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home>>family>>parenting>>potty training

Potty Training Made Easier

by: Brandie Valenzuela

Many parents want to know the best and easiest way to potty train their toddler. Some hear about their neighbor's son who was using the potty at 18 months, others are expecting a second (or maybe third) child, and are worried about the added expense of buying an extra bag of diapers, and even others feel that 24 months is the exact age to begin potty training. There are many reasons why parents want to begin to potty train their children, but the question is: is it the right reason? The only right reason for beginning to potty train your child is that your little one has show an actual interest in using the potty. You will also find that when your child is ready, potty training will be much easier. If you have not seen a strong interest, then your attempts will be useless, and you may find yourself becoming frustrated and even angry that the potty training has not been successful. The key is to begin potty training when your child is ready, not when you are ready. Before you can begin to potty train your child, you must first ask yourself whether your child shows signs of readiness. The top five signs of potty training readiness are:

1. Your child can stay dry for a several hours or even overnight.

2. Your child knows when he has wet or soiled his diaper, and knows what "pee", "poop", "potty", and similar words mean.

3. Your child shows independence by wanting to do things by himself.

4. Your child can pull his pants down and up.

5. Your child asks questions and/or shows in interest when others go "potty".

If your child has most, and hopefully all, of the above signs of readiness, you may be ready to begin potty training. Here is the method I recommend that parents follow:

Buy Cotton Training Pants
First of all, do not use disposable training pants (such as Huggies "Pull-Ups"). They are too much like a diaper and very absorbent, and tend to confuse many children. My recommendation is to use plain cotton training underpants. These training pants are similar to normal underwear, but they have a little extra padding in the crotch area. Usually you can find these in any store that sells children's clothing. I recommend that you buy approximately 9-12 pairs of the underpants. You should also purchase several pairs of "plastic/nylon pants", which will be worn over the cotton underpants.

The Big Day Is Here
Decide when you will begin to potty train your toddler. Make sure that when you do begin, that there is nothing traumatic going on in your child's life and that you can give your child and the potty training your full attention.

On the big day, tell your little one that he is going to start using the "big boy" or "big girl" underwear, or whatever term you like, and start having your child use them. I would recommend using the underpants with the plastic pants over them, but the choice is yours. The plastic pants will help to protect your child's clothing.

It is also important that when you do decide to begin potty training, that you are able to follow the steps in a consistent method. If you child attends preschool, make sure the caregivers understand the method of potty training you are following and require them to follow the same method. You should also make sure that you follow the method when you are away from home or when you have company.

Wetting & Soiling
Be aware that your child may wet the underpants and soil them. Very few children will be accident free in the early days of potty training. As a matter of fact, this may happen over and over again. Just remember to remain calm and patient.

When your little one tells you that he has wet his pants, take him into the bathroom and sit him on the toilet as you remove the wet underpants and clothing. At this point you may wish to explain to your little one that he needs to remember to go potty in the big toilet. Let him sit on the toilet so that he will get used to the feel of it. After you have removed the wet clothing, get the clean underpants and other clean clothing, if necessary. When you have the dry, clean clothing ready, help your little one clean his bottom. After this, you can put the clean underpants and clothing on.

Personal Hygiene
Another very important step is to make sure to have your child flush the toilet, even if they didn't "go" in it. After flushing, go together to your sink and wash your hands together. Again, the handwashing should be done even if your child didn't actually "go" in the toilet. With the toilet flushing and the handwashing, you are getting your child ready for the routine of what happens when you go potty.

These are the steps and you should repeat them over and over, in a consistent pattern, until your child is fully potty trained. If your child is terrified to be placed on the toilet, or if your child continues soiling the underpants for days, with no urination or bowel movements in the toilet, then your child is not ready for potty training at this time. Stop potty training for a while, and resume again when your child might be more ready.

I also want to remind you to enjoy this time. Yes, enjoy it! This is a very big milestone for your child and although it creates a lot of work for you, it will all be worth it.

Note: This article does not replace your pediatricians advice, and may not apply in all situations. Please use this article only as a guide.


About The Author
About the author
Brandie Valenzuela is married and a mother of three children, who enjoys working at home as an editor and freelance writer. If you like this article, be sure to sign up for her free Family First Newsletter at: Or sign up for her free Daily Holiday Recipe ezine at:

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