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Step-by-step Guide to Potty Training

Potty-training your kid isn’t easy, but don’t worry. Get on the right track with this plan.


Now is a good time to think about potty-training, if you haven’t started already. Getting your toddler out of diapers is a major milestone that signals a new stage in his independence.  Look for signs of readiness. For example, he talks about pee-pee or poo-poo, asks for a dirty diaper to be changed and mentions going to the toilet with you. All are very positive clues that he is ready to use the potty.

However, potty-training doesn’t always go according to plan. Stay calm, no matter how uncooperative he may appear to be at times. He needs you to be tolerant of his toilet mistakes along the way. Training works best when you have a well-planned strategy – and plenty of patience. Follow this plan: 


Be optimistic

Remind yourself that around 90 per cent of children gain control over their bowels as well as bladders during the day, and by age three, so take it slow with your two-year-old. Don’t expect success over a weekend.

Familiarise him with the potty 

Explain that he is a big boy and will get to use the potty from now on. Take him on a shopping trip to choose one, as well as read storybooks about potty-training with him to pique his interest.

Encourage him to sit on it 

Do this with his diaper off at least three times every day, especially after meals and before bedtime. Although he’ll probably feel uncomfortable at first, you will find that he steadily gets used to it.

Keep it enjoyable 

Training should be fun. So if your little one wants to read a book while sitting on the potty, let him to do it. If he stands up too soon, encourage him to sit down for longer.

Praise his successes

He’ll love your encouragement when he uses the potty properly, especially when he begins to experience success. Make a big fuss out of it whenever that happens.

Let him roam diaper-free

A tot who doesn’t wear a diaper often finds it easier and quicker to access the potty when required, and may be more aware of the wetting sensations. But don’t get frustrated with him if he wets the floor. Also, make sure he has easy access to the potty. You can’t blame him for not using it if it is out of his reach or sight.

Have him wear trainer pants instead 

Once he has some bladder and bowel control, make the switch from diapers to trainer pants. Of course, he will have the occasional toilet “accident”, but there won’t be much leakage since most trainer pants are still fairly absorbent.

Make it a routine 

Remind your tot to use the potty before heading out. Some parents find it useful to buy a travel potty so the little one can go wherever he is. Newly trained kids have less bladder control and may not be able to wait until you find a public toilet.

Don’t push it 

Potty-training shouldn’t become a source of tension between you and Junior. And don’t compare him with others of his age who have long since managed to control their bladders and bowels. Remember, he learns best when he is relaxed and contented, and when he think you are pleased with him.


Richard C. Woolfson, Young Parents, December 2015


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