The Essential Items for Potty Training

Prepare for potty training by stocking up on these must-have items. Our list of supplies will help you and your child ease into this developmental milestone.

If you've decided to start potty training, there is one item that is important to success: "Patience!" says. David Hill, M.D., a pediatrician in Wilmington, North Carolina, and author of Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro. Once you've stocked up on that, we have the rest of your basics for successful potty training.

For the Bathroom

potty training essentials

"One of the secrets to potty training success is making sure you have all the essential equipment and supplies before you begin," advises "Potty Pro" Teri Crane, author of Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day. Start with these necessities to prepare for and build your child's interest in potty training.

Potty Chair: These stand-alone potties are the perfect size for little learners and are available in a variety of colors and familiar cartoon characters. A kid-size potty will be easier for your tot to use and less intimidating than a traditional toilet, and it can be moved around the house if needed.

Seat Reducer: Smaller and less expensive than a potty chair, a seat reducer (or potty seat) sits on top of a traditional toilet seat and reduces it to a child-friendly size. Most have colorful designs and a padded cushion for added comfort. Using a seat reducer for potty training will occupy one of your toilets, a potential problem if you want to leave it there and you're a one-toilet household, but most seat reducers have handles for easy removal and storage.

Stool: A small plastic or wooden stool will help your child get up onto a seat reducer and sit on the toilet. It will also give your child a sense of safety and stability, and can help get her in the right position for using the bathroom. A stool is also handy for boosting kids up to the sink and faucet level to wash their hands. Some potty chairs convert into or can be used as a stool to cut down on clutter in the bathroom.

Toilet Paper/Flushable Wipes: Toilet paper is already standard in your loo, but pick up a pack or two of flushable wipes, which are similar to baby wipes but disintegrate more easily and are safer for plumbing. These wet wipes are softer than toilet tissue and more familiar to your child, and they make cleanup faster. Just be sure they are compatible with your plumbing.

Kid-Friendly Hand Soap: Potty training involves teaching good hygiene, so choose (or have your child help pick out) a hand soap that will encourage post-potty hand washing. Instead of regular bar or liquid soap, consider stocking up on foaming soap. "Toddlers love the bubbles, and there are easy, inexpensive recipes online to make your own once you have the pump dispenser," says Heather Wittenberg, Psy.D, a Parents advisor and author of Let's Get This Potty Started! The BabyShrink's Guide to Potty Training.

For Your Child

Choosing a potty is certainly important, but so is outfitting your little potty trainer for the task. From motivational undies to easily removable pants, here are the items you need for your potty training tot.

Awesome Undies: Cool big-kid underwear can be a key motivator in helping your child move beyond diapers; being excited is an key component to successful potty training. Consider taking your potty trainer to the store with you to pick out his first pack featuring different colors, patterns, characters, and themes.

Easy On-and-Off Pants: During those first few days, weeks, and months of potty training, ditch the rompers, overalls, and button-up pants for easy on-off pants and shorts with elastic waists. Avoid pants with drawstrings or zippers because they will need to be untied and unzipped. Your child will still be learning the sensation of needing to go, so you don't want to waste any time with tricky clothes; you'll want to be able to get the pants off in the shortest time possible, by either you or your child. The goal is to train your child to be self-sufficient enough to take off her pants to use the bathroom, so choose a style that ill be simple enough for her to manage.

Training Underpants: Training underpants come in both disposable and reusable/washable styles and are designed to let your child feel wetness (unlike a diaper). This way, he knows when he's gone potty but the wetness is contained so it doesn't soak through clothes. For some families, training pants are a necessary middle step in the potty training process; for others, they can be a crutch that prolongs the transition from diapers to underwear.

Progress Chart: Using the potty is a whole new habit for your child, and it can help if she can see, record, and be reminded of her progress. There are plenty of attractive tracking charts you can buy on Etsy.com or print off of Pinterest, but a simple hand-drawn grid decorated by your child will work. The goal is to help her -- and you -- note all the successes being made.

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