help our daughter learn: We needed to focus 100% on potty training for a few days. That weekend, my husband and I did very little other than sit in the backyard, with her potty nearby and no undies, and put her on the potty in a fun way every time she started to urinate. Pretty soon I could sense it was time for her to go and we’d sit her on the potty for a few minutes until she urinated. After only 2 days, she was indicating she needed the potty and would urinate within a minute – even outside of the house at restaurants and stores (with her travel potty cover).

While classes were the most important step we took, we also had to make some purchases. The below products and books are what worked well for us:

  • Toddler size potty – looks just like the real thing and even has a flushing sound but simpler versions are just as good
  • The ultimate book for you and caregivers – Oh Crap Potty Training
  • Books for your little one – there are a lot of great ones, but these two are my daughter’s favorite (one of them is most likely for girls)
  • Toddler size potty cover (for home) – will likely be used more often, great for transitioning pooping in the potty for easy cleaning!
  • Toddler size potty cover (to travel) – foldable and lightweight, but best to keep this separate from the home one since they will get a little dirty
  • Training underwear – lots of options here based on your color preference, but get ones with some padding to soak up small accidents. Also, try to let your child pick them out with you to help encourage excitement and control over the process.
  • Pull ups for when you for any reason are expecting a higher risk of an accident, like a long car ride or if they are sick. We also found them helpful for naptime before they are potty trained through sleep. Lots of options, but I went with those listed below for quality and price. They are great because you can open and close them from tabs on the side for poop accidents.

Ok, so now you have everything you need – what else do you need to know?

There is nothing like a small group of other parents intent on the same goal to support this developmental transition. We really enjoyed hearing about the different circumstances of our group and their children. Because some were older than our daughter, we got lots of tips on how to handle her next challenge: nighttime dryness.

Good luck and let us know how it goes or get advice from our experts and other parents on our private Facebook group page.

For more parenting support, please join us for an Upcoming Live Class  or browse our Catalog of Recorded Content including Quick Video Solution Libraries with handouts.  Questions? Email us at 


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