7 tips on how to prepare for potty training

Potty training is just around the corner for our little family. I’m a planner by nature, so I’m in this phase of preparation for potty training. Here are some tips on how to prepare for potty training.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

As my daughter shows more and more signs of potty training readiness, I started to freak out a little. I don’t know the first thing about potty training. I was basically clueless on this issue.

I’ve never been around any children while they were actively potty training. It was never a topic of conversation in any of my circles. Why would it be? A lot of my friends started having kids around the same time as me.

When I feel clueless in an area, my go-to’s are asking someone, buying a book, or Google search. In this case, because potty training is kind of a big deal, I purchased Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki.

This is the book I purchased. Check out Amazon prices (click image).

As I started writing this article, I realized that there are two types of preparedness: parent preparedness and toddler preparedness.

I’m slowly learning and realizing that parent preparation and consistency are the main forces behind potty training. So, most of these tips involve your mental preparation as a parent. Some involve helping your toddler get ready for potty training too.

So, this is how to prepare for potty training.

1. Understand the psychology of potty training

how to prepare for potty training

When I was reading through Oh Crap! Potty Training, chapter 5 was basically a big Aha! moment for me. Until then, I didn’t know exactly how one potty trains or the mental processes behind it.

Everyone’s understanding or Aha! moment will be different but this was mine. Basically, you want your toddler to realize that she’s peeing. Once you see that she’s peeing, even as it’s mid-air, you rush her to the potty.

If you keep doing this over and over again, your toddler will eventually make that connection herself. Once that connection is made, you will get more and more notice (seconds will increase) that a pee or poop is impending.

Eventually, after repeating this process and prompting, they will self-initiate and start using the potty on their own.

Now that I understand the mental process of potty training, I feel a lot more confident and not as clueless as a parent.

2. Practice pulling pants up and down

If you plan on potty training before 24 months, you may want to practice pulling pants up and down with your toddler. My toddler just turned 22 months and we’re trying to practice with her every day.

This may be brand new for your toddler and may take some practice. It was easier for my toddler to pull off her pants but she struggles pulling them back up.

In the Oh Crap! Potty Training book, the author recommends loose sweats or pants that are easy to pull up and down. I do find that loose jogger type sweats are way easier for my toddler to maneuver. At this stage, she doesn’t have enough dexterity to pull down the tighter leggings she always wears.

3. Switch to a toddler bed

how to prepare for potty training

One of my first thoughts about potty training, especially since my daughter is under two, was the limitations of the crib. Although we love the crib, how is our daughter supposed to self-initiate or take herself to the potty when she’s stuck in a crib?

With the increasing independence involved in using the potty, it seems almost backward to keep her in a crib. So, we are fully transitioning her to a twin bed.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about this transition, especially since it’s so close to the potty training transition. We are moving to the new bed, then will start potty training 3 weeks later.

4. Purchase the potty training gear

Get yourself pumped up and purchase some potty training goodies! We have two potty training seats. One is the Summer Infant Potty Chair, which looks exactly like a miniature toilet. The other one is a smaller, plastic potty seat that I can easily transport from room to room or even in the car.

Yes, Jamie Glowacki recommends a potty seat for the car in case of emergency.

I definitely plan to transition to a toilet potty training seat once my toddler is able to step up and sit on the toilet on her own.

In addition, since she will be transitioning to her new bed, I purchased a waterproof mattress cover and a pretty nifty waterproof bed pad.

Here are some great options from Amazon.

5. Start language building for potty training

Once training commences, it’s pretty important for your toddler to have some sort of communicatory signal to tell you that he or she needs to pee or poop. For very young toddlers, Jamie Glowacki recommends American Sign Language.

For toddlers who have some words and are learning new words consistently, you can build on what they know. I let my daughter go into the bathroom with me, while proclaiming, “Mommy needs to pee” or “Mommy needs to poop.”

While I am using the toilet, I will say “Mommy is peeing” or “Mommy is pooping.” Her reactions run from absolutely not caring to maybe a little bit of interest.

Now that she is able to say “Go pee” and “Go poop,” this gives me a lot more confidence to start potty training. She may not associate either phrase with her own bodily functions yet but that’s what training is all about.

6. Make a decision on night training

how to prepare for potty training

Until I read Oh Crap! Potty Training, I didn’t realize night training was separate from day potty training. There’s an entire chapter dedicated to it in the book.

Basically, there are two choices. You can tackle night training along with regular day potty training, or you can wait to night train when a child is older.

The theory is that children develop better bladder control as they grow older, so it gets easier to night train later on. Night training at an earlier age requires more commitment than day training because you have to wake up your child in the middle of the night to prompt for pee.

It’s good to make a decision about when you will night train so that you are mentally prepared. I can see the pros and cons either way.

Since we have made the decision to switch to a twin bed, buy the waterproof mattress pads, and take off work for potty training, we decided to potty train and night train at the same time. I’ll let you know in a few months if I was crazy for making this decision.

7. Clear schedule and choose a date

This is one of the biggest mental preparation steps in Jamie’s book. Pick a date and stick to it. On that morning, take your toddler’s diaper off and explain to her that she is now potty training and she will no longer wear diapers.

Take off work. Cancel your social calendar. All that jazz. 

We have officially picked our date and it’s in my phone calendar. I made sure to start at a time where our family calendar is pretty clear and there aren’t many obligations.

One of us (my husband or me) will stay fully inside the home with our toddler for 4-5 days, depending on the progress. We won’t plan to do much except potty train.

Final thoughts on how to prepare for potty training

First, I can’t believe my little nugget is almost two. She’s becoming more and more independent by the day.

Potty training is a pretty big toddler transition and it can be a little scary for both parents and toddler. Maybe more for parents.

If you were wondering how to prepare for potty training, I hope this article helped you with your potty training journey! Let me know other tips for potty training prep by commenting below!

Leave a Comment