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Potty Training

Is your little one ready to start potty training? Huggies has you covered! We’ll help you determine how ready your child is, find the right supplies and tools, and provide fun activity suggestions to make your training routine a success. Check out the

In Case You're Wondering About Potty Training…

By:Michelle Horton

Several of my friends have young toddlers, and they’ve all recently picked my brain about potty training.

How old was Noah? How did you do it? When is normal?

And I’ll tell you what I told them.

Calm down and it take it easy.

I started the potty training at 18 months because I convinced myself that he was showing signs of “readiness” (meaning I read one too many magazine articles), and the battle raged until he was almost 3-and-a-half.

A battle that included potty seats, potty times, potty charts, potty rewards — I even put blue food coloring into the water so that his urine might turn it green, just to entice him. We tried little potties, potty rings, and even standing up with Daddy.

A battle continuously lost each time he’d put on a diaper, immediately soiling it even after sitting on the little potty for what felt like forever.

A battle that left me frustrated, feeling like a failure, muttering things like “I can’t physically MAKE him go to the bathroom,” and “WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?”

I was done with the diapers — so very, very done — but 2-year-old Noah insisted, “But I yike my diapers, mama.”


And then one day, a few months after his 3rd birthday, I put the potty ring back onto the big-person toilet. It scared him the first time around, but that was over a year ago. Maybe….

Noah sat down and peed.


A couple of hours later, he pooped.


And from that night forth, he stayed dry at night — even waking up to go to the bathroom.


The transition was so easy — so seamless — and so simple: wait until he’s ready. Maybe your child will be ready at 18 months, or 24 months. But mine wasn’t ready until almost 40 months, and it was OK. It all turned out OK.

So again: Calm down and take it easy. It will happen, I promise.


Transitioning into Training Pants

"Moving into training pants is a key sign for your child that she is becoming a Big Kid and therefore should start using the potty," says former Pull-Ups® Potty Training Partner, Page Turner.

Below are some helpful insights from Page and the Pull-Ups® Brand for transitioning tots to training pants and completing potty training:

  • Build excitement around the milestone of moving into trainings pants that are just like Big Kid underwear. To get my twins excited about becoming big girls, I had them store their training pants in the dresser drawer just like real underwear.
  • Have your child practice pulling them on and off themselves before starting to use them. In my case, practice really did make perfect!
  • Try giving your tot the chance to sit on the potty – first with the pants on and later with them off. I had my girls sit on the potty after they helped decorate it with stickers, which really helped create excitement about the whole process.
  • Teach your child about the graphics that disappear when wet and indicate the difference between wet and dry.
  • Celebrate when your toddler correctly uses the training pants to encourage Big Kid behavior. Or try celebrating with an outing they enjoy – my kids always love a special trip to the park.
  • Once you’ve made the switch out of diapers and into training pants, don’t switch back and forth. It may be confusing and slow down the process. Set backs are inevitable, but I found my kids made the most progress when I kept them in training pants, even when we went on vacation.


Essential Tools for Potty Training

Julie, former Pull-Ups® Potty Training Partner and stay-at-home mom with a four-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son offers real-life insights.

We talked with Julie about toilet training and the steps she took to ensure her toddler felt like a Big Kid.

Having a System Makes Potty Training Easier

Every parent knows that the potty training process is not something you can approach blindly or with the expectation that your child will be toilet trained in a week. Potty training involves having a system in place before you begin that includes finding the right tools, researching information on the topic, obtaining support from family and friends and being prepared as a parent to hang in there for the eight - ten months it will most likely take.

"When my kids expressed interest and showed readiness skills like sitting on the potty and wanting to wear Big Kid underwear, I went to friends who had recently toilet trained their children for advice," said Julie. "They helped me realize there were steps I needed to take to prepare myself and my kids to potty train, and their understanding and support really meant a lot."

Julie suggests that parents start by being realistic in terms of expectations and understand that successful potty training should be approached with consistency and patience. Every child is different and some children take longer than others. Research conducted by the Medical College of Wisconsin shows that it takes eight months on average to potty train a child.

Julie also suggests that parents identify those who will be a support system-spouse, family, and friends. They'll be there to help find some humor in those difficult days and to help maintain consistency in the process if they're helping out. For Julie, that meant leaning on her best friend.

When she toilet trained her first child, Julie researched information, reading magazines and books to find out everything she could about toilet training. She also suggests tapping into websites that give parents useful tips for every parenting stage, like, which has useful sets of activities and resources, such as, Big Kid Beginnings or the Big Kid Prep List that help parents identify what potty training stage their child is at. Books, magazines and advice from other moms also help give you guidelines on potty training do’s and don’ts.”

