Potty Training Day 1: How To Get Started

Potty Training Day 1: Anyone that’s ever tried to start potty training their toddler, knows how awful it can be. It’s a big deal! There is so much information out their in internet land as to how to approach it – you can get lost in an online black hole for hours. Give yourself a break and just read our steps – we’ve done the hard yards for you.

We’ve done a lot of research (online and speaking with other parents and experts) and used a few different types of potty training methods, and what follows is our list of the 9 steps to success for Day 1 & beyond.

Without further ado, enjoy!

Table of Contents

Potty Training Day 1: 9 Steps To Success

1. Go Commando

potty training day 1

I was doing some research online and came across a suggestion to dress my child in an oversized t-shirt and no underwear. No way, I thought! So I began potty training with panties, and he peed a lot in them. It was SO MUCH BETTER when I removed the underpants, which felt like a diaper.

On the third day, we started wearing underpants.

2. Say Bye-Bye To Diapers

Actually. My toddler said “Bye-bye” and hugged the packet of diapers – then I hid them out of sight. Worked a treat!

3. Show Them What To Do

Make sure they have the right words ‘pee’, ‘toilet’, ‘poo’ etc and let them know that they need to tell you when they have to go.

4. Repeat This Phrase CONSTANTLY

“Let mama know if you need to go pee or poop in the potty chair. Okay?” Repeat this phrase every two to five minutes. Toddlers will forget about the potty. They will pee wherever they are, just like they would if they were wearing a diaper. However, if you remind them frequently, they will remember to tell you that they need to leave.

“Do you need to go to the bathroom?” is a question that should never be asked. Even if they have to, your child will say no. “Let me know if you need to go poop or pee in the potty,” you say, and the toddler decides whether or not to tell you.

5. The Timer Is Your Best Friend

For the first two hours of day one, set the timer for every 10 minutes. It’s time to go toilet when the alarm goes off. Take a few minutes to sit. We used the potty for the remainder of the day, setting the timer for every 20 minutes. He was telling me when he needed to go pee by the afternoon of day one, but we still used the timer.

6. Watch For Signs Of Needing To Go

potty training day 1

Keep a constant eye on your child. Look for indicators that they need to leave, such as crossing their legs, dancing around, farting, or becoming silent.

7. Wiping Their Bums (Front and Back!)

You’ll need to wipe little girls bottoms (front to back) after they pee and remind boys to shake off the drops before putting their pants back on. Poo-poos will need to be thoroughly wiped with toilet paper. Wash their hands (and yours!) with soap and water, and show them how to properly wash their hands.

8. Accidents

Toilet training should always be a happy experience for the child, with no punishment or humiliation. Just stay calm, clean it up and keep on keeping on.

9. Celebrate Big, But Don’t Reward EVERY time

When your child uses the potty, it’s normal to reward them with sweets or a sticker, but this can backfire. My friend gave her daughter an M&M every time she went potty, and it worked for them. However, the little girl began to pretend to go potty in order to get an M&M – how cute is that?!

As a result, it’s preferable not to treat them every time they go. Eventually, the incentive will lose its appeal, or they may simply want the reward without having to use the restroom.

What About Nap Time?

When your child can hold their wee for the duration of a nap and wake up when they need to go to the toilet, they are ready for nap time potty training.

Many potty-training youngsters hold their wee until their diaper is on, so it’s not as simple as waiting for dry diapers during naps. Instead, use their age and bladder capacity to determine their readiness, which is easier to assess.

Your child’s bladder must be able to send a strong enough signal to their brain to wake them up and notify them they need to go potty in order for them to stay dry while sleeping. Potty training skills improve with age, promise! 

What About Overnight Bed Time?

Use a diaper for naps and nighttime sleep, and when your child has gone 7 nights without a wet diaper, it’s time to switch to underwear!

Is Your Toddler Really Ready for Potty Training?

Many parents are unclear when to begin toilet training or “potty training” their children – including yours truly – especially if they are only 1! Because not all children are ready at the same age, keep an eye out for the below indicators of readiness, before deciding it’s time for bye-bye nappy.

potty training day 1
  • follow simple instructions
  • understand and use words about using the potty or toilet
  • make the connection between the urge to pee or poop and using the potty or toilet
  • keep a diaper dry for 2 hours or more
  • get to the potty/toilet, sit on it for enough time, and then get off the potty/toilet
  • pull down diapers, disposable training pants, or underpants
  • show an interest in using the potty/toilet or wearing underpants

The majority of children show these signs between the ages of 18 and 24 months, while some may not be ready until later – and some, like your 1 year old – may be ready much earlier!

When travelling, around the birth of a sibling, transitioning from the crib to the bed, moving to a new house, or when your child is sick, you may wish to delay commencing toilet training (especially if diarrhoea is a factor).

