Experts agree that when a child is ready to potty train, it should be a relatively easy process. Nothing positive comes from forcing your child out of diapers before the time is right. However, you can take several steps to make potty training fun, which helps make the transition as simple and smooth as possible.
Read books about using the toilet with your child, such as "Potty for Me!" by Karen Katz, "Toilet Learning" by Alison Mack, and Alyssa Satin Capucilli and Dorothy Stott's "The Potty Book for Boys" or "The Potty Book for Girls." Kids love books and are drawn to the the bright illustrations and simple story lines.
Choose a brightly colored or interesting potty, such as a cartoon-themed or musical potty, or one in your child's favorite colors. Some models make an animal sound or play a tune whenever they are used. Have your child decorate the potty with stickers to make it into her own creation.
Place a pile of books next to the potty; these don't necessarily have to be books about toilet training. Select some of your child's favorite books, and add in a couple of new ones. This encourages him to spend time sitting on the potty, hopefully long enough for something to happen.
Sing a song whenever your child sits on or gets off the potty. Do this even if she hasn't managed to do anything while sitting. This makes the experience more fun and lighthearted. Make up a song about the potty, or change the words of your child's favorite nursery rhyme to reference using the potty. Make even more of a fuss whenever your child relieves herself in the potty, such as doing a special dance or a parade all around the house.
Let your little one help you dispose of the contents of the potty. Tip the potty into the toilet and make a big deal of it by cheering and waving goodbye to what's inside. By making this part of the process fun for him, he is more likely to want to participate by using the potty throughout the day.
Items you will need
- Toddler-sized potty
- Books about toilet training
- Your child isn't fully potty trained until she is initiating "going" by herself, so carry on with the process until she is able to identify when she needs to go and knows what to do about it.
- Never force your child to sit on the potty or to stay there if he has expressed a desire to get off.
- Continue to praise your child for her other achievements, such as eating her vegetables at dinner. Avoid putting too much emphasis on potty training to the exclusion of everything else, as this could cause her to feel excessive pressure.
- Potty for Me!; Karen Katz
- The Potty Book for Girls; Alyssa Satin Capucilli and Dorothy Stott
- The Potty Book for Boys; Alyssa Satin Capucilli and Dorothy Stott
- Toilet Learning: The Picture Book Technique for Children and Parents; Alison Mack
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images