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7 Tips for Successful Potty Training

Most children learn to use the toilet between the ages of 2 and 3, and girls may master the skill a few months earlier than boys. Remember, though, that your child is unique and will mature in his or her own time. When your child is ready, begin the potty-training process by following these tips:

  • Read books about potty training. Reading can help your child understand the process. The following are some examples:
    • "No More Diapers" by J.G. Brooks
    • "Going to the Potty" by Fred Rogers
    • "Uh Oh! Gotta Go!: Potty Tales from Toddlers" by Bob McGrath
    • "Everyone Poops" by Taro Gomi
    • "The Princess and the Potty" by Wendy Lewison
  • Buy or borrow a potty chair, steps or an attachment for the toilet. Place the new potty or equipment in the bathroom and explain to your child what it's for.
  • Dress your child in clothing that is easy to remove to avoid accidents.
  • Encourage your child to sit on the potty for a few minutes. When your child doesn't succeed, be reassuring. Say, "We'll try again later. Let me know if you feel like you need to go." When your child does succeed, give plenty of praise.
  • Remind your child to use the potty regularly. Until your child gets used to the routine and remembers to go without being reminded, do remind your child to use the potty before and after naps, after dinner, before bedtime and before getting in the car.
  • Use caution when flushing. Children may be fascinated or scared by flushing. Either way, make sure children are off of the potty before flushing. Reassure your child that only the bodily waste is flushed away, so there's nothing to fear.
  • Expect mistakes. Mistakes are an inevitable part of potty training. Offer plenty of praise and have patience while your child learns this new skill, and never let your child believe that you're angry when accidents happen. Simply express your disappointment in the accident, and assure your child that next time will be better. Nighttime control will generally follow daytime control, so your child may still need diapers during naptime.



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