how to potty train

As a nanny, you get to experience every part of your kiddos’ lives. One part of every kid’s life is going through potty training. Just as you would be involved in your baby’s nap routines, feeding schedule, diet, and other routines, you will find yourself becoming an essential part of the potty training process. If you’ve never dealt with potty training before, you may have some questions:

How do I know when my kids are ready?

When should potty training start?

How do I train them?

What can I do to keep them from regressing?

In today’s article, we’re going to tackle these questions together!

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Are they ready? When should I start? 

you should be encouraging your little one always to be thinking of the next step

It’s never too early to start talking with your kiddos about “the next step.” Opposite from dating someone and taking things slow, you should be encouraging your little one always to be thinking of the next step. What will be next for them? 

Once your toddler is walking on their own, buy yourself a training potty. I don’t know about you, but any toddler I’ve ever had follows me everywhere once they can walk – even into the bathroom. So, while they’re there staring and talking nonsense, I pop them onto their potty while I use mine. When I’m done, I pull up their pull-up or readjust their diaper and have them wash their hands with me.

Obviously, some of my kids start extra early, but starting early is great

To make this work, I must be drinking my share of water. Staying hydrated and making a conscious effort to drink enough water during the day are just added bonuses! After doing this with me every time I go during the day, it helps them get on a regular schedule of “trying” on the potty. That way, when their ready, it will be a breeze. 

To make this work, I must be drinking my share of water

Pro Tip: Turn on the water, hearing the sounds of running water will encourage them to go. 

Encourage, don’t force. You’ll know when your toddlers are ready to start more active potty training. After they get in the habit of trying while you go, it’s time for the next phase.

Ask them on the way. While you’re putting down your toys or pausing your game or story for a quick trip to the potty, ask them if they have to go. By now, their bodies will be on a pretty similar schedule as yours. Asking them if they have to go around the time they do will help them recognize the sensation.

How should I potty train them? 

consistency is key!

There are a few different options when it comes to how to potty train your little one. 

No matter what method of potty training you choose, remember to be patient. It will take time. Every toddler is different and does things at their own pace. For either method, consistency is key! Set alarms on your phone every two hours. That way, you never forget to ask your toddler if they have to go potty.  


I prefer this method because it can be used while maintaining a normal routine.

The one main drawback I’ve had with this method is backsliding. Pull-ups and diapers have a pretty similar feel, so I find that some of my more distracted kids, don’t notice the difference when they’re deeply involved in playtime. For those kids, I prefer training underwear. These are cotton and feel and go on like “normal, big kid” underwear, but have extra padding just in case


I’ve used this method a few times. It’s honestly, a quick working one, but it can get messy and may have some instant regression.

It consists of basically staying home for a week straight. So, it can get pretty dull and stressful. I say messy and stressful because you literally let your toddler run around bottomless for the time. That way, they don’t have any way of hiding that they have to use the potty. But, it also means, if they don’t get to potty in time, you can end up with some messy situations.

For this method, I recommend putting towels down anywhere your toddler will be playing. This way, even if there is an accident, it will be easy to clean. 

The Potty Seat

Any cheap-o potty seat can work for the “lead by example” stage of training. This just gives them a place to sit and “try” for their first few times. Once you actually start the training, using one of these toilet seats with the extra kid seat size. This works great because it’s not something that has to be put on and taken off every time your little one has to go potty. It saves them time, lowering the chances of an accident. 


With any behavioral training, I recommend setting up a reward system. This encourages positive reinforcement rather than negative punishment. This is not a bribe, although I do that sometimes too when I get desperate or have reached my wit’s end. Nobody’s perfect! 

Keep your reward system simple. Adding a sticker for every “try” will encourage enthusiasm for using the potty. Make sure to give two stickers for actually using the potty. We don’t want this to become a game they play for rewards. Once they reached 20 stickers, they can receive a prize. You can make the prize something that will keep your little one motivated.

To learn how to successfully establish systems and rewards that help children reach goals READ THIS.

Regression – What to do? How to avoid it?  

There are two main reasons for your kid having accidents:

  • distraction
  • shame

If they are more invested in their toys or make-believe, using the potty becomes the last thing they want to do.

If your kid is distracted, they may forget, ignore, or deprioritize using the potty. Distractions can be anything from their toys to a change in their family, like having a new baby around, starting school, or having a change in caregiver. 

Kids can be stubborn! If they are more invested in their toys or make-believe, using the potty becomes the last thing they want to do. One of the best ways to combat this attitude is by emphasizing, from the beginning, how brief potty breaks are. 

As for the changes happening around them, make sure to keep their schedule as seamless as possible. I always recommend that pregnant moms start training their little ones before the new baby comes. It helps their little ones have a plan and know the expectations before everything changes. It’s also more convenient because let’s face it, pregnant moms and toddlers have about the same size bladders. 

Don’t make accidents a big deal. Simply clean them up

Would you be embarrassed to wet yourself and need someone else’s help undressing, bathing, and doing laundry?! Toddlers can feel that embarrassment too. Worse still, some nannies and parents will show irritability when these accidents happen! That would be devastating. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand the frustration of having to drop everything and clean up a kid that just had an accident. However, showing that negativity only ends up setting them back. Don’t make accidents a big deal. Simply clean them up – with no hard feelings – and remind them of your expectations. 

Accidents happen. Thanks for coming to me when it did. Now, let’s get you cleaned up and remember for next time, to use the potty like a big girl.” 

Find the silver lining and give positive reinforcement for it! Potty training takes patience, but when it’s over, it’s totally worth it! 

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