What is Baby Potty Training?

Anna T.

Baby potty training is the process of teaching a baby how to use the toilet, which ultimately eliminates the need for diapers and training pants. Many parents potty train using either a potty chair designed for small children or a small potty seat that fits on top of a person's regular toilet. The appropriate time for baby potty training varies greatly among children. The majority of children are potty trained between the ages of two and a half to four years old, while some others learn to use the potty when they are much younger. There are also children who do not start using the potty until they reach age five and beyond.

A seat can be placed on a regular toilet for potty training.
A seat can be placed on a regular toilet for potty training.

In many cases, a child will let his parents know when he is ready to learn to use the potty. Some signs that a child may be ready are when he becomes aware of when he needs to eliminate and indicates to a parent or other person that he needs to go. A child who is ready to start potty training might also show an interest in the potty chair or toilet and ask questions about using it. Another sign that a child may be ready for potty training is when he goes for long periods of time with a dry diaper or doesn't urinate and have bowel movements throughout an entire night. This is a sign of improved bladder and bowel control and could make baby potty training easier for parents who start the process.

Placing the child on the potty chair several times a day decreases the incidence of accidents.
Placing the child on the potty chair several times a day decreases the incidence of accidents.

The techniques for baby potty training vary, and what works for one parent may not work for others. Many people find it helpful to allow their child into the bathroom with them or other members of the family so she can see firsthand how using the potty is done. This may result in the child wanting to try the potty out for herself if she sees other members of the family using it. It is also often helpful to place a child on the potty chair or toilet every few hours throughout the day. This increases the chances that she will eliminate into the toilet, and it typically only takes one or two times of successful potty usage for a child to begin using it regularly.

It is very important for parents who are potty training their babies to heap praise onto the child when he successfully uses the potty. Children tend to love praise and will often repeat whatever they did to get the praise in hopes of getting it again. Parents should also keep in mind that baby potty training isn't something that is typically accomplished overnight. It may take months or even more than a year before a child stops having accidents altogether. Some parents are tempted to criticize their children for having accidents, but this may be counterproductive because it could discourage the child, leading to more accidents.

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Discussion Comments


@cellmania: You will want to be careful with how you word your suggestions. You don’t want your sister to feel as though you are looking down on her.

One thing that you can try is to say “Hey, I was reading a magazine the other day and read some great potty training tips for boys”. That way, you are merely offering a suggestion and it doesn’t appear as though you are trying to tell her what to do.


My nephew is 3 years old and still in diapers. Every time that I keep him, I encourage him to use the potty. I take him at least once an hour. However, it seems as though it stops at my house. I don’t think my sister is even attempting to potty train. Should I say something to her or perhaps make some suggestions?

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