Potty training is a tough phase for many parents and children, and some days you might just feel that it’s hopeless. Don’t give up so soon – below are some suggestions for successfully getting through this milestone phase!

1. First and foremost, you need to know when it is the right time to start. It’s really important that your child is ready to begin this phase, because it can be really stressful for both you and them if they are not ready. And, if possible, it’s a good idea to start when the weather is warm so your child can wear less clothing than normal and you can consider going diaper free.

So how do you know when your child is ready? If your child is showing two or more of these signs, you may want to begin the potty training journey: 1) Your toddler can stay dry for two hours or during a nap, 2) They let you know when they need to go to the toilet, 3) They imitate your behavior and follow you to the restroom, 4) They are showing signs of independence by doing things themselves and/or 5) They ask to be changed and dislike the feeling of being wet.

2. When you’re ready to take the first step, it’s a good idea to stay at home for the first few days of potty training because it’s easier to clean up accidents. Familiarize your child with their potty – let them carry it around with them and involve potty when playing. You could even set them on the potty fully clothed and let them read a book or play. At first you will want to keep the potty within reach during activities and once they get into the habit of using it, the potty can be left in the restroom. Routine is a key part of the process. Rather than waiting for them to tell you that they need to go, you could try sitting them on the potty at regular intervals during the day and especially after mealtimes. Ask your child regularly if they need to use the potty, but be mindful of not overwhelming them with this process.

3. What happens at night? Potty training during the day does not mean they are automatically trained to get through the night. It can take up to two years to stay dry at nighttime. Continue using diapers to start with and then move on to potty training pants. Put your child on the potty just before bedtime and as soon as they wake.

4. Be prepared for setbacks and odd accidents even when you think you have got it mastered. Carry spare clothing with you and always use potty training pants, especially for long trips when out and about. If you continue to have lots of accidents, follow your instincts and be guided by your child. You may need to take a step back and remember to praise the successes and reassure your child if there are any accidents.

5. Make potty training fun by using a reward chart. It will help them understand their journey. Use stickers and place them on the chart or even to decorate their potty after every success. Mimic their favorite toys using the potty to show them how it works and to eliminate any fears they may have. Reading a potty-related story can also prove successful in getting your child engaged. Most importantly, relax, stay calm and try to enjoy this new stage with your child. They will succeed eventually and those diaper days will soon be just a happy memory!

For this journey, there are a few products you will need and it’s important to choose the right ones for your child. Some items are a potty, potty training pants, a waterproof mattress protector, toilet training seat, step stool, reward chart with stickers, and baby wipes. Ensure that the products are easy to clean as you will be doing a lot of this and be sure that they have sturdy, non-slip surfaces for the ultimate in safety. And unlike diapers, potty training pants can be pulled up and down by your toddler and really make them feel like a big kid. Reusable potty training pants will hold small accidents and save outer clothes from getting wet. But, unlike disposable potty training pants, they will not take the moisture away from the skin. Using potty training pants is a vital part of potty training as your child will notice the difference between wet and dry.