The right time to toilet train varies based on your child and your own circumstances. Some moms really want that first child out of diapers before his sister arrives, and other moms want to wait because they don’t want to clean soiled underwear and spit up.
At some point, it’s time. And we’ve found that using a timer (our favorite for this is the Time Timer® PLUS) can give you the routine, expectation setting and sanity you need to move onto big girl panties (or training pants as the case may be). Here are some of our favorite time and schedule tips:
Consider your Schedule
Headed out of town for a long weekend soon? Planning a vacation, new baby, new job, new school or major holiday? These are probably not the times to begin toilet training. The excitement of going potty is enough excitement by itself. Really, trust us. Don’t try it before a road trip or her big sister’s first day of kindergarten.
Decide on a number of days.
Tackle it on a weekend, or over a week. Set a number of days to try toilet training. You might find she’s too young, or there’s too much going with her siblings, and another time is better. But set expectations, and keep them, and give yourself a break to reassess if you or she aren’t ready.
Start with 20 minutes.
Going diaper free (however that looks for you), set the timer for 20 minutes, and then take her to the potty when time elapses.
Allow 3-5 minutes each trip.
Re-set the timer (or keep a separate one by the potty), and tell her you’ll sit until the timer goes off. She can watch time run out on the red disk, or you can read her one of her favorite stories (Everyone Poops is never a bad choice.).
Expand your time in between trips.
If she’s dry at 20 minutes, slowly increase to 30, then 45 minutes. If she has an accident, you can reduce the amount of time in between trips, and then try increasing again.
Be prepared to try again.
If after three days, she isn’t finding success at the potty, take a break. Try again in a few weeks.