Julie also found that involving her children in decision-making motivated them to stick to the potty training system.

"For both my son and daughter, we made going to the store to pick out a potty seat and their own disposable training pants big events," said Julie. "We really wanted to signal to them that they weren't babies anymore, so we moved them into Pull-Ups® training pants and started talking to them about what it meant to be a Big Kid."

Throughout the process it's important to coach children with praise and hugs, as well as other rewards. Julie and her husband rewarded their kids with stickers and small toys. However, every child is different, so choose rewards that relate to and motivate your child.

"As a parent, you'll learn that you can't push or get frustrated. Each child will train when he or she is ready," Julie concluded. "Hang in there…it's two steps forward and one step back, but once you find a system that works with your child, stick with it. They'll be using the potty by themselves in no time."

Make sure you have these essential tools when potty training your child.

  • Support from family and friends
  • General information from resources like books, magazines or your pediatrician
  • Potty seat
  • Pull-Ups® Big Kid* Flushable Wipes
  • Pull-Ups® disposable training pants
  • Reward system
  • Easy access to and the Pull-Ups* Big Kid App


Gearing up to go potty

  1. Acknowledging the potty

    The very first step toward potty-training is having your child understand when he's going to the bathroom. He'll start telling you when he's going or has gone. He'll want his diaper changed immediately because he recognizes that he's uncomfortable. Then you can start introducing the concept of the potty. For example, after he's gone in his diaper, discard it in the toilet and help him flush!

  2. Well, hello potty

    Before you bring your child in contact with the toilet, it may be useful to think about getting a child's potty seat. One idea is to draw a colorful, fun potty out of construction paper and post it next to the actual potty, so that she can associate the drawing with the real thing. Ask her if she would like to use the potty before bath time or after a nap. If she refuses, remain positive and say, "Okay, maybe next time!" If she is excited, follow through with the process.

  3. Big kids go potty

    Once your child sits on the toilet — or even if he just tries — praise him enthusiastically. If he actually goes, giving him a reward such as a piece of candy is one approach but also encourage him after he's done by clapping and saying things like "Good job!" and "Big boys go on the potty!"

  4. Signs of readiness

    Potty training could take about, on average, eight weeks — but this is highly individual. What's just as important as waiting for your child to show readiness is that you pick up on behavior demonstrating that your child might not be ready. Once she sits on the potty, if she doesn't get down to business and starts fiddling with the toilet paper, whining or even crying, for example, then it's time to wait a few more weeks before you start again.

  5. Ditching the diapers

    As the concept of using the toilet becomes more prominent, set your watch every hour and encourage your child to go frequently. Associate certain times of day with going to the bathroom — first thing in the morning, before and after nap/rest time, after lunch, before bed and so forth. And make sure that as a parent, you're frequently and noticeably using the bathroom as well.

  6. Potty pointers

    Don't succumb to pressure, and don't pass pressure on. Although your friends may be potty training their children or have a child who, they say, "self-trained at 18 months," don't feel as if your child is not as advanced because he lacks the physical readiness to use the potty. Remember, your child must be physically independent in addition to being emotionally ready. Some kids, too, need to decide that the benefits of being a "big kid" and wearing underwear outweigh the convenience of diapers.

The best advice overall is to stay positive and enthusiastic — both for you and for your child — and remember what parents who have been there say: "Don't worry — she's not going to go to college in diapers!"

Learn more at    


Ready for the potty party?

When to begin

Do not begin training until your child shows signs that he is ready. Every child is different. Most are ready for training between two and two and a half years old (some as young as 18 months or as old as three years). Start at a time when you can spend a lot of time together — when your child is eager to please you and there are no major distractions or traumatic events in his life (new sibling, divorce, moving, new caretaker, etc.) Never pressure or punish your child for unsuccessful attempts at using the potty. Most of all, be patient! Your child will learn to use the potty when your child is ready. (And not before.)

15 signs of toilet training readiness

Your child is ready to learn potty skills when he or she:

  1. Has bowel movements at about the same time every day
  2. Can stay dry for a few hours or wakes up dry from sleep
  3. Knows that he or she has to go to the bathroom
  4. Understands the association between dry pants and using the potty
  5. Can pull his or her pants up and down
  6. Lets you know when he or she has soiled his or her diaper (likes to stay dry)
  7. Can follow simple directions like, "Lets go to the potty"
  8. Understands potty terms (wet, dry, pee, poop, dirty and potty)
  9. Can tell you he or she has to go to the bathroom
  10. Imitates other family members
  11. Shows interest and asks questions while watching you
  12. Wants to do things "by myself"
  13. Enjoys washing his or her hands (like to be clean)
  14. Gets upset if his or her belongings are not in their proper place
  15. Wants to please you!

