How to Start Potty Training

Your child is developmentally ready. The potty is waiting for action. Here's what to do once the diaper comes off.


• Do switch to pull-ups. When your child is just starting out on the potty, play it safe with the disposable variety. He can pull them down like underpants, but in the event of an accident they absorb like diapers and can be ripped off rather than pulled over his feet. Once your little one has enjoyed a few successes on the potty, try switching to washable cotton training pants. 

• Do let him bare his bottom. To boost your child's awareness of his body's signals, allow him to scamper about (in a private yard or room with a washable floor) with his lower half unclad. Why this works: It's hard to ignore urine when there's no diaper to hold it in. Keep the potty close by so your child can act on his body's signals quickly. 

• Do choose easy-on, easy-off clothing. When nature calls, there won't be a moment to lose. As your toddler gets the hang of undressing, avoid togs with snaps, buttons, clasps, or zippers (elastic waists are a wonderful thing!). 

• Do watch closely. At this point, you might be better at detecting his body's signals than he is. Look for tell-tale signs (like fidgeting or straining) and gently ask when you suspect he has to go. Even if you're too late and he's already done the deed, have him sit on the potty anyway to reinforce the connection. 

• Do offer praise when he reports bodily functions. Even a belated mention is praiseworthy — after all, it takes practice for kids to recognize signs of impending bladder and bowel movements and make it to the potty in time.

• Do keep him motivated. Remind him that using the potty means he's growing up. In the beginning, a small, tangible incentive can help, too — for every success, try putting a sticker on the calendar or a penny in the piggy bank. As he becomes more comfortable using the potty, it's best to phase out the rewards and let his inner motivation take over. 

• Do teach to check for dryness. This offers him an added sense of control. If he's dry, give him a pat on the back (or a big hug), but don't criticize him if he's wet. 


• Don't expect too much too soon. Even the most enthusiastic toddler can take several weeks to master potty proficiency — often with as many steps backward as forward. If your expectations are unrealistic, you could diminish his self-confidence. 

• Don't scold, punish, or shame. No parent enjoys mopping up a puddle of pee, but try to stay cool. If you overreact, you might discourage your toddler's future attempts. 

• Don't deny drinks. Many parents reason that by rationing fluids, they'll cut their toddler's chances of having an accident. But this approach is unfair and unhealthy — not to mention ineffective. In fact, the better tactic is to step up your child's fluid intake to give him more opportunities to succeed. 

• Don't nag or force. Keep it casual when reminding your tot about using the potty — nagging will only provoke resistance. Similarly, don't force him to sit or stay on the potty — even if you know he's about to void. (Hey, you can lead your pony to the potty, but ultimately it's his decision to use it.) 

• Don't start a bathroom battle. Squabbling over pottying is sure to prolong the struggle. If you meet with total resistance, it's best to throw in the towel (and the toilet paper!) for a few weeks. Be patient. As you wait for your child to come around, don't bring up the subject or compare him to peers who are already in underpants. 

• Don't lose hope. This process might seem endless, but sooner or later your toddler will realize that it really is better to use the potty than wear diapers.


Work cited

"Potty Training: How to Start Potty Training." WhattoExpect, n.d. Web. 31 May 2013



Works Cited

"Potty Training: How to Start Potty Training." WhattoExpect. WhattoExpect, n.d. Web. 31 May 2013. 

"Potty Training: How to Start Potty Training." WhattoExpect. WhattoExpect, n.d. Web. 31 May 2013.