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5 Potty Training Tips for Your Toddler

April 10, 2014

By Noralba Martinez

A couple stares at a potty-training toilet.

I have potty trained my two children and have supported the potty training of hundreds of other toddlers through my career. Through my personal and professional experiences, I have learned that every child is different. All toddlers learn new skills differently. This is why as parents and caregivers, we have to be extra patient and have many strategies in our “tool box” available to use when potty training our toddlers.

When introducing new skills, consistency is the key to success. Do not give up. Listen responsibly to your toddler as you both approach this new milestone. Remember never to scream, force your child, or punish your toddler if he or she has an accident during potty training. Again, be patient. You can do this! Your toddler’s actions will tell you if he or she is ready for potty training. If your toddler is taking off his or her wet or soiled diaper, begins to be bothered by a dirty diaper and demands to be changed, or refuses to wear a diaper, then it might be a good idea to start potty training.

Here are five tips that will help you through this journey.

  1. Be A Role Model. Take your toddler with you to the restroom. Show him or her that this is a natural and normal thing everyone does. Explain in simple terms what you are doing. Be patient and calm when doing this. Do not make this a stressful time.
  2. Make the Restroom Accessible. Have the restroom door open all of the time. Locate the potty chair in an area your toddler can get to quickly. Get a stool to use by the toilet if you are using a child toilet seat on your toilet. For boys, most potty chairs and toilet seats come with a pee guard to catch the urine when your boy is sitting. You can later transition your boy to pee standing up. Do not stress over this.
  3. Begin the Potty Schedule. Take your toddler regularly (every 30 minutes) to the potty chair or toilet and have him or her sit for five minutes. It is okay if your toddler does not go. You can use a timer to remind you. There is even a potty watch in stores you can purchase to cue that it is time to take your toddler to the potty. Again, consistency is the key.
  4. Reward/Praise. Motivate your child and increase his or her success at potty training by praising all efforts and rewarding accomplishments. Stickers are a great way to reward your toddler when he or she goes in the potty. I don’t recommend food and junk food as rewards. Verbal praise always goes a long way to influence your toddler.
  5. Bye-Bye Potty Chair. Just like you have to say good-bye to your toddler’s high chair, playpen, and many other baby items, you will also have to say goodbye to the potty chair. Begin transitioning to the toilet after your toddler has demonstrated independence and some self-care responsibility.

Remember that you have a lot of support. Be patient and stay positive. Your toddler will not be potty trained overnight. He or she cannot do this alone. Your toddler needs you.

For additional ideas and tips, look up these helpful websites:

Or ask other parents in the YOU Community Forum.

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