Q: Is there anything I can do to prepare my child for potty training?
A: Before the "official" toilet training begins, it's a smart move to warm your kid up to the idea. Explain the bathroom routine in positive, child-friendly terms. During a diaper change, you can say, "When we eat or drink, our body takes what it needs and then the rest gets turned into pee or poop. It's like our body's garbage." Start letting your child watch you use the potty. Although it might seem strange, Dad may want to sit down while peeing at the beginning in order to simplify the process for your toddler. You can also pretend that a doll or stuffed animal is using the potty. Seeing a "friend" go through the motions in a relaxed, playful setting can relieve any stress your kid may feel about graduating to the potty. And have your kid practice sitting on it. Suggest visits to the potty first thing in the morning, before her bath, and before bedtime. Don't expect success yet, but getting her on a schedule early may save you from constantly asking her to go when the real training kicks in. --Nancy Rones