Toddler sitting on a potty for potty trainingToddler sitting on a potty for potty training

Tips on starting potty training with your toddler

Potty training. The term alone can send shivers down the spine of the calmest of caregivers. While it may seem simple enough, when the time comes to introduce the toilet to a toddler, parents often panic, paralyzed by the uncertainty of whether or not their child is ready.

Enter Meghan Tavormina, executive director of The Learning Path, a preschool in Chatham, NJ that doesn’t require kids to be potty trained before enrollment. With over twenty years’ experience in early childhood, Meghan has helped hundreds of children and parents through the toilet training process. Here, she shares her advice for making the transition from pampers to the potty as smooth as possible.

have an open door policy

Just like everything else, you need to model the behavior you want to see. Remember, they want to be just like you. Let your child see you go to the bathroom as often as possible, and be sure to talk about going to the bathroom…a lot!


wait for the signs

Not every baby sits up, crawls and walks at the same time; same goes for potty training. Children need to be physically and emotionally ready. Look for long periods of time of dry diapers, and take note if your child is pulling him or herself away, say in a corner or under the table, to have bowel movements. If they are showing these physical signs of being ready and showing interest….go for it!


accidents are your allies

The best tip I could offer to a parent is to allow your child to make mistakes. So often I hear parents tell me that they put a diaper or pull up on because their child had an accident. Children learn through their mistakes. They understand more about what is happening when they have an accident and are all the more proud of their accomplishment when they are successful.


pass on the pull ups

In my experience, pull ups tend to be confusing to kids. Many children see them as underpants that they can go to the bathroom in. We see much greater success with children who go straight from diaper to underpants. Try to also refrain from throwing a diaper or pull up on for convenience, such as a car ride or a trip to the park, as this can also confuse kids.


surrender to your little one

Understand that they are in control and they know it. Don’t fight for that control.


The Learning Path is a small preschool that focuses on the individual child.  Through a strong emphasis on social and emotional development and independent skills, Meghan and her staff create an environment where children become confident students who are eager to learn. For more information, visit

photo credit: © Ocean Photography /Veer