Potty Training 101

Published in Pediatrics, For the Health of It Author: CentraCare

You can envision a life free from diapers but your child is not on board with that yet. There is no one-size-fits-all program, but here are some tips to help make potty training better for both of you:

  • Be positive. Children learn better when they are praised for their progress rather than punished for their mistakes. When your child progresses, give a hug, some praise and maybe even a small tangible reward such as a sticker. When your child fails, say “You’ll do better next time” and ask for help cleaning up.
  • Be consistent. Create reasonable expectations according to your child’s abilities, express them clearly and frequently, and expect your child to at least try. Keep the routine as consistent as possible. Schedule times to attempt to use the potty, such as before bedtime or before leaving the house to do errands.
  • Go with the flow. Children’s needs, behaviors and abilities are constantly changing. What works today might not work tomorrow. Keep an eye on your child’s bathroom behavior and adjust your plan as needed. The ability to go potty successfully during the day and to sleep through the night without accidents may not happen at the same time, with either one happening first for some children. 
  • Have fun! Toilet training is a necessary chore, but try to make it fun. Don’t let your child’s hesitations, passing fears or resistance get you down. Live in the moment and don’t stress out about the long-term goal. Expect setbacks and do not get discouraged by them. Even a small step forward can be a cause for celebration.

Believe it or not, your child will eventually become potty trained. And you both will be proud of the accomplishment.