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You might be ready to dive right into potty training your toddler.   You may have even read my post on how to Potty Train in Three Days, and now you are thinking “is my toddler ready for this?”  Maybe you googled ‘ Potty train toddler ‘ at some point this week and it has led you to me.  I hope that you have found a lot of great advice…   I am ready to give you a little more.

Today, I am working with Charmin to share my favorite potty training tips.  This was the perfect partnership because we only use Charmin in our house (if we go anywhere & they don’t use Charmin, my whole family notices! haha!)

A little girl sitting on a potty chair.
I trained our three sons & our daughter in a weekend when they were all under two years of age.   I knew that they were ready and so was I.


I just buckled down and did my training with them.   (that made it sound oh-so-easy… right?  haha!!  It isn’t, but it is so worth it!)  Well, after writing my series on how to Potty Train in Three Days, I wrote a book called Potty Train in a Weekend.    I wrote it for you to feel like you are just sitting in my house, watching me in full-on potty-training mode!   I take you through my potty training hurdles, struggles, and successes.

Ok, so are you ready to see if your child is as ready as you want them to be?

Let’s get on with this…


  •  I didn’t want the mess of diapers.  Teaching them to go on the toilet & wipe with Charmin Ultra soft (so cushiony for their little bottoms) is so much easier than changing 7 diapers a day!  (And Charmin Ultra Strong will ensure that your kids are as clean as can be!)
  •  I wanted to eliminate the constant buying of diapers (I stay home with our children and spending a lot of money on diapers was not something that I wanted to continue.
  • I didn’t want to have to change a three-year old’s dirty diaper (I am only 4’11, after all! Our three-year-olds are half my size!)
  • I wanted our children to feel independent, confident and proud to wear their “big kid” underwear!
  • It was just something that I wanted to do.  It is not for everyone, but I personally wanted them trained early.  I do not judge parents that wait for their children to be trained.  I don’t even notice, to be honest.   Different strokes for different folks, as my Grandma used to say…  Whatever works for you & your family is what works- no one can say what will be best… only you know.


Start looking for readiness signs in your child from 16 months and up.  I think that each child has a window of when they are ready to be trained.  Look for these signs starting around 16-20 months:

  • Pretending to go to the bathroom on the potty or pretending to wipe
  • Interested in body parts
  • Having a dry diaper for more than an hour
  • Watching you (or bigger siblings) go to the bathroom



  • Get Charmin toilet paper (you’ll want a few on hand). I buy Charmin Ultra Strong.
  • Have an all-natural cleaner & Bounty Paper Towels close by (I use all natural because I don’t want to clean with harsh chemicals and then ask them to sit where the chemicals just cleaned).
  • Have an activity handy to keep your toddler busy.
  • Let your child pick the potty and keep it close by.
  • Sign them songs and watch videos like this one. 
  • Have Charmin Ultra Strong in every bathroom, but also keep one out beside the little potty.  It cleans better and you can use 4 times less than the leading bargain brand.   It has a washcloth-like texture, so it cleans better.



  •  I teach them to wipe front to back to avoid any urinary tract infections, if possible.
  • I teach them to avoid getting anything on their hands.
  • I teach them to WASH THEIR HANDS WELL afterward! (this coloring book has hand-washing pictures and stories for your child… and it is free today!


  • Don’t use the same piece of toilet paper to wipe a second time or they will just smear things around (I know… but it is the truth).
  • I teach them how much toilet paper to use with this tip from The Virtuous Housewife:

    Chilly winter temperatures lead to cozy days spent indoors with the kids, making it the perfect time to work on potty training your little cub with Charmin!  I hope that these tips gave you the confidence and knowledge that you needed to train your child. 🙂   I say just go for it!


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. Becky
    You always right from the heart & I feel like I know you! Thanks for the great tips, again. I am going to give this a shot this weekend.

    1. I was completely against the whole idea to begin with but it worked. First off everything anynoe has ever told me about pt is that boys take A LOT longer. Secondly Kailey is three and just now starting to really use the potty. Clint and I started threatening time outs for potting in her pants and that is finally what cured her of diapers. We’ve gone an entire week with NO diapers. Kailey has no choice at this point. I signed her up for preschool in September and she HAS to be pt by then. My thoughts on it are this; Kids need/expect us to set the rule/standard/example if I let Kailey she would diapers all the time because it’s easier. I really think that at this age the diapers become a comfort, a security blanket of sorts. With Kailey the only way we have been able to accomplish getting rid of binkies and now diapers was one cold turkey and two force by time outs. It’s taken me a YEAR to get to this point, so no I don’t think you’re pushing to soon.

  2. Thank you. I am about to start training our son. I just read this and I think he’s ready (I thought so, but wanted to check!) I am excited to get started. Off to read your next post about potty training in 3 days.

  3. good idea to potty train your kids to get rid of constant buying of diaper pack weekly. I use the 3-day potty training method on my son and by the fourth day, he is diaper-free. Children are curious by nature, and it’s good to know that they are adapting and transitioning well from using the potty trainer into toilet bowl equipped with potty seat.

