How to Help Your Child Get Pants Down in Potty Training

Updated: Oct 31, 2019

Inside: Potty training tips for how to help your toddler get pants down faster in potty training.


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Watching your toddler put on their shoes is a lesson in how much can possibly go wrong with something so simple.


So many little things can trip up the process. If your toddler clocks in under 20 minutes for this small task, then you’re doing well in the shoe department.


If your toddler gets that shoe practice everyday, then let’s just say you’re doing mighty well in the patience department.


Whether it’s shoes, mittens, or the pants that need to come down before your child pees, there are little things that can delay those little hands doing the right thing at the right time.


Here are more tips for helping your toddler get their pants down in potty training.


In a timely way. Meaning not 20 minutes later.

Since timing is everything with pee going in the potty.


Is your child getting tripped up by the pants in potty training?


As a potty training consultant, one of the common issues I see is a slew of pee accidents related to the child not being able to get their pants down in time.

Remember, it's a matter of seconds your child has to get their pants down before the pee comes.

No joke.

When your child is first learning to use the potty, the natural process of *holding and consolidating* (which is the other half of potty training) hasn't come together yet.


So there's very little time before the feeling of *pee is coming* to


get over to the potty

push down pants

and release.

Then, how do you set your child up for success with their pants and potty training?


  • First, start by thinking about your language.

Jamie brings up a really simple but important point in Oh Crap Potty Training. And that is, our wording is off when you think about the way we describe getting your pants down in literal terms.


You grew up probably hearing, *pull your pants downs*.


But when you think about it, you're actually *pushing* your pants down when you're getting undressed.


Start with the right, descriptive words to make it clear to your toddler, so your child knows what to do.

Push your pants down.

Related: I talk through wording and language for how to prompt your child to go pee in my e-course Potty Training Solutions, if you're prompting your child and seeing high resistance to go potty.

But there's more..





  • Do you have a boy? One of the toughest parts of potty training with boys is avoiding the *misfires*.

Here are a few tips for how to potty train boys in dealing with those pants.


And getting the pee to go where you want it.

First, be sure you're directing your little guy how to get the pee in the potty while sitting down (and yes, your toddler should be sitting on the potty to start, until he's older and the right height to stand and clear the potty.)


You'll want to give the same regular, consistent prompt to get your son in the habit of aiming down with his penis when he's going potty. Here's a great prompt:

Hey buddy, push your penis down while you pee.

Another great tip with boys, is you'll want to describe *how far* he should be pushing his pants down.

You're very likely to see pee misfires if he doesn't push his pants down all the way to his toes.


In the very beginning of potty training, and especially if your little guy is on the younger side, here's a great tip to help boys with potty training:

Tell him to take one foot out of his pants.

He'll be in pants commando, per the potty training blocks in Oh Crap Potty Training, so it'll be easy for him to slip one foot out of his pants.


What does that do?


It ensures that his pants are truly down far enough. Otherwise, you're likely to see more misses, even when he's making it to the potty to pee and holds his penis down.


If the pants aren't down far enough, what you'll see..


are accidents where you find a patch of wetness only on the backside of his pants.


That's a clear indication that he didn't push his pants down all the way and they got in the way of his pee stream.

Another great way to help boys with potty training, especially after he's in the routine of using the potty or if he's a bit older is to use this prompt:

Push your pants down to your toes!

Toddlers are simple and direct. So be sure you're using language with potty training that's simple, direct, and clear.


  • Is your child still in diapers? Here's another tip...You can get started with the pants now!

You can set your child up for success with getting pants down in time for peeing (and pooping) before you even start potty training. That's right!

Start early and have some dress-up pants parties with your toddler!

Keep in mind, this is a fun activity only if it's done as a separate *fun activity*. You don't want to do this while you're in the middle of your morning routine, trying to get everyone out the door in a matter of minutes.


Set aside some time to practice.


It's a new skill for your toddler and they need to get used to the feeling of pushing down pants, and how to position thumbs to get those pants down easily.


A pants dress-up party is a great way for you to see if any pants are just *too hard* for your toddler.

  1. Set out all of your child's pants and leggings and give it a whirl with your toddler.

  2. Make sure to put away any pants with snaps, buttons, or zippers, as those will be too difficult for a while. You want to set your toddler up for success in independently being able to get their pants down to go potty.

  3. Stick with leggings and pants with elastic bands that are easy to push down.

  4. For girls, I also advise skipping the tights for a while, as those are so clingy tight that they can be tough for toddlers to push down on their own.

  5. Find pants that are too hard for your child? Then you want to put those aside in the early days and weeks of potty training your child.

You may be thinking..


"But I'm going to be there helping anyway. So why does this need to happen now? Why does it matter?"

Yes, it really does matter.

As you move forward from the very early days of potty training to *newly potty trained* you will not be watching your toddler with as close of an eye for every single pee.


So you want to set your child up for success to independently get their pants down in time.


Children want to get it right, and the pants can really get in the way of catching the pee in the potty, if they haven't learned how to push their pants down.

Another reason to make pants a priority in potty training?

Toddlers naturally *want* to do practical life things independently.

It's developmentally on their brains and that inner pride of *I can do it myself* is a huge motivator for potty training successfully.


Parents are less likely to see toddler resistance when their toddler takes on the process more and more.

Here are a few quick reminders on pants and potty training:

  • Watch your language. *Push those pants down!*

  • Help boys with a few simple cues to *hold down penis* and push pants down *all the way to toes*

  • Set up a dress-up pants party with your toddler to practice, practice, practice

Next up, how to help your toddler slip on shoes faster (or how not to lose your mind while watching your toddler slowly put on their shoes, ha!).

Illustrations: Citrus and Mint Designs



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Jen L'Italien

Potty Consultant

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You may not take any images or content from this site without written permission. Illustrations: Citrus and Mint Designs

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