July 1, 2022

‘Potty training consultant’ shares best tips for parents

WATCH: Potty training expert Allison Jandu shares tips for parents

Potty training can be nerve-racking for parents, but doesn't have to be, says Allison Jandu, the founder of "Potty Training Consultant" and author of "How Do You Poo?"

“I think a lot of parents are anxious about starting potty training,” Jandu, a mom of two, told "Good Morning America."

Courtesty Allison Jandu
Allison Jandu, founder of 'Potty Training Consultant', helps families potty train with expert support.

Jandu leads online courses that help parents teach their toddlers to use the toilet. On Instagram, she shares tips and funny videos for parents to gain confidence about the process.

“My motto is that there's no one-size-fits-all potty training method,” Jandu said.

Courtesty Allison Jandu
Allison Jandu, founder of 'Potty Training Consultant', helps families potty train with expert support.
MORE: Top potty training tips from The Mom Psychologist

Below are her top potty training tips:

Decide when to potty train and stick to that decision.

Jandu advises deciding at what age your child will begin potty training. Research from the American Academy of Family Physicians suggests that children between 18-30 months, or around age 2, may be ready for the process, but kids may indicate they could be ready even earlier than that, such as showing an interest in the potty or going longer stretches with a dry diaper. She says the key is to stick to your decision once potty training starts.

“Take some time to do a little bit of learning yourself and figure out what approach might be best for your child and the way that they learn because again, you can't be really bouncing back and forth between diapers and underwear, because it's just going to cause your child to have confusion," Jandu said.

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, she said. If a child gets sick or you get sick, it's OK to take a break, but overall, if a child starts to show progress, consistency can make a big difference.

Celebrate the wins.

She also warns that accidents will likely happen but recommends parents focus on children's progress, rather than setbacks.

"Accidents are frustrating, but they're part of the learning process, and they actually help kids learn faster," Jandu said. "It's important that you put your focus on the good potty behaviors, instead of dwelling on the accidents."

Ditch the schedule.

Some potty training guides suggest parents take their child to the bathroom at set intervals but Jandu said she doesn't recommend this method.

"Some kids need to pee every 30 minutes. Some kids need to pee every 3 hours. If you are taking your kiddo to the bathroom before their bladder is full, their brain will never receive a signal from their bladder to tell them to go potty themselves," Jandu said in an Instagram post. "Your child never learns how their body feels when they actually need to go and it can actually delay bladder development."

This method also can teach your child to rely on you to prompt them to go to the bathroom, even if their body is telling them it's time, leading to an accident, she advises.

Get up early.

To ease the nighttime diaper habit, Jandu also suggests having your child wake up 15 minutes earlier and taking them straight to the bathroom first thing in the morning. This can help discourage wetting of the diaper when they wake up and instill the habit of visiting the bathroom when they feel an urge.

MORE: This is for all the parents whose kids are struggling with nighttime potty training

Encourage kids to release pee.

It's a common issue -- once a child is on the potty, they might struggle with going. If you're sure your child actually needs to go, Jandu suggests giving them relaxing encouragements like blowing bubbles, a method that mimics deep breathing, placing their feet in some warm water, giving your child a little tickle to get them laughing, or adding a drop or two of essential peppermint oil into the toilet.

Keep it fun.

Another tried-and-true tactic? Jandu said to use the play method. If a kid is having trouble learning, try to think of ways to make it fun and turn it into a game. Using a play doll and a play potty can help young kids visualize the entire process and figure out the steps they need to remember.

For more on potty training, the American Academy of Pediatrics also provides articles and tips on their HealthyChildren.org website.