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Posted by Scott
April 16th, 2014, 8:46 pm

How to Potty Train Your Toddler - My Experience

Potty training is something every parent has to go through. We parents look at it with optimism and fear. We like the idea of never changing a diaper again, but the task of actually teaching a child to use the potty seems daunting. I am no expert, but I was very successful at potty training both my children. My son was potty trained before the age of two, and my daughter was potty trained a month after her second birthday. Here's how.

Use Positive Reinforcement, Lots of It

This might sound like an obvious sound bite. But there are several things to consider. The first is while it makes plain sense to stay positive in your head, it's very easy to get negative when you are actually in the emotional situation of seeing pee dribble down your todder's pants in the middle of the grocery store. Or when they poop on your floor right after you just finished holding them on the potty for 10 minutes to no avail. Next is that being really positive really works. But most of all, it's not just about being vaguely positive; go totally overboard with it. The first time my son got a drip of pee in the potty--and keep in mind that that drip only got in there because I saw him peeing on the floor, picked him up, ran to the bathroom and pointed him at it--it was the hugest thing ever. We had a 5 minute song and dance party and gave him a bunch of candy. He tried to pee in the potty literally like 50 more times that night, many times successfully getting some drips out. He was completely potty trained within the week and he wasn't even two and we had just started.

Take Their Pants Off, And Keep Them Off

This is really what worked for me. Sure I talked to my kids about the potty, but what worked best of all was simply having them run around the house all day with no pants, no diaper, no underwear. When I saw them peeing or pooping, I picked them up and brought them to the potty. Yes, I got some pee and poo on my floor, but no big deal. And really it only took once or twice before they were asking to go to the potty without doing it on my floor first.

Lots of Fluids

Some people make the mistake of thinking to give their children less fluids to potty train them, thinking it will make them less likely to pee all over their pants or the floor. That will just make them constipated and will make the whole ordeal more surprising and thus accident prone. If things go right per the first two pieces of advice, your child will be trying to use the potty and if you give them fluids it will make it easier for them.

Other Advice

Really, I feel if you follow the steps above you are golden. But to be fair here are some other tips.

  • Use a seat on the regular potty rather than a standalone toddler potty.
  • Let the child watch you and the other parent use the bathroom.
  • Jump straight from diapers to regular underwear.
  • Consider still using diapers/pull-ups if you are going out, namely to help you STAY POSITIVE if the child has an an accident while out.
  • Say "bye-bye pee" and let your child flush if they want to.
  • Realize that even once your child is "potty-trained" accidents are still going to happen. How old were you the last time you peed your pants? Probably pretty old.

It's really that simple. This worked extremely well for me both times. All children are different though. If you already potty-trained your children, what worked for you? If you use my advice and your toddler isn't potty-trained within a week, let me know; give me the details.

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