Potty-Teaching Dilemmas

The Right Steps

  • Be timely. Start training when you know things will be calm and predictable around your house -- not shortly before the birth of a baby, for example, or when you're away on vacation.
  • Let your child become familiar with the potty. Before you get started, bring it out and let your child explore it. Let him sit on it clothed, diapered, or naked.
  • Establish a ritual. Suggest that your child use the potty at set times throughout the day -- after every meal and before every bath and nap, for instance. You may even want to prompt her to go every hour.
  • Plan for outings. When you're out in public, know where the bathrooms are. Bring the portable potty with you in your car, to the park, and to other places where bathrooms are hard to find.
  • Use consistent lingo. If you say "pee-pee" one day and "tinkle" the next, you'll confuse your child.
  • Celebrate the steps, not just the successes. Praise your child for each accomplishment -- sitting on the potty, for example, or getting his pants off and on.
  • Don't let her see you sweat. It's easy to get frustrated if your child has an accident, but keep it under wraps. Move on and say some-thing positive like "That's okay. The next time you try, it will be better."

Copyright © 2004. Reprinted with permission from the April 2003 issue of Parents magazine.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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