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Publication #FAR0602

Toilet Training While Out with Children1

Suzanna Smith2

Figure 1. 
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Living with toddlers is no doubt an adventure. As these little humans begin to develop skills that make them more independent, such as speech, mobility, dressing themselves, and going to the toilet on their own, they are also developing new challenges for their parents. Working through potty training can be one of the most difficult challenges . . . but it doesn't have to be. It takes patience and persistence. To help your toddler make the transition from diapers to the toilet, helping them get there when they're not at home is also important.

Work with other caregivers, including your daycare provider or babysitter, to be consistent in your approach to toilet training. When you are out, be especially patient. You will soon learn where the closest restroom is in every grocery store, restaurant, and mall.

It is important to know that for every child there will be accidents. This is just a normal part of toilet training. Punishing or spanking the child for an accident can only make things worse! Children who are punished for mistakes may end up resisting the toilet altogether. Instead, stay calm and encourage the child; remind her or him to let you know when he or she has to go. Be sure to praise your child when she or he uses the potty, and tell her or him that you are proud. Celebrate with your child when you make it through the first "dry" day and congratulate yourself on your patience.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

To listen to the radio broadcast:


For more information about toilet training and other child development topics:

EDIS Cooperative Extension resources:

The American Academy of Pediatrics:

The National Association for the Education of Young Children:


Ferrer, M. (2000). Toilet training (FSC2152). Gainesville: Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Retrieved March 23, 2005, from

Administration on Children and Families. (2006). Surviving toilet training. Retrieved March 22, 2005, from



This document is FAR0602, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 136 and published January 2008. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Suzanna Smith, associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida, and executive producer, Family Album Radio,UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.