Sample Potty Training Schedule, Plus Expert Tips
Like most parents, you want to ensure your child is potty trained as quickly and efficiently as possible. But how do you know when they're ready? And do you need to follow a precise potty training schedule to make it happen?
If you're struggling to figure out this potty training thing, we've got your back. Our sample potty training schedule (below) provides a helpful framework to get you started. Plus, we've included some expert tips to help the transition go as smoothly as possible.
Table Of Contents
Is It Time To Potty Train?
- 18 months old or older
- Can follow simple instructions
- Shows an interest in using the toilet
- Stays dry for at least 2 hours at a time
- Has regular bowel movements
If your child meets all the above criteria, they may be ready to start potty training. However, it's also important to think about the timing. If you expect a significant life change in the next few months, such as a new baby or a move, wait until things have settled before you start.
Also, if you're looking at these signs and realizing that your little one still doesn't quite meet them, it's best to wait. Trying to potty train too early can frustrate you and your child. It can also lead to future daytime wetting problems or other regressions.
So feel free to pause the potty training for a few months and reevaluate things. Your child will eventually be ready. There's no need to rush the process.
But if you and your child are good to go, here’s a great place to start.
Sample Potty Training Schedule
Once you know your child is ready to start potty training, it's time to create a potty training schedule. This will help you and your little one know what to expect during the process.
There's no one-size-fits-all potty training schedule, so view this sample as a starting point. Every child is different. Tailor this to fit your toddler's individual needs and personality.
Also, note that this schedule doesn’t have any times attached to it. You can fill those in according to your family’s existing plans.
- Have your child go potty when they first wake up in the morning
- Enjoy a morning snuggle before making breakfast
- Eat and encourage your child to stay hydrated
- Take them to the potty after breakfast
- Spend some time together playing or reading potty-themed books
- Have a quick snack with a drink
- Try the potty again
- Get outside and let your little one burn off some energy
- Go potty
- Have nap time or quiet time
- Potty break when they wake up
- Enjoy a snack
- Potty time
- Screen time or free play time before dinner
- Eat dinner together and keep pushing fluids
- Go potty after dinner
- Family time
- Potty before bed
Yes, that's a lot of potty breaks! Your toddler must use the toilet frequently in the early stages of potty training, so it might seem like you're in the bathroom all day long. Even so, they might still have accidents, especially at first.
Accidents are to be expected — try not to let them bother you. Soon, your child will be pooping and peeing in the toilet regularly, which is something to celebrate!
Key Times For Going Potty
If you prefer a simple routine instead of a full-blown potty training schedule, here are some critical times to take your toddler to the bathroom:
- First thing in the morning
- After each meal or snack
- After playtime
- Before bath time
- Right before bed
If you can make these visits to the bathroom a regular part of your child’s routine, they’ll be more likely to use the toilet when nature calls.
Expert Potty Training Tips
Now that you know what a potty training schedule looks like, here are some tips from our experts to help things go as smoothly as possible.
Be Prepared For The Transition
Before you jump into potty training, make sure you have everything you need on hand. That way, you won't experience any interruptions in the process. You want to have these items ready to go:
- A potty chair or toilet seat insert
- Toilet paper and wipes
- Disposable training pants or underwear
- Stickers, charts, and other rewards (see below for ideas)
- Easy-to-understand books about potty training
- Good-smelling soap to encourage hand washing
- A washable mattress (so you can easily clean up after an accident)
Once you have everything, set your supplies up where they’re easily accessible. This will make things much easier for you and your toddler! Then, pick a day and get started.
Dress Your Child In Simple Clothes
Watching a toddler struggle with buttons while doing the potty dance is enough to drive any parent insane. Save yourself the headache and dress your child in easy-to-remove clothing.
Elastic waistbands are ideal since kids can pull them down quickly, but snaps and Velcro are also good options. Whatever you go with, you'll want to have a couple of outfits for each day. That way, when an accident happens, you have a change of clothes ready.
Use A Motivating Reward System
Most kids are resistant to potty training, which is why motivating reward systems are vital.
But not every child is motivated by the same thing. You may need to experiment to figure out what works for your little one. For example, some kids respond well to stickers or other small toys, while others might prefer a special treat like ice cream or a new book.
You can also try wrapping up a few small things from the dollar store. That way, your child feels like they're getting a present as a reward.
There are tons of possibilities. The key is to find something they will be excited about and use that to motivate them.
It's also important to remember that you won't be doling out rewards forever. You'll only use them during the initial stages of potty training while your child is still getting the hang of things.
Then, you'll begin to phase the prizes out, and soon, they'll be using the toilet without any rewards!
Keep Your Eye On The Clock
When it comes to potty training, consistency is key. You must take your child to the bathroom regularly throughout the day.
Set a timer for every hour or hour and a half, and take them to the toilet whether they think they need to go or not. This will help them get into the habit of using the bathroom to do their business.
You don’t want to let too much time pass between visits to the toilet. If you do, they’re more likely to have an accident.
Prepare To Spend A Lot Of Time In The Bathroom
As you may have noticed while reading our sample potty training schedule, you'll spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Make sure you're ready for this both mentally and physically.
Prepare the space with everything you need, including wipes, toilet paper, and extra clothes. It’s also not a bad idea to keep a good book handy. That way, you have something to read while waiting for your child to go.
A book for your toddler may also help. There’s something relaxing about flipping through the pages. And when your muscles are relaxed, you’re more likely to go potty!
Since you’ll be in the bathroom so much, you may need to make arrangements for any other kids in your home. It might be a good idea to ask a family member or friend to watch them for a few days so you can focus on potty training without distractions.
Protect Your Mattress
During the potty training process, accidents are bound to happen. However, if you prepare for them, they’re not nearly as big of a deal.
Put a mattress pad on your child’s bed to protect it. And keep some extra sheets and blankets on hand. That way, when there's an accident in the middle of the night, you can quickly take care of it, and everyone can go back to sleep.
Our Organic Cotton Sheets come in a two-pack so you'll always have a spare.
Don’t Rush Your Child
You'll find plenty of stories online about parents who toilet-train their kids in just a few days. And while that is a fantastic feat, it might not be how things work out for your child.
Don't be surprised if your potty training adventure lasts a few weeks or more. Each child is different and will learn at their own pace.
And, if you try to rush them, it could backfire and make the process take even longer. So be patient, keep up with your potty training schedule, and trust that your little one will get there eventually!
Potty Training, Here We Come!
The sample potty training schedule above is just that — a guide. Feel free to adjust it to fit your child's needs, and don’t try to stick to it rigidly.
Potty training can be a trying time for both parents and children. But, if you go into it with a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you'll surely come out the other side victorious with a diaper-free child.
In the meantime, be thankful for mattresses you can wash, like our 100% Washable Kids’ Mattress from Newton, and extra sheets to help keep you sane during this parenting adventure. We can’t imagine toilet training without these things!