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6 Potty Training Tips for Success

March 22, 2016

By Noralba Martinez

6 potty-training tips for success | In over 15 years as an early childhood intervention specialist, this mom has helped potty train hundreds of toddlers. Here are her 6 key tips. | A child's feet point to a potty training toilet.

When it comes to potty training, every child is different. I’ve supported the potty training of hundreds of toddlers through my career as an early childhood intervention counselor, and the strongest advice I can give you is that consistency is the key to success.

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

Is your child ready?
Your toddler needs to be ready before you can begin potty training. How do you know if your child is ready?

  • Your child knows when he or she is going to the bathroom, even if it’s in a diaper.
  • Your child is able to pull up his or her pants or underwear.
  • Your child doesn’t go to the bathroom during naps and can stay dry for at least two hours.
  • Your child communicates a desire to use the toilet.

Model the behavior
Once you know your child is ready for potty training, take him or her with you to the restroom. Show your toddler that going potty in the toilet is a natural and normal thing everyone does.

Explain in simple terms what you are doing. Be patient and calm, as it may be difficult for your child to understand at first.

Make it easy and remove obstacles 
Keep the bathroom door open at all times so your child can access the room whenever he or she feels the urge to go. Put the potty chair in an area your toddler can see and get to quickly. If you’re using a child seat on your toilet, put a stool next to the toilet.

Set a schedule
Take your toddler to the potty chair or toilet every 30 minutes. He or she can sit for five minutes. If your toddler doesn’t go, it’s okay. You’re setting a schedule to encourage him or her to have the opportunity to empty regularly.

If you need help remembering to have your child go every 30 minutes, you can use a timer or a potty watch. Just be sure to stay consistent so your toddler can expect the opportunity to go.

Reward and praise your child
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. Some parents have a special basket of dollar-store toys the child can choose from after a successful potty. Verbal praise also goes a long way to influence your toddler.

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 say goodbye to the potty chair. After your toddler has demonstrated independence and self-care responsibility, transition to the toilet full-time.

Potty training can seem like a daunting task, but if you’re patient and stay positive and consistent, you and your toddler will get there. It won’t happen overnight, but with your help he or she can do it.

Do you have potty training tips to share with fellow parents? Please tell us in the comments below!

This article was originally published on April 10, 2014 and has been updated to reflect additional information.

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