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5 Simple Steps to Successful Potty Training

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

By Ms. Kelly Luque & Ms. Jocelyn Santiago

Potty training can be a challenging time for parents.  It becomes the battle of the wills.  Having helped so many young ones learn to use the toilet, we have listed some steps that might help.

1.  Determine if your child is ready.

First, you must determine when is the right time to start potty training.  Generally, if the routine diaper changes during the day begin to be dry, it is a sign that the child’s bladder can hold, and that he/she is ready for potty training.  Here are some additional questions, from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Your child is ready to potty train if you can answer yes to most or all of the following questions:

Does he/she stay dry for at least two hours during the day?  Is he/she dry after naps? Are his/her bowel movements regular and predictable? Does he/she let you know with words/gestures that he/she’s about to urinate or have a BM? Can he/she follow simple instructions (e.g. put your toys away.  Bring me your shoes.) Does he/she seem uncomfortable or ask to be changed when his/her diaper is soiled? Does he/she ask to use the potty? Does he/she ask to wear underwear?

2. Show your child what to do.

At the start of potty training, show your child where he/she should go to the restroom.  When they go in the pull-up or diaper, take it to the toilet and show them that this is where pee and poo belong.  Have them put the remains in the toilet, teach them to wipe themselves, and flush the toilet.  Show them that the toilet is not a scary thing.

3. Set a routine.

Start a potty training schedule.  Generally, have the child use the restroom 30 minutes after he/she eats, and every two hours.  Even if the child says he/she does not need to go, have them try.  If you spot your child starting to go in his/her underwear, take them to the restroom to finish.  If you find that your child has already gone, still put child on toilet to develop the habit.

4. Be consistent and patient.

It may take time to break the diaper habit.  Do not switch between diapers and underwear.  If the child is wearing underwear to school, make sure they continue to wear underwear at home.  Switching constantly between diapers and underwear only confuses the child.

5. Make it in the child’s will to learn.

The key is to encourage your child, by taking the pressure off and having fun.  Provide small incentives and lots of verbal encouragement. Explain to him/her that now they are getting older, they get to use the big boy or girl potty. You may also want to let them know that it is a great relief for adults to use toilets, too.Treat it as a special milestone.

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