Training Tips

Potty Training Tips

Potty training your toddler isn't easy, but help is on the way from Jen Singer, author of "You're a Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren't So Bad Either)." She shares the signs of potty training readiness and more.

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-There are a lot of different potty training methods. Some even promise to have your child out of diapers in just one day. I'm not buying that, but, okay. But if you've already started the process, you know it's not always that easy. Well, help is on the way today. We have got the latest gear from potties to books that encourage your child to use them. But first, let's get the scoop, or should I say, the poop on potty training from the author of "You're a Good Mom (and your kids aren't so bad either)" and spokesperson for Pull-Ups, Jen Singer. It's so good to see you. -It's good to be here. -I'm so glad you're here 'cause boy, do I need your help. -Sounds like it. -First, tell us how do you know your child is ready to potty train? Are there some signs we should be looking for? -Yeah. You need to look for the signs of readiness, and it's not necessarily when your mother says it's time. You need to make sure that your child is dry for up to two hours or throughout a nap, that they show interest in the potty-- and I don't mean putting toy boats into the toilet-- and that maybe they tell you that they have to go. These are all great signs that show that they are ready to start potty training. -So, putting-- my son putting the toy cars in, he's not ready. -Not really. -Okay. Okay. Now, I know. So, you need to figure out how you're gonna get started. Give us some tips. You need to come up with a plan. -You need to come up with a plan that you're gonna stick with, and you have to decide if you're gonna use one of those little potties, portable potties, or if you're gonna go straight to the toilet. And that depends on your child. You have to decide if you're going to ask your child if they have to go potty every hour or so. And you have to decide whether or not you're going to use Pull-Ups, or you're gonna go straight to underpants. This is all part of your plan. Make your plan and then stick with it. -And then, everybody's got to be on board. Mom, dad, grandmother, babysitter, anybody who's gonna be spending a lot of time with your child. -Anybody who's gonna be with your toddler really has to be on board with you, otherwise, you're gonna be pretty much pushing that reset button every time you start to try and potty train again. -So, how do you get them to want to use it? -Well-- -You can tell them to, but they're not gonna go. -You can tell them. But for toddlers especially, you got to make it fun. And you're gonna feel like you're kinda silly, but you should have games, and you should sing songs, and you should make puppets, and there's potty songs that you can sing with them, which make you feel really silly. But believe me, they love it. If it's fun for them, then they're gonna wanna go in and try and go in the potty. -I have sang every potty song that you could even imagine. But you do. We have to make it fun for our kids. Rewards are key, right? And stickers you try, we've tried that, and putting the stickers on a chart on the wall. -Right. -But sometimes, stickers get old. What do you do when it's just not working anymore? -Right. Well, for my kids, putting on the chart got old. So, I started putting them on their shirts. So then, when my husband got home from work, they could-- he could see and give them a high-five. But I know that other people have used little cars for boys, or little dolls. There are even little candies. You don't wanna make that too much of a treat, you know. Don't take them to Disney everytime they go poop on the potty. But, you know, keep it simple. And if you find that a reward isn't working, then change and start a different one. -If it would help, I'll take him to Disneyworld. -I'm sure. -Because it's very challenging. It definitely is for parents. -Uh-huh. -All right. Accidents. They're gonna happen. -Yes. -What's the best way to deal with them? -You know what? Two words you should remember when you're potty training. And that is expect setbacks. Now, in the beginning, there'll probably be a lot of accidents, and you'll feel that you're like you're up to your elbows and pee. And you probably will be. -Yes. -But after a while, they'll get the hang of it, and then they'll have an accident, and you'll think, "Oh, what did I do wrong?" Never scold your child because they can't help it. They, you know, they might have an accident. Just clean it up nonchalantly and have them help you clean it up, too. Say "this is where we put the poop," and put it in the potty. And then, they'll learn to try it there next time instead of on your carpet. -Which we just don't want. -Right. -You