beginning potty training: our tips & favorite products

Olivia is only 16 months old, but since about 12 months we have been working toward the goal of starting potty training between 18 and 24 months. I know we'll ultimately wait until Olivia shows us she is ready, but I definitely think there are ways to prepare for potty training even if your child isn't ready to actually start yet! Potty training can be overwhelming and it can be stressful thinking about when to start, how to start, and what to do if you aren't having success immediately. Today I wanted to share a few tips on getting ready for potty training, our favorite products and what has worked for us so far!

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1. We decided on purchasing a child potty for Olivia around 12 months, so that she could get used to it and become more aware of what it was used for. From 12-14 months, we left it downstairs in our extra bathroom and every few days while she was playing, she would walk over to it, pick it up and carry it out to 'play' with. She got such a kick out of it and soon saw it as something that was fun. By exposing her to it months before we actually start, she grows familiar with it and it makes the transition smoother! I also liked that with a small potty chair, Olivia's feet can touch the ground and she can get up and sit down as needed. It's accessible because it just sits in our bathroom, so she can go to it anytime, versus needing our help to get up and down if we were using our toilet to train her. A great article discussing all the different types of potty seats can be found here under Tips & Advice.

2. Around 15 months, I started taking Olivia into the bathroom with me every time I had to go. This wasn't difficult, because I rarely got any privacy before then since it seemed everywhere I went, V followed, especially into the bathroom! But I just chose to be more deliberate about it by calling her in and then setting her on her potty chair next to me. She would sit on it, watch me, and then after I would get up, she would get up! I was surprised at how quickly she mirrored my actions. By taking your child into the bathroom with you every time you go, you are starting to create a repetition in their mind of an activity you eventually want them to do on their own. This was a really simple way to prepare for training without much effort required!

3. This next one shouldn't come as a big surprise, because of how much Olivia and I love books! When we were at the bookstore a few weeks ago, I picked up some books on potty training, including A Potty for Me!, Big Girl Panties & Potty Training with Elmo. We have had fun reading them, both at bedtime and when she sits on her potty chair. She especially loved pressing the buttons on the Elmo book and hearing all the sounds. Seeing pictures and hearing verbs that relate to potty training is really beneficial when you're thinking about starting. I also like that they're basic books and not overly complicated. Simple is almost always best! I also picked up some bunny grahams that Olivia loves but that are much more of a 'treat' in our house than a regular snack. We plan to reinforce with positive feedback and reward, rather than discipline and negative responses, so getting a treat for her will help us do that!

4. Next, I enrolled Olivia in the Huggies Pull Ups Big Kid Academy for tips and resources related to Potty Training. I especially liked reading the Tips & Advice on Preparing for Potty Training, since that is the stage we're at right now as we prepare to start in the months ahead. I also found the Essential Tools for Potty Training page really helpful, where it shared a basic potty training system to make life easier! As a busy mom, I'm all about making life easier! Since every child is unique, I love that you get a personalized page with potty training activities when you enroll, and advice customized to your point in the potty training journey! It can be really overwhelming when starting and knowing I had resources at my fingertips anytime was really helpful. If you'd like to enroll your child, you can do so below!

5. Finally, after enrolling Olivia in the Huggies Pull Ups Big Kid Academy and spending a few weeks reading books, I bought Olivia some Doc Mcstuffins Pull-Ups. I talked with Dustin about it and we thought a good way to start would just be by putting her in them for a few hours each day in the afternoon, after her nap. This is the time of day when she is the most alert and active, and whenever I would take her into the bathroom with me and set her on her potty chair, I simply pulled her pull-ups down. I sized up a little bit so they were easy to pull off and on, and she has loved having characters on her diapers so I was glad we were able to find some Pull-Ups with cute characters. 

This most important tip, above all of these, is to start when both you and your child are ready. The idea of getting a potty chair at 12 months may seem overwhelming and too early, but we chose to do so without any other intentions -- simply introducing Olivia to it and waiting for her to show interest. When my husband suggested we put her in Pull-Ups for a few hours each day, it seemed so early but I think ultimately doing that for a few months until she is closer to 18-24 will just make the transition even easier when she is ready to be in Pull-Ups full time. I'm continually amazed at what Olivia understands and is capable of, and I'd hate to miss an opportunity for her to learn something because I thought she wasn't ready. Ultimately, don't put any pressure on yourself or your child and don't create a strict timeline. Take it day by day and follow your child's lead when they show interest. The timing will be perfect whenever they're ready, because it's all about them anyway!

Thank you to Pull-Ups for sponsoring today’s post and helping me Potty Train with the Big Kid Academy. 


  1. Oh gosh, Scarlett was 'interested' around a year to 18 months then all of a sudden she was scared of the potty haha! I wanted to have her potty trained by two, but like everything else I'm kind of letting her lead me on this one...

  2. I always bring Ellie into the bathroom with me! We talk about big girl potties when we are in there and also when diaper changing! So glad to know someone else is doing that too!


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