Potty-Training Checklist: Supplies and Steps

Is your toddler curious about the toilet or big-kid underwear? Can he tell you when he has to go? Does he stay dry for two hours or more during the day? If so, it’s probably time to potty train!

When it comes to toilet training, waiting until your child is physically and emotionally ready is the first step toward success. Then all you’ll need are the right supplies and a generous dose of patience. Learn the potty pointers below to make toilet training easy, fun -- and done!

Buy a potty
Take your child to the store and let him select his favorite potty -- they come in colors ranging from electric blue to cotton-candy pink! Involving your tot will give him a sense of control over the process.

Personalize it
When you get home, let your child decorate the potty using stickers or markers. If your toddler feels invested in this potty seat, he’s more likely to get excited about potty training.

Talk it up
From the moment you set out to toilet train your toddler, start the positive PR campaign. Explain that the potty will be his special seat and that it will help him pee and poop like a big boy. Your enthusiasm for this achievement -- “I am so excited for you to take this big step!” -- will help boost your toddler’s motivation.

Give it a good first home
When you first bring the potty chair home, place it in a central spot -- the kitchen, playroom, or anywhere else your family spends a lot of time -- to make it super accessible to your toddler. Consider surrounding the potty with some of your child’s stuffed animals for company, plus a few picture books to encourage him to sit longer.

Introduce potty time
While the potty is still in a central location, invite your toddler to sit on the chair -- with diaper down if he’s ready. Heap on the praise if he’s able to go! You can increase the impact of his first positive experience by suggesting that he demonstrate to his stuffed animals the proper way to use the potty. He’s the expert now!

Move the chair to the bathroom
Once your toddler is using the potty regularly, move it to the bathroom, where big kids and grown-ups go.

The potty-training process may take a while, and that’s perfectly OK. Keep in mind that every child is different and will adapt to new situations at his own pace. Patience, praise, and a positive attitude will help smooth the transition.