have helped me tremendously, and I'm sure a lot other parents out there. Thank you so much. Appreciate you coming in. And if you would like more information, we've got it for you. Before you can actually start the process, you need a potty, right? Coming up next, American Baby Magazine's senior lifestyle editor, Jessica Hartshorn, shows us some of the latest models and other gears. Jessica, thank you so much for coming in. -Thank you, Juli. -It's good to see you. I know you're going through potty training, too. -Yes, yes. We both have children right here. Right here in this space. -Yes, we do. Three years old, right? -Yes. -All right. Now, you're gonna tell us about some potties. -Uh-huh. -There are some out there very basic, others are really interesting. I have one that plays music when my son goes. -Right. -So, it's a lot of fun. -The Royal Flush. -Tell us what you recommend. -Well, this-- if you want almost no bells and whistles, the Baby Bjorn Potty is really cool and modern. It comes in all kinds of colors, black and pink, and things that will look cool in your bathroom. -Uh-huh. -They also do this kind of potty, which is just a seat to put on the toilet seats. If you're-- if you want your child to get used to using the real toilet. But, you know, the hole is a little big-- -Uh-huh. -for a 3-year-old. -Maybe put a step underneath, too-- -Uh-huh. -so they can get up there. -They can climb right on up, so there's a [unk] from Baby Bjorn. But some of the ones have bells, and this is kinda cracking up. -I love it. -This is a Safety 1st Jack Potty. It's like a slot machine. -This is fantastic. -So, really gets them excited to go. What if you're on the road? This is good for travelling? -Yeah. I have a family who told me that, you know, they were always in their mini-van, and they would not have been able to potty train without a potty to go. So, this is called the Potette from Kalencom. And you know, it's like a little-- it folds up. So, it's almost flat. You'll see in this-- -Oh, that's great for travelling. -You just use a grocery bag with it. And then, you've got it in the car if you need it, so you don't have to like try and seek out a bathroom somewhere. -I like the Potette. Now, and another incentive is telling them that they get to wear big boy underpants or-- -I know. -big girl panties. -But underwear's an incentive, at least. Especially if you get all my favorite characters, or just ones that are cute. And they also feel so much better than a diaper, that sometimes that can help them along. -Exactly. -And then-- -If not-- -Pull-Ups are your friend. They work kinda like underwear. So, really encourage them to use them like underwear. I've even had people say-- -Right. -instead of keeping it up by your wipes like you use with the old diapers, put these in the drawer and really treat them like special underwear. -What a great idea. -Yeah. Try to get the kids to realize that-- -I'm gonna go home and put them in the drawer tonight. Thank you, Jessica. I appreciate that. Okay. Now, here are some other great ideas. Some books that talk about potty training. -Sure. Read about it together. -Kind of really interesting. -Uh-huh. And then, you know, Elmo grow over like your favorite characters are all potty training, it makes it seem like this is just a normal thing, and that you wanna do it. And so, you read books together. There are also books for the parents because it is-- it's a long process. Sometimes, it can take a, you know, couple of months or longer-- -Yeah. -to train. -Could be really challenging. -Right. And again, keeping up your enthusiasm. I see you have a sticker chart. -This is a great idea. -That helps kids, too. So, everytime they use the potty, you give them, you know, a little sticker, and then help them visualize-- -Help the frog get to the lily pad helps your child learn to go on the potty- -Yeah. -at the same time. -Exactly. Some kids, a sticker is really like a-- enough of an incentive. Other kids need to be bribed. -And that's what you got here with a bowl of M&M's, right? -And I maintain that potty training is one of the few, you know, the few times that a bribe-- or reward, as you might wanna call it-- is really worth it. You know, our director totally train our son by giving him an M&M everytime he used the potty. Well, two if he, you know, did more than just pee. And it works, you know. -My mom used it on me. -See? -And it worked. That and crayons. -And you know what? [unk] also say that like peer pressure can help. When they go to preschool, and all the other kids are doing it. -Their friends are doing it. -It does help them along. -Jessica, thank you so much. Great advice, great gear. Gotta hit the store and get some of this. And for more advice and tips, you can go to our website, And if you have an idea or a question for Parents TV, send us an email at I'm Juli Auclair, thanks for watching.