Getting Prepared For Potty Training

Talk About It

“Soon, mommy will teach you to go pee on the toilet like mama and papa,” I started saying to our toddlers a few weeks before we started potty training. There will be no more diapers!”

Choose A Potty

Get your toddler involved in this – head out to the shops or jump online together and let him/her choose. If you need more help, check out our post on the best potty for toilet training.

Order Big Kid Undies (Lots!)

We had nine pairs of toddler potty training pants, but we also ordered some underwear from Target so Freddie could choose out his potty training pants the day before and be more involved in the process of becoming a big boy.

Set Aside At Least 3 Days

potty training regression

Set aside three days in a row to focus just on the toilet, pee, and poop. You should prepare to spend the entire day with your child, especially on the first day. Keep a tight eye on the toilet! Also, don’t take your child out of the house just yet – those public restrooms are not for new potty trainers!

The Day Before

I dashed around the store, buying every pair of little underwear I could find (hopefully you’re more prepared than this). We also bought Smarties, our son’s favourite reward currency, and a few small toys to encourage progress, as suggested by friends. We put him to bed and promised him there would be no more diapers the next day. This made him giggle (and me sweat!).

Potty Training Day 1: What To Expect

Messy Accidents

Yes, there will be accidents – a lot of them . . . especially on the first day.

To Be Proud

Expect to be ecstatic when your child tinkles in the potty for the first time, even if it’s just a small drop. It’s such a thrilling feeling if any wee makes it to the potty at all (especially if you’re training a boy!) . It fills you with joy and pride when your toddler begins to ask for the potty; your kid is maturing and reaching a key milestone.

What To Do When Potty Training Won’t Work

potty training day 1

Is the above not working for you? Every child is unique, and not every child will be toilet trained on the same day. Recognize that your youngster will ultimately learn to use the toilet. If you try this strategy for a week and still have a lot of accidents, it’s probably not ready to start toilet training. After a month, try again.

Potty Training Day 1: FAQ

  1. What do you do on the first day of potty training? Our best tip is to use a timer (even your phone alarm will do the trick). For the first two hours of day one, set the timer to 10 minute intervals. It’s time to use the restroom once the alarm goes off. Spend some time sitting. We set the timer for every 20 minutes for the remainder of the day and used the restroom. Read our 9 Steps To Success for more help
  2. What day of potty training is the hardest? We’d say day 2, as the excitement has worn off for both you and your toddler. But stick with it if you want the results!
  3. What should day 2 of potty training look like? Based off Lora Jensen and her 3-day potty training method, Day 2 is similar as Day 1, but with pants (assuming you had success with the naked phase). A lot of fluids once more. Using the restroom at least once every 20 to 30 minutes, or more often if you think it’s best for your child
  4. How many accidents is normal after potty training? Even weeks after you begin potty training, you can still anticipate 1-2 accidents per day – sorry, but practice makes perfect!
  5. Is the first day of potty training the hardest? We believe the 2nd day is the hardest, when all of the excitement has worn off.
  6. How long after my toddler drinks do they pee? Most kids urinate an hour after consuming a lot of liquid. Watch for signs that your child needs to urinate or have a bowel movement during these times. Additionally, make sure your kid uses the toilet at regular intervals. This might happen every 1 12 to 2 hours.
  7. What are 3 signs that your baby is ready for potty training? If your child exhibits two or more of these behaviours, it’s likely that they are prepared to begin potty training: tugging at a soiled or damp diaper. hiding while you urinate or defecate. expressing an interest in other people’s bathroom habits or imitating it. For more information – check out Is Your Child Really Ready?
  8. How many hours a day should you potty train? All day everyday, baby – but make sure you have a timer set to encourage your toddler to sit on the toilet at least every 30 minutes while they are learning.

Why trust My Toddler Life?

My Toddler Life is run by mum’s, for mum’s. All information provided on our site is thoroughly researched and takes in to consideration our lived experiences and the opinions of industry professionals. How are we different from other sites doing the same thing? We have fun while doing it (often with a glass of wine in hand) and don’t take ourselves too seriously!

To wrap it all up…

Thank you for making it this far with me. I hope that at least one of these tips & images resonates with you & your family when it comes to your toilet training journey. We’ve had a look at what to expect on day 1, as well as how to prepare – and we’ve then provided a breakdown of my 9 steps to potty training success on day 1 based off personal experience, friends experience and the advice of experts. I hope it’s all been helpful – please comment below with any tips I may have forgotten! And if you need any further advice on toddler’s and toilets, check out our comprehensive post on Toilet Training Steps, which includes a FREE toilet training sticker chart.


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