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I have a best-selling potty training book, I have written numerous posts on how to potty train your child before they are two years old, but today I wanted to give you some basic tips before you start training:  10 things you should never do when potty training a child.


1- Start when they aren’t ready. Every child needs to be ready and you can find that by looking at their readiness signs.

2- Start before a new child is due or a big event, like a move to a new home.

3- Start without being prepared.   I buy a lot of toilet paper, a potty chair and cleaning supplies.     Really stock up!   Try the  new Scott 1000 bonus pack – Scott® 1000 with 100 more sheets per roll at a great value available at Sam’s Club®! It has 600 more sheets per roll than any other National Brand, plus another r100 sheets per roll since becoming to the club.  The word on the street (or should I say on the playground) is that it “lasts a long time, does its job, and isn’t rough on our bottoms.”   You can get $5 off with this Ibotta App, too!



4- Start one day & stop the next.   If you are going to do this, decide you want to do it and stick to it.   You will have a few hard days, but it will be worth it.

5- Learn the exceptions.  Our child had a stomach bug on day two and we had to stop.   It was not going to be worth the ‘fight’ of his little body.

6- Overly correct them early on.   You want them to be confident.   Help them by praising them for trying.

7- Expect dry nights right away.  This is so different with every child.  You can night-train your child, or you can let it happen naturally, but either way, get the days finished first.

8- Expect them to tell you every time.  You need to know the signs and be prepared to look for them.

9- Take them out too much during the training phrase.  It is confusing for them and hard.  They are trying to learn a new routine here and you don’t want to put too many barriers in the way.

10- Go into this without knowing how you want to train them.  I have always use my Potty Train in a Weekend method, but even if you aren’t up for that, you need to have a game plan.

Bonus #11- Don’t get frustrated.  I know (trust me, I know) that it can be frustrating, but you can do this.  Our first son was training for one day before he got a stomach bug.  I tried to push through it, but after two hours of that, I was done and so was he.  We put the diaper back on, cuddled on the couch for two days and then a week later, we tried it again.  Instant success.   If I would have kept going, we would have both ended up frustrated.   The same goes for a child who clearly isn’t ready.   You can definitely do this, but it requires patience and love from your side, mom or dad (or grandma/grandpap/aunt…).   You are going to be their support, their patter of the back, their keeper of the crayons, their giver of the high-fives.   Be patient and have success! Make it fun for them!

Here is a FREE coloring booklet with 13 pages of potty training coloring activities!


Good luck!

For more advice, grab my best-selling book:

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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Completely agree about not getting frustrated when they regress, or don’t do it, or make a mess. This has to be something positive and encouraging, not something they dread!

  2. Yeah easier said than done right? jk… My E has been pee trained for almost a year… however #2 has came slower… he’s getting to the point if we get him there he will go and is really proud… he isn’t the best at telling us… that whole waiting to the last minute kills us… At times I want to cry, but I keep telling myself he will get it someday. And I did correct him very hard very early on I knew the second it was too late… 🙁

  3. My son seems to be slowly potty training himself. Everything is gradual and very progressive with him. Everything from using a phone to eating on his own. When he wants to do things on his own he attempts.. and then makes it very clear he wants/needs NO help. I’m proud of that. Anyway, I hope this makes the official potty training easier than I had imagined it would be when I found out I was having a boy!

  4. I am working on potty training my (almost) 20 month old daughter. She has been taking her diaper off, pretending to wipe herself, and playing with TP when in the bathroom with us. However, she has been crying and holding her pee since I started today….as soon as she sits on the potty. Any suggestions? Am I starting too early?