How to Use a Potty Training Schedule for Success

Using a potty training schedule is the best way to start potty training your toddler. In addition to helping create a more solid routine for your child, a schedule also makes the process a little easier on you.

While potty training is anything but predictable, using a schedule does make the first few days a little more manageable.

But if you’ve never considered using a schedule, you’re probably wondering what it’s all about. Here’s how to use a potty training schedule with your toddler.

Smiling toddler girl watching a red clock

How to Create a Potty Training Schedule

Like any other schedule, a potty training schedule is a daily outline of your child’s potty breaks. It allows you to create a regular routine for your child in hopes that their bathroom breaks quickly become a regular part of their day.

As your child’s bathroom skills evolve, their schedule will change. To start, encourage your child to try to use the bathroom every 20 to 30 minutes. So, during the first few days of potty training, your schedule will likely consist of several bathroom breaks every 30 minutes.

To keep consistent, set a timer and take your child to the bathroom each time the timer goes off. Let your toddler sit on the toilet for a few minutes, then take them off if they don’t go.

While your toddler probably won’t need to go during each trip to the bathroom, the act of stopping what they’re doing and using the potty is what’s most important.

If things are going well after a few days, you can start stretching out the time between each break to up to one hour. And after that schedule starts working, try stretching the time between breaks to two hours.

Eventually, you won’t even need to use a timer at all.

When you reach the point of not needing a timer, it’s time to start incorporating regular potty breaks into your child’s daily routine.

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While the frequency of bathroom trips and amount of time between each bathroom break will vary depending on your family’s routine, you can incorporate potty breaks around activities like:

What is a Good Potty Training Schedule?

Although everyone’s daily schedule will look different depending on their own day, creating a schedule for your toddler is a great way to develop a solid routine.

Think about the different activities your kids do every day, then come up with ways to incorporate bathroom breaks into those activities.

A good potty training schedule for a 2 year old or 3 year old might look like this:

  • 7:30 a.m. wake up and use the potty
  • 8:30 a.m. finish breakfast and use the potty
  • 10 a.m. use the potty and eat a snack
  • 12 p.m. use the potty and eat lunch
  • 2 p.m. use the potty and take a nap
  • 3:30 p.m. use the potty after waking up from a nap
  • 5 p.m. use the potty before dinner
  • 6 p.m. use the potty before bath time
  • 7 p.m. use the potty before bed

Stick to your daily schedule, but also incorporate a few more bathroom breaks into your day as needed. Your child might need to use the bathroom before you leave to run errands or before playing outside, for example.

How to Use a Potty Training Schedule

Now that you have a good idea of when to incorporate potty breaks into your child’s day, you might be wondering how to implement the schedule with your toddler.

Try these methods for using your schedule with your child:

  • Frequent reminders. It might take a few days for your child to get adjusted to their new schedule, so you’ll probably need to remind them each time it’s time for a bathroom break. If your child is already accustomed to a routine, a simple reminder to use the bathroom before they eat their snack or take a nap is all you’ll need to encourage them to adjust their schedule.
  • Potty schedule chart. A visual chart is another easy way to remind your child to start incorporating bathroom breaks into their routine. A visual schedule outlining each activity they do throughout the day can help remind them that they need to use the bathroom before moving on to the next step in their routine.

Potty Training Schedule Frequently Asked Questions

As you’re setting up a schedule for your toddler, here are answers to a few questions that may pop up.

How Often Do You Set a Timer for Potty Training?

When you first start potty training, set your timer for every 30 minutes. After your child gets used to using the potty, you can stretch the length of time between bathroom visits to one to two hours at a time.

How Long Should You Make Your Child Sit on the Potty?

Taking your toddler off the potty too early may not give them enough time to go. But if you make them sit there too long, they might just spend all day in the bathroom. That’s why finding the right time frame for letting your toddler try to go is so important.

Typically, you should let your toddler sit on the toilet for three to five minutes. If they haven’t gone at that point, take them off the seat and try again in 20 to 30 minutes.

How Often Should You Put a Toddler on the Potty?

The number of times you put your toddler on the potty will depend on the amount of time you’ve been potty training. When you’re just starting out, put your toddler on the potty every 30 minutes, which means they could sit on the potty up to 20 times per day.

As your toddler becomes used to the idea of going potty, you can reduce the number of times you take them to the bathroom. Most children this age will need to use the toilet every two hours. So, giving them six to eight bathroom breaks per day is a good estimate.

How Long After a Toddler Drinks Do They Pee?

While the amount of time it takes your toddler’s body to process a drink will vary, most kids are ready to use the bathroom around one hour after finishing a drink.

When creating your potty training schedule, use this as a guideline to determine how long after meals and snacks your toddler will need to take a potty break.

What if My Toddler Doesn’t Stick to the Schedule?

Schedules are great for many kids, but not all children like to stick to the confines of a routine. If you try to stick to a potty training schedule and it’s just not working for your toddler, try a different method instead.

Allowing your toddler to set the boundaries of their potty training is a great way to give an independent child a little more control over the process.

Instead of forcing a schedule on them, try allowing them to tell you when they need to use the bathroom to see if that helps ease the transition for your child.

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