Getting ready

Start by reading potty-training books to your child (15 months and up). Once your child is ready for toilet training, you can go to the store and purchase training pants and a potty chair. Bring your child with you to maximize the excitement about the whole process. When buying training pants, if you are choosing cotton, let your child pick out his/her favorite ones (Toy Story 3, Cinderella, etc.) Disposable training pants are a great bet for cleanup and being on-the-go. If you buy cotton, buy more than one three pack. You will go through these quickly, and you want to have plenty in the diaper bag and dresser.

When purchasing a potty chair, make sure you purchase a sturdy one. You want your child to feel secure enough to try it. Your child's feet need to be on the floor (this will eliminate his or her fear of falling in).

You may also want to buy an extra one for outside or to keep in the car. (It's better to go to your car and use your clean potty than go to a public restroom that hasn't been sanitized.)

It's potty time

Introduce the potty in a casual way. Put it in a room where your child plays most often. The kitchen is a good place, so you can supervise. It will also encourage your child to use it more often if it is in plain view. Let your child play and get accustomed to it. Then show your child how it works.

At this time you can also put your potty chart on the refrigerator. Explain to your child that each successful use of the potty means a sticker for his or her chart (use praise too, of course). This will be an incentive to get your child to start using the potty chair. Once your child is used to the potty chair, you can start to encourage use of it.

At the beginning of training, increase fluids to encourage practice. Encouraging practice will help your child learn the basic potty skills. In addition, you will want to make sure your child eats lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Prune and apple juice are always good staples to have around when bowel movement (BM) training. You want to keep your child's stools soft to prevent withholding of stools. When you see any signs that your child is about to go (passing gas, wriggling, holding crotch or telling you), quickly tell your child it's time to use the potty.

All cooperation with attempts at using the potty should be praised with words like, "What a big boy! Nicolas is using the potty just like daddy!" Also, remember to praise your child and offer a sticker for his/her chart for every successful potty use. This will help build self-esteem.

If you encounter problems

If your child is reluctant or refuses to use the potty, try to encourage him/her by offering to read a story while sitting on the potty. If this still does not work, back off and do not push him/her.

You can try to leave your child's diaper off at the time he/she usually has a BM. Timing is an important factor in toilet training. If you sense that he/she has to do a BM (gas for instance), take the diaper off right at the moment you see your child getting ready to do it.

If you do catch your child before the BM occurs, then quickly take him/her to the potty and tell him/her that this is where the poop goes. Hopefully if you catch your child at the precise moment, he/she will look for relief and let you guide him/her to the potty. If your child protests a bit, gently encourage and explain to your child "that he/she is a big girl/boy now and Mommy and Daddy expect you to use the potty." Remember, encourage and guide, but do not force your child to sit.

If your child refuses to sit on the potty, then it's not the right time yet. If your child pees and poops constantly in his or her underwear, then he/she is not ready. No big deal — try again in a month or so. This is normal. Let your child take the lead. Your child needs to be in control of the process.

Withholding of stools

It only takes ONE painful BM to cause your child to be frightened of using the potty, so at all costs, make sure his or her diet has sufficient fresh fruits, vegetables and juice. If your child has a painful BM only once while trying the potty, it could delay potty training for months. He/she will associate painful BMs with the potty and will refuse to use it.

If you suspect that your child is withholding his/her stools, it is best to stop training and increase the fluids. Always call your pediatrician if you think your child is withholding. It can be serious if an impaction occurs. Tell your child at that moment, that he/she is not ready yet and that you will try again later. Continue to play potty videos and read toilet-training books often to encourage regular use of the potty so your child will grasp the concept. Keep the potty-chair — eventually you'll see signs of interest again. Remember, the keys to toilet training are patience, praise, encouragement (and a sticker chart to build self-esteem and make the learning process fun).

It's not a linear process

Toilet training can get messy so be prepared and expect that there will be many mistakes. Your child is learning a very difficult skill. Clean up any accidents without anger or showing disgust.

Do not make negative comments. Explain to your child that pee and poop go in the toilet. You should also empty any accidents in underwear or training pants into the toilet and explain to your child that she is a big girl now and this is where the poop goes. Try switching from diapers to training pants when your child does at least fifty percent of his urine or BM in the potty. At night, you can use diapers until your child wakes up dry for a couple of days in a row. Remember, this is a very difficult skill to learn. No one has ever said toilet training is easy! Make the process fun and you will have happy memories to look back on.

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