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Best Potty-Training Techniques

by Anna Scanlon

Proud toddler

Potty training a child is no easy task. Although children will respond to each potty-training method individually, there are a few techniques that mothers swear by and experts approve. It is important to pinpoint your child's temperament before beginning the toilet training process and to experiment with different methods. Total potty training will not be achieved overnight, and parents should expect trial and error.

  1. Keep a schedule. Children respond well to schedules. If you have found that your child functions best with schedules for sleep and other activities, then a toilet training schedule is probably going to be effective. Build a reasonable schedule that is right for you and your child and be sure to stick with it. Be clear with nannies, babysitters and childcare workers about your child's potty schedule for the best results.

  2. Give rewards. The reward method often works well for children. Many children will find potty training more trouble than it is worth and rewards can give them an incentive to do their best. Determine a reward for your child. Small pieces of candy, sticker charts and pennies for their piggy bank are all good options. Explain the reward system to your child when you are talking about potty training. Make sure you frequently ask your child if she has to use the toilet, and take her to the bathroom each time she says she must go. If you prefer to avoid material rewards, use extra praise or a made-up song, dance or story as a potty reward.

  3. Let your child set the timetable. Waiting until your child is ready for potty training is highly effective, low stress and recommended by many pediatricians. When you feel the time is right, show your child how to use the toilet. Books, DVDs and CDs with toilet training lessons can also be effective. While this method will take some time and patience, eventually your child will take interest in potty training and get the hang of it. Using a schedule and reward system when your child is starting to comprehend potty training can help him make the connection. If your child is resistant to potty training, give him some more time and let him take a natural interest.


  1. Keep in mind that when your child is getting the hang of daytime potty training, she still might struggle with the concept at night. Don't consider it a failure if your child needs diapers or disposable potty-training underwear at night. Some children can take up to a year to master nighttime potty concepts.

  2. Try to keep your temper in check when you are potty training your child. You will likely feel frustrated when your child has an accident, but accidents are nearly impossible to avoid. It's completely natural for your little one to make mistakes when learning this new concept, so try to take accidents in stride.

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