Last updated on June 20th, 2024

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Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

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How to Prepare for Potty Training: 4 Things to Consider

In creating the Gentle Potty Course, we felt strongly that we needed to help families prepare to potty train just as much as we had to teach about potty learning itself. Potty learning success means preparing for success, even if you aren’t going to start for a few weeks or months! Preparing your family and environment by being calm and confident contributes so much to the success of this potty training milestone. Let’s talk about 4 things to do to prepare for potty training. 

How to Prepare for Potty Training

Get a Few Floor Potties 

We recommend getting a floor potty, or even 2 or 3. Having a floor potty is more approachable for most children than a big toilet. Climbing up to a large, open, and loud toilet can be a little scary for some children. With a floor potty, your child will have quick and easy access whenever they feel the urge to use the bathroom. You can even involve your child in this process and let them pick out potties that they want

Read Books, Sing Songs and Watch Videos About the Potty

Many books, songs, and videos about potty training can help your child form an emotional connection to the toilet learning process. With the help of your child, explore resources with one of their favorite characters, so you can show that the character also uses the potty. We have an extensive list of potty songs and videos available in our course


You CAN Potty Train Gently +Successfully!

7 myths parents need to debunk for a struggle-free potty training journey!


You can also “play” potty with their favorite stuffed animals, dolls, or superheroes. All of this can be done in a really stress-free way. Playing potty may be different than the “rigid” potty training methods you’ve read about. Playing and modeling behavior helps your child make that mental leap to connect to the potty in a gentle less intimidating way.

Cute baby in a diaper sitting on a potty. Toilet and potty training. A small child gets used to a useful skill. Hygiene.Baby sitting on a potty toilet stool potty

Practice Deep Breathing 

Helping kids practice deep breathing, like deep belly breathing, is so important as your child learns to use the potty. As you probably know, it’s hard to pee or poop when you’re holding in deep breaths. If you practice this before the actual potty learning, your child will have those tools to help cope with this major change. For parents, deep breaths also help us practice more patience and remain calm during the process. 

Lead By Example 

Modeling potty behavior is one of the most powerful tools that you have as a parent. You don’t have to buy anything – you’re all that’s needed. This means talking more about pee and poop. Take your child to the potty with you, narrating the whole process. Say things like “I am going potty because I feel like I need to go”. Tell them how it feels when you have to go, and show them that you’re stopping what you’re doing to go. Walk and talk them through the process of pulling down your pants, using the toilet, and cleaning yourself up. 

The more they know, the less scary the process will be when the time to potty train comes. It may be your habit to enjoy the bathroom alone, with 2-3 minutes of privacy. We understand that, but in the weeks leading up to starting potty training, invite them in the process with you. Be open and honest with everything about the potty from how it feels, looks, and even smells. Let your child know you’re relaxed and going potty is something you do every day. 


You CAN Potty Train Gently +Successfully!

7 myths parents need to debunk for a struggle-free potty training journey!


We have more steps on potty preparation, keys to success when potty learning, and a 1:1 potty plan review call with a Gentle Potty Coach inside our Gentle Potty Course. Sign up today to set you and your child up for success in this exciting new journey. 

Author: Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

My name is Kim West, and I’m the mother of two beautiful girls, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 21 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. My sleep journey began when I started experimenting with gently shaping my daughter’s sleep by not following the conventional wisdom at the time. After having success (and then more success with my second daughter!), I began helping family and friends and my step-by-step method spread like wildfire, exactly like an excellent night of sleep for a tired parent should!