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Potty Training Tips: Step by Step Potty Training

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Potty training is one of the major accomplishments of early childhood. But before your child can master it, he has to be both biologically and emotionally ready. (Click here for more on signs of readiness.) Different children are ready at different ages; the timing has nothing to do with their intelligence, personality, or motivation.

Potty training involves putting together a set of individual skills in a certain order, such as being able to interpret the signals your body is giving you, undressing, having some control over your bowels and bladder, and washing your hands. Your child should have at least some of these skills mastered before starting potty training, or you'll both become frustrated.

Here are three steps that can help your child maximize his success.


  • Get a potty chair. Many children feel more secure starting with one that sits on the floor rather than one that sit on top of the toilet. It's less scary, and it gives them the security and balance that comes with being able to put their feet securely on the floor.
  • Put the potty chair in a place that's convenient to where your child spends most of his time. It doesn't have to be in the bathroom; you could keep it in a corner of your playroom. Ease of access is important in the beginning.
  • Let your child explore the potty chair and become familiar with it. Let him know that it's special and it's just for him.
  • Don't try potty training when your child is under stress, such as during a family move or a vacation, or when your child is feeling ill. Wait a few weeks until things have calmed down.



  • Have your child practice sitting on the potty with her clothes on once or twice a day. Let her get up whenever she wants. Your goal is to help her become comfortable with it.
  • Praise your child for each step, even the small ones and the ones that aren't completely successful. Stay upbeat. Remember that this is her accomplishment, not yours.
  • Once she's comfortable sitting on the potty with her clothes on, have her practice sitting on it with her clothes off. This helps her get familiar with the concept of removing her clothes before going to the bathroom. It also lets her feel what the seat is like next to her skin.
  • After a few days, when your child has a bowel movement in her diaper, have her watch you dump it into the potty so that she can see where it should go. Explain to her that this is where urine and stool belong. (Children this age are also mastering the idea that certain things go in certain places.)
  • Look for signs that your child needs to urinate or move her bowels. Some children will tell you in so many words. Others will grimace or grunt or get into a particular position. When that happens, ask her if she needs to go.




Member comments

Potty in the playroom (great idea)
I have 3 children that range in ages from 17 years old to 3 years old and I never once thought to pu..

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Read Potty Training Without Tears (Yours or Your Child's)

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