  4. Hi, I will try the 3 day approach you suggest. I’ve been doing Natural Infant Hygiene (aka Eljmination Communication) since my two kids were born and it worked like a charm. My older one started communicating at five weeks, very early. By six months of age we never had poppey diapers anymore and got most of the pee too by the first year. She still wore cloth diapers but most stayed dry usually. Everything was working perfect until her sister was born, she was barely 14 months old and she stopped using the potty and refuses it up til now that she’s almost two. The baby has no problem doing her business in the potty now when I hold her on my lap and for three months we haven’t had one poop diaper. I’m frustrated bc I don’t know how to get my toddler to go potty. She’ll only sit down for a second even if she really has to go. We have a rug now, so I’ll try to limit our play to the kitchen as you suggested. Thanks!

  5. My son is 17 months and I’d love to potty train him but he hates the potty he will scream and twist if I even get it out :/

  6. Ok so my son just turned 2 a couple of days ago. he doesn’t want to have a diaper on anymore,BUT he still isn’t talking yet either. we are working on the talking a speech therapy and I bought him a potty for his birthday. He always follows me to the bathroom and watches everything i do. Do you think he is ready for the potty?

  7. My 2 1/2 year old boy is showing signs of readiness but my ex-husband is not willing to potty train him because he says that our son is not showing signs consistently enough for him. Unfortunately legally I can’t potty train him without my ex permission. Is there anything I can do you convince him that we need to potty train?

    1. I had no idea that you couldn’t potty train legally if you are divorced. Wow. I wish that I had some good advice for you, but other than just telling him the signs, I’m afraid that I don’t know what else you can tell him.

  8. Hi Becky! I love your articles! I have a question before I even start to think about potty training. Our son is a 30 month non-verbal, but he is showing some of the signs you point out of readiness (telling us when he’s going, dry diaper for over an hour..) Do you think its not worth it to try when he isn’t saying “potty”?

    1. Yeah- none of our kids were saying potty (or any words) when we started. 🙂 Keep me posted!

  9. Great article! My son is 2 and a half and showing all these signs and I am really considering starting. But he is still breastfeeding. Will this still work while he continues breastfeeding?

  10. Aaah! Did I miss my window?!! My son is 23 mo and showing signs of readiness (wiping, watching Mommy & Daddy potty, knows poop and pee are coming from him, dry diapers for 1 hr+, lives to flush/ not afraid of potty) but nothing like he was a few months ago.
    Around 16-20 mo:
    – expressed remorse and awareness at pooping in the bathtub (this happened a LOT)
    – told me poopoo when diaper was dry and would poop soon after. I finally realized what was happening and got a potty ring for the toilet.
    – showed lots of interest in potty ring and would sit on toilet – no aversion. ONE time he pooped in the potty just as I left to go get a book to read while we waited!
    – tried to wipe self during diaper changes, watches us, etc etc
    So basically i tried to follow his leads for level of interest but I thought he was just to young for a really hard push Potty Training weekend. I thought it would be better to wait until next summer when he’s 2.5. I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that Ill be changing his diapers + newborn staring in January. I’ve worked in daycare so I can change lots of diapers but potty training terrifies me (or rather the complications – aversion, fear, constipation, dragging it wayyyyyy out bc parents started to early, general weeping and gnashing of teeth.)

    BUT I’m really encouraged by this post. (Haven’t read your other stuff yet) It would be WAY easier to PT while it is just him and me at home (no baby), even in Fall/Winter. Do you think he still shows enough interest that we haven’t “missed it”????!

    Sorry for the long post. :/

  11. My son is 18 months old and is showing all the signs you talk about. The only problem I have is that I am due with baby #2 any day now… I am afraid that I’ll start and he’ll makes a bunch of progress, then I’ll go into labor! I don’t trust that my mom, or husband will be quite as consistent with him as I would be (while I’m in the hospital and adjusting to a newborn). Should I just go for it while the window is open and take my chances, or do you think it will stay open for a few more months so I can start when this new little one is 6-8 weeks old and I have recovered from childbirth?!

    Side note: for the past few weeks, everytime I take off his diaper before bath I set him on the toilet. He has yet to go at all, but does pretend to wipe. Sometimes as soon as he is off the toilet he will pee on the floor. Maybe this means he isn’t ready after all?! Help! Thanks in advance.

    1. Oh that’s hard. I would keep doing what you are doing, I think. Take him before his bath. He is probably ready, but with a new little one, I don’t know how well it would work out and you might have to RE-TRAIN him in a month. you know?

  12. My daughter was potty trained in 3 days. She had no accidents for the next four days. The next day (8th day of training) she just became “un-potty trained”. 8-10 accidents a day. Many seemed intentional. I never showed disappointment over an accident. I kept rewarding every success on the potty. A “pull-up” never entered my house. I did everything I read, and I promise, she was ready. There were no big life events or schedule changes. To all the moms about begin, don’t get too excited even if it seems like its working. You don’t know that they will STAY potty trained.

    1. You should read my post about why girls are harder to train than boys. 😉 It is so true!
      My tip would be to still make sure you are taking her to the potty every hour. Until they are about 3, they have a hard time remembering to go. I still take our 3 year old every 2 hours, even if she doesn’t say that she has to go. 🙂

  13. So say a child was showing a lot of interest in the potty, I went out and got a toddler potty and showed it to her- again, lots of interest. I was planning on potty training then, but then became ill and was in and out of the hospital for over a month. Now she is not as interested in the potty. Is it just because it isn’t new anymore? Or should I wait until she shows interest again?

  14. Hi my daughter is 2.5 years old and ready to be potty trained but what do you suggest when we go out during the day?

    1. In the day, I put them in underwear with a diaper or pull-up over it, just in case.