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Everything You Need to Potty Train, According to Experts

Photo: Paramount+

If you’re just embarking on the journey that is potty training your child, you know that it’s not necessarily going to be a walk in the park. Not only is it notoriously difficult to get a toddler to do anything, there’s also no one-size-fits-all approach. According to NYC Potty Training founder Samantha Allen, the most important thing to remember is to “stay calm throughout the process and find ways to set clear expectations without making kids feel pressured or forced.” Potty-training consultant Allison Jandu says that the right method will be the one that works with your kiddo’s personality and your family’s lifestyle. As far as when to start potty training, Allen says that as long as little ones can walk to the bathroom and follow simple instructions, “they can learn to use the potty.” Jen L’Italien, a certified consultant in the Oh Crap! potty-training method, told us the sweet spot for starting to potty train usually falls between 20 and 30 months of age, but adds you’re not doomed if you start younger or older than that. Whether you adhere to a three-day method or scheduled potty sits, Allen, Jandu, L’Italien, and the five other experts we spoke to say there are things you should consider keeping on hand to make the transition from diapers to toilet go a little more smoothly. From potties, to toilet-seat inserts, to step stools, to underwear, to books, to other helpful accessories, below is everything the experts recommend for effectively potty training a child.

Best training potties

Best overall training potty

While some experts like Allen and Laura Lynn LaPointe, a parent coach and child-behavior consultant, prefer starting toddlers on the big toilet, L’Italien thinks a small potty is useful for a couple of reasons. “Offering choice is always helpful for a toddler in any stretch of life, but certainly when you’re trying to get them to do something new,” she says. “If you can offer the options of a small potty or the toilet to a toddler, there’s at least some realm of choice.” Small potties, she adds, are “pretty much mandatory” for night training after you’ve taken the nap and night diapers away, because you’ll want a potty to put right next to a child’s bed so it’s accessible. “It makes for a much smoother process,” she promises. While L’Italien doesn’t have a strong affinity to any particular training potty, Jandu is a fan of this Learn-to-Go Potty from Summer Infant, which she trained her two kids with. “It’s lightweight and looks a lot like a regular toilet,” says Jandu. “It’s also very easy to clean and portable, so you can keep it within arm’s reach during those initial days of potty training.” Lifestyle influencer LaTisha Guster, the blogger behind BlushingBlack.com, also used a Summer Infant potty to train her two daughters. “The point was to buy a potty that did not make sounds, whistle, blow confetti, or remotely look like a toy,” she says. “I wanted something as plain and boring as possible to stay intentional about what the potty is meant for.”