Toilet training: how to support your child?

In collaboration with Rokiyah Hosen Professional proofreading


With your toddler growing faster than his shadow, it's time for the big step of potty training. Your baby will be going from diapers to the potty or toilet, with or without a reducer. In this article, we'll help you to make the most of the transition. 


Why potty train your child?

Children are usually potty-trained before their first day at kindergarten. In France, there's a lot of pressure on parents and children to go to the toilet before the start of the new school year.

First of all, keep in mind that the child must be ready in mind and body before removing his or her diapers. It's not uncommon for them to decide to take off their diapers from one day to the next, without any "accidents". Your role as parents is to help your child grow up confidently, safely and without judgment.

Please note that each toddler has his or her own pace of development and will not evolve at the same speed as his or her little friends, as with language and walking, for example. The golden rule is not to pressure your child into potty training, and keep in mind that he won't become potty trained just to please you

When your child is finally potty-trained and diaper-free, you'll be able to enjoy :

  • Lighten your budget and save money on ldisposable diapers
  • Save a lot of time by not changing your son or daughter
  • Anticipating the start of the new school year in kindergarten and school without diapers
  • Realize that time passes too quickly and that you have to make the most of every moment.

When should potty training begin?

First of all, toilet training for your child cannot be s'taught! It's a natural, spontaneous process, which generally takes place between 2 and a half and 4 years after birth.

It's actually the acquisition of sphincter control thanks to your toddler's neuromotor and psychic maturation.

In fact, your child will gradually learn to control his perineum and bladder, and be attentive to his sensations to understand when he wants to relieve himself. 

The various signs that your little one is ready to say goodbye to diapers are :

  • He smells and understands when his diaper is soiled
  • He can identify when he pees and poops
  • He wants to s'sit on the potty or toilet
  • He's able to keep his diaper wet for two hours or more (or stay dry).
  • he's curious about the subject and loves stories about it
  • He can pull down his pants and diaper on his own and undress without help.
  • Your child asks to go potty
  • Your child no longer likes diapers (fights, refuses the diaper...)

There are many ways to initiate autonomy in the area of hygiene.potty training with Montessori.

Our 8 tips for potty training your child

You'll soon be able to proclaim loud and clear that your child is potty-trained, but before you do, here are our tips and tricks to make this big change easier. If you put too much pressure on your child, he may be blocked or stressed into refusing to trade in his diapers for a pair of panties. 

Respect the child's learning rhythm

The ideal moment to start learning is surely the moment chosen by your child. 

Our tips for supporting and encouraging him are :

  • Observe a window of interest and curiosity through its behaviors in response to solicitations
  • Make the child aware of his stools when you change the diaper without hiding them, and show that they are flushed down the toilet, talking so that this is integrated as a natural phenomenon.
  • Wait for a peaceful period at home like the school vacations
  • Summer is a good time to go with it, as the clothes are easy to take off.
  • Don't force him, don't start learning at the same time as a move, the arrival of a little sister or brother, a change of daycare... l

Establish a potty training routine with your child

Babies love routines and rituals. They feel secure. Accompany your child to use the toilet or potty at regular times that he or she can identify: 

  • after meals ;
  • before snack time ;
  • before naps, before going to bed and when waking up;
  • before bathing.

Avoid giving your baby a book or toy while sitting on the toilet. You can create a potty-training chart to establish a routine.

Wait 5 minutes to let him empty himself of a bowel movement or pass urine. If nothing happens, let him go back to playing without making any comments or reproaches, otherwise the child will be aware that there's an expectation. It's better to say "Ah, that wasn't the time yet, it'll come later", rather than "It's nothing, it's not serious". Get the child toadopt the physiological sitting position on the potty or toilet, for both boys and girls, even for urination .

Praise your child for cooperating without overdoing it (rather than for the needs themselves) that will have been done in the potty.

Don't insist on potty training

Don't insist that your child use the potty. Place the potty in appropriate places , such as the toilet, and explain what it's for . Exceptionally and temporarily, the potty can be used at night when the diaper is being removed. The child needs a clearly defined space and time.

Suggest s'sitting on it, or sitting on your baby's doll or cuddly toy. Even when dressed, your child should enjoy s'sitting on the potty to imitate you or to relieve himself. 

Don't forget to encourage your child with every try ! Show your child that you have confidence in him ! You can also invent potty training games or give him potty training books or organize themed activities!

Potty training with training pants

When it comes to potty training, be prepared for accidents from time to time, even when you think the goal has been reached! The training pants are designed to hold back small pee and help your child understand that he needs to go to the potty. The advantage of the training pants is that they contain anabsorbent, leak-proof zone that gives you time to change your child without getting all the clothes wet.

No more diapers for your child at night

Removing your child's diapers is a real step towards toilet training at night. For both parents and child. Take your time, and don't put pressure on your little one.

When should you go clean at night?

  • It stays dry all day because it goes to the toilet regularly
  • His diaper is not full after naps or when he wakes up in the morning.

Always encourage your child to call you when he needs to pee during a nap or in the middle of the night, even when he's wearing a diaper. 

Help your child s'wipe at bowel movements

Your child's hygiene is very important. A child cannot physiologically wipe his own bottom properly before the age of 4. So he'll need your help. By wiping your child's bottom, you can teach him or her the rightway to clean and avoid infections, especially in the case of little girls.

Les periods d'or :

  • Help him until he is self-sufficient
  • Little girls should wipe from front to back in a single pass to avoid the stool coming into contact with the vulva.
  • Remember to wash your hands after every trip to the toilet

Don't punish your child for potty training

Toilet training is a process that can have consequences for your child's behavior and development: Constipation, tummy ache, self-confidence... She refuses to go to the potty because he's not ready. Don't punish or scold your child for peeing or pooping in his pants or on the floor. You don't want them to feel ashamed, but to know that you trust them!

Don't overdramatize in the event of a cleanliness relapse

It's very likely that your child is experiencing regression when it comes to potty training. He may go to the potty for a while, then decide to stop if he loses interest. His environment can have a big influence on his emotions. Don't overdramatize, it's normal. It's preferable to keep offering potty-training with a probability of "success", to boost the child's self-confidence. By stopping for a while, you validate that the potty is of no interest.

Who should I contact if I have any doubts about potty training?

If you have any doubts about potty training, don' t panic- there are medical professionals to help you! Ask your pediatrician, general practitioner or family doctor for advice.

Psychomotricians are also available and specialized to help your child. It is essential to consult a specialist if your child :

  • Does not yet use the potty or toilet after 4 years of age
  • When you don't know how to get started with pot proposals
  • Is constipated, has painful bowel movements or bleeding in poop
  • When urine is cloudy or smelly (don't forget to give water)
  • when there is redness or rash around the vulva in little girls
  • When he has diaper rash

Potty training FAQ l

How do I start potty training?

On average, children are potty-trained between the ages of 2 and 4. The best time to start potty training lis during the summer vacations, when parents are available.

What are the three essentials for toilet training?

For a child to go to the potty or toilet, he or she must be physically capable of controlling the perineum and sphincters through voluntary muscle relaxation. Potty training is also a matter of mindset and confidence, and above all of repeated and multiple experiences!

How do you know if your child is ready to be potty-trained?

Your child is ready to be potty trained as soon as he knows when his diaper is wet, wants to s'sit on the potty or toilet, is curious about the subject or asks to go potty!

What is the ideal age to remove diapers?

There's no ideal age for removing your baby's diapers. It's a process that should be stress-free as soon as your baby is physically and psychologically ready. However, if your little one is still not potty-trained after the age of 5, consult your paediatrician!


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