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8 Potty Training Tips for your Preschooler

by Cecilia Ryan on June 21, 2017

Potty training - two dreaded words for some parents!

We all have the friends whose child was out of diapers by 18 months and potty training was a dream. But then we also have the friends whose kids were still in diapers until the age of 4. It might have been easy with your first child but the second just won’t do it. The main thing to remember is that potty training is different for everyone and there is no one set method. Instead, we’re here to offer 8 potty training tips for your preschooler.

potty training tips for your preschooler patience


Patience is key. Stressing about potty training won’t make things any easier for you or your child. All children will get there eventually! No one leaves for college still wearing diapers! You need to be patient with your child and take the pressure off yourself.

#2 Let Your Child Decide

A big part of potty training success lies in the willingness of the child. You can’t force it. Good signs to watch out for are a desire to be clean soon after they have used their diaper, body awareness and an interest in the bathroom. If you try to rush them, it can turn into a power struggle where they resist longer out of stubbornness. The more relaxed you are, the better.

potty training tips for your preschooler lead by example

#3 Lead by example

For some kids, seeing mom or dad do it first can be a big help. They can see how to do it and how natural it is. Positive comments like “you’re such a big boy/girl” can really help children feel confident about using the potty. If you’re a single parent, maybe grandad/grandma/uncle/aunty can help—it's great for your child to see someone else show them how.

#4 Try Musical Alarms

One great tip is to set an alarm to remind you and your child to have a try. Start with every 30 mins, then every hour, every two and so on. You can get fun light up/musical alarms for you to both make it a bit of a game.

#5 Have Naked Time

When you’re at home, some naked time can be good for your child to become aware of the need to use the potty. Without a diaper on, they should become conscious of the fact that they need to use the potty. It should save accidents although putting some plastic covers down might be a worthwhile trick to start off with.

#6 Incentivize 

Some parents find little tricks and treats help to encourage their child to use the potty. Sticker charts, M&Ms, dollar store toys—if you find an incentive helps your child commit to using the potty, then go for it! However the key is to be consistent with your parenting. If this would be against your usual parenting style, then this will not be for you.

potty training tips for your preschooler diapers praise incentivise

#7 Ramp Up the Praise

The best thing you can do is praise your child. When they get it right, praise them and make a big deal over it! Go over-board to make them feel good for using the potty. Also, don’t scold them when they make a mistake. They need to associate it with a good feeling. If they have some fears around using the potty - a toilet monster or fear of falling in the toilet is common - find a way to address that fear and make the potty a positive experience.

#8 Use Potty Seats 

Potty seats are popular with some parents and help with using public bathrooms. Not every child likes using the big toilet though as it can be too hard to get to, causing last minute accidents. Whatever works best for your child. Some parents keep the potty in the living room or bedroom, wherever it will be easiest before moving to the bathroom. The key to remember is everyone’s different and whatever works best for your child is best for you.

The best thing to remember is that potty training is different for every child. Find the method that works best for you and stick with it. Once you have committed to potty training, do not backtrack. Your child needs to see you are consistant and that this is a permanent change.

Every child is different and for some, potty training can be a real challenge. If you have any great tips or tricks, please share and comment below! You might also want to take a look at our 6 Tips for Teaching Hygiene and Keeping Germs at Bay!

At our San Mateo, Oakland, and Pacifica preschools your kid doesn't need to be potty trained so if you're having trouble, our awesome teachers can help.