Your Guide to Potty Training

Most parents wonder whether their approach to potty training is the right one. Sorry, but there is no one right way. Children are different when it comes to potty training. What works for one may not work for others. Here is your guide to make potty training for your child successful and easier.

Make sure your child is ready, as there is no set age to potty train. You will make potty training much easier on you and your child by waiting until your child is ready. Here are some signs to tell when your child is ready for potty training.

  • Your child can tell you when he/she is “going” and then when he/she needs to “go”
  • Understands what wet and dry means and has words for urine and bowel movements.
  • Your child is able to stay dry for at least two hours or wakes up dry from a nap.
  • Shows imitative behavior (wants to be like everyone else around)
  • Your child is anxious to please you.
  • Has started putting things where they belong and is creating order in the world around him/her.
  • Your child shows independence by showing signs of wanting to control rather than being controlled (by saying “no,” for example)
  • Is able to pull his/her elastic waist pants up and down

You should watch for some of these signs. Not every skill need be present to begin potty training.

Make preparations before starting potty training.

Make potty training a priority and expect to need extra time in your schedule for the attention needed for successful potty training. Explain to your child the advantages for them of using the potty, such as the pleasure of being clean and being much more grownup. Decide what words to use for body parts, urine, and bowel movements. Where possible, avoid using negative words like “stinky” “naughty” and “dirty” as these might make your child embarrassed and reluctant.

Now for successful potty training

If your child is afraid of the toilet, start with a little potty. Have them sit on it fully clothed and read to them to get them used to the potty.

Try making a song about going potty as this may make it sound fun to use the potty.

Set up a daytime routine. Encourage your child to practice. Have them set on the potty for two to four minutes every hour or so. Sing a song or tell a story when they get restless. Offer encouragement and stay relaxed about potty training and avoid getting upset.

Even if the child doesn’t “go” it helps to have them sit on the toilet two to four minutes every hour or so. Just remember, if they do not “go” in two to four minutes, stop and try later.

You can try setting up a timer for 60 minutes or so and then show the child that when the timer rings do your thing.

Expect the child to mess around if they are not fully ready. They may get bored sitting on the toilet but don’t get angry, just try again later, and remember two to four minutes.

Have your child take part in getting dressed and undressed. Practice in putting on and taking off their training pants or underwear will help them feel at ease when they go potty by themselves.

Have your child act out going potty with a doll or action toy to help them be more accepting of potty training.

Read a book or story about potty training with your child.

Build your child’s interest in going potty with rewards. Start with affection and praise as the reward. Give congratulations when your child completes a step in the potty process.

Give small material rewards like a sucker or a treat, along with praise, each time they “go” in the toilet. It may help to let them pick out “special” treats for going potty. Be sure to only give the special treat for “going.” It’s the special reward for toilet training.

Cloth diapers are a big plus during potty training if you can provide for storage and laundry. Children often respond to the wetness and messy feeling and make the connection between feeling messy and going.

When they do “go” in the potty, leave it in there for them to admire, or let them flush it down.

If your child has trouble getting started, try turning on a faucet as a suggestive way to start them urinating. Another “grandma’s way” is to have them play with a toy in warm water in a small bowl while on the potty. Sometimes having their hands in warm water starts them going.

Patience and followup attention will be needed.

Setbacks and accidents will happen. Your child most likely will have several accidents after being trained. You have heard “the training was going so well,“ but then the child started having accidents. Children’s progress in toilet training can stall – or worse, backslide. Don’t worry. It’s normal. Children take their time and will experience some setbacks. Support them no matter what step they are on.

Potty Training Concepts – Useful potty training tips & information. Dr. Phil’s Potty training in one day.

Potty Training Help:

More help on potty training at Child N Parent