Toilet Training - How to Help Your Child
There are many different strategies
and approaches to
toilet training. The methods that work best use
positive reinforcement and begin intensive training only when a child is
physically and emotionally ready. Introduce the basic concepts of toilet use
gradually and repetitively to your child. As your child gains the necessary
skills, he or she will show a sincere interest in using the toilet.
Before you decide to start toilet
training, make sure the household environment is stable and that all family
members are prepared to help in the process. Trying to start potty training
soon after having another child, while remodeling your home, while having a
succession of household guests, right before going on vacation, or during a
time of relationship problems will likely not be as successful as during a calm
period when the family can focus on helping your young child reach this
important developmental milestone.
Talk with your child about
having a bowel movement and about urinating. Your child may be more comfortable
saying "poop" and "pee." It is fine to use these words, but use the proper
terms as well so that your child learns what they mean.
Start to talk
with your child about how to use the toilet. Explain how the toilet works and
how your child will be able to use it when he or she is ready. Be enthusiastic
and always speak positively about your child's using the potty. Talk about how
he or she will no longer need to wear diapers, will get to wear underpants that
are more comfortable, and can go just like a big boy or girl.
can also use books and DVDs to help prepare your child. Ask your doctor or a
librarian for more information.
Take your child with you to
select a potty that is sturdy and comfortable. Be
patient and give your child time to get used to and comfortable with it. Some
ways to do this are by:
- Letting your child move a portable potty
into his or her room or other play area to get used to having it around.
- Helping make the potty special by personalizing it, such as
painting it or writing your child's name on it.
- Letting your child
sit on it and read a book or sit on it with his or her diaper on while having a
stool or urinating. You can say, "This is your special chair for you to go
pee-pee and poop in. Soon you will use it just like grownups use the
Your child may want to join you when you use the toilet.
If you feel comfortable with an audience, allow him or her to join you. Talk
with your child about what you are doing.
Toilet training is
usually more successful if you are relaxed and patient with your child.
- Do not try to begin toilet training before
your child is physically and emotionally ready. Trying to toilet train your
child before this time creates frustration for both of you.
power struggles, which will only make toilet training more stressful and last
longer. All experiences and associations with toilet training should be
positive. Do not scold, punish, or embarrass your child for failing to use the
- Do not verbally or physically force your child to sit on
a potty. Allow your child to sit on the potty only for 5 minutes at a time
unless he or she is beginning to pass stool or urine.
- Tell your
child that it is up to him or her to decide when to use the toilet.