Getting Ready for Potty Training

Diapers, diapers, and more diapers—it’s amazing how many you’ve changed since your child was born! What parent hasn’t dreamed of the day when the diapers will be gone forever? However, toilet training is also a subject that many parents think about with nervous anticipation. Learning to use the toilet independently is one of the tasks your child will need to master to learn to take care of her own needs but don’t worry, everything doesn’t have to go perfectly all at once. Children with blindness or low vision, like other children, can learn to handle going to the bathroom on their own.

Most parents don’t begin potty training until their child is around age two, and most children aren’t developmentally able to exercise the control needed until they are at least 18 months old. Still, your everyday routines around diapering and elimination can start helping your child get ready long before that time.


  • Have a consistent diapering routine so that your baby knows what to expect. You might want to say, “It’s time to change your diaper,” as you gently pat their bottom. As you move through changing your child, name each step, for example, “Now I’m taking off your wet diaper.” Using the same steps and the same language each time will help your baby start to anticipate what will happen next.
  • As your baby nears their first birthday, start involving them actively in parts of the diapering routine. For instance, they can help you pull down their pants or hand you the tube of ointment you use.
  • Name their body parts as you touch them during diapering, always using the proper name for each one. This will help your child learn about their body, especially if they can’t see it.
  • Once your baby is walking and is mobile, put a few diapers where they can reach them, and encourage your child to get a diaper when it is time for a change. This will help your child begin to recognize when a diaper change is needed. It will also give a purpose for moving and at the same time help your child to realize that everything has a place where it is kept.
  • Talking about using the toilet is a big part of toilet training. For example, explain to your child what is happening when they are urinating or having a bowel movement in their diaper, and let them know that big boys and girls do that in the toilet. Many helpful books are written for toddlers learning about using the toilet.
  • Allow your child to accompany you into the bathroom if you’re comfortable with that. Tell your child about what you are doing. When the toilet is clean and not being used, allow them to touch it to see what it is all about. Together the two of you can flush it and listen to the noise it makes. Make sure to warn them before you flush so they are not startled!

How do you know if your toddler is ready to start formal toilet training? See “It’s Time to Sit on the Potty!”