Tips for Tots

Introducing Potty Training

Everyone who has every had the experience of toilet training a toddler has two cents on what "really" works. All children are different and this is not an area where a single method works for everyone. Here is how I made introducing the potty a positive experience for my boys using only a regular adult size toilet:

Step 1) Exposure: A good time to do this is when your child is able to tell you if they have a wet or dirty diaper when asked. Talk about sitting on the potty before bath time for a few weeks. Include statements about who uses the potty in your house; toddlers and preschoolers do a lot of learning through modeling. Following a routine also encourages learning. Make having the child remove their own pants part of the routine.

Step 2) Pre-Practicum Experience: When your child is comfortable talking about the potty, invite your child to sit on the potty before bath time. This worked for us because in the off chance they actually pee'd, then their clothes were already out of the way. After 3 attempts (an attempt being 1 bath time), state, "It's time to sit on the potty." in a calm voice. Put your child on the toilet  as long as they are comfortable. Even if only the backs of their legs touch the edge for 1/2 a second you need to cheer them on. Give them a great big, "Woah! You are so big! Look at you sit on the potty. Such a big boy!" Repeat this cycle, 3 times asking to sit/1 time telling them to sit, until the child sits comfortably on the toilet with or without adult assistance.

Step 3) Practice: When your child is comfortably sitting on the toilet before every bath and they have begun urinating in the toilet at that time you can introduce more regular use of the toilet. It is important that the child is able to urinate on purpose, because there is a certain amount of muscle strength required to be in control of that bodily function. A logical time for us was to use the toilet at each diaper change. This did a few things: created an association between diaper changing and using the toilet and helped me remember to get the boys to the toilet at regular intervals.

This is a method intended to introduce potty training in an emotionally safe environment. These techniques, and those similar, help a child feel comfortable and provides background knowledge necessary to be able to use this skill independently. Doing the more hard-core training, like Cheerios in the toilet, can be done after this.