Potty Training Techniques

As your child becomes a toddler, part of the excitement of that age is not only seeing them take their first steps, but knowing that they will be out of diapers soon. As you prepare for this exciting time, it is important to know when your child is ready to start potty training as trying to force them to do something before they are ready will be frustrating for everyone involved in the potty training process.


Methods for potty training a child abound. One reason there are so many methods is that every child is different and what works for one child may not work for another child. Some children seem to potty train themselves while others fight tooth and nail to avoid the toilet. Your child’s temperament and toilet training readiness (see When is Your Child Ready to be Potty Trained?) should determine the approach to potty training that you use.

Regardless of the technique you choose, it is important that you remain consistent with your praise and develop a routine. This will help your child acclimate to using the potty much faster than changing techniques and expectations.

One technique that many parents find useful is the potty chart. A potty chart is display you use to monitor and reward your child’s progress toward using the toilet by him or herself (see Potty Training Your Child with a Potty Chart). For example, every time your child successfully uses the toilet, you reward them with a sticker on their chart. Once they fill up their chart with successes, they receive a prize. You can find free potty charts online at http://www.pottytrainingconcepts.com/Free-Potty-Training-Charts.htm.

Another technique is to set aside certain toys (preferably plastic and washable) as potty toys. Every time your child sits on the toilet, they may play with their special potty toys. This can make time spent on the toilet more fun for your child when they are still figuring out how to use it. When using this technique, it is important that potty toys are only used for the purpose of potty training. If the toys are not special, they will lose their appeal. Be sure to wash these toys frequently.

Some parents like to use potty chairs when training their child. There are two types of potty chairs: free standing toddler-sized chairs that you have to clean and empty after each use, or toddler-sized seats that you can attach to a toilet to make your child feel more comfortable when using the toilet. Free standing potty chairs allow you the freedom to move the seat from room to room so your child gets used to sitting on it and using it whenever they need to. However, once the child gets used to using the potty seat, you still must train them to use the regular potty. For that reason, some parents like to use the attachable seat so their child gets used to using the regular toilet (see Using Potty Chairs to Toilet Train Your Child).

No matter what technique you choose to use with your child, it is important that you make the experience fun. Your child will have a very difficult time using the toilet if they feel pressured. Therefore, you should try to make them feel relaxed and praise them when they attempt to use the potty—even if they do not make it all the time.

One way that you can make potty training more fun is to put one or two drops of food coloring in the toilet bowl before your child uses the toilet. Tell your child that they can turn the water a different color if they pee into the toilet. For little boys, you can buy flushable targets or place Cheerios in the toilet to help him practice aiming. These techniques can help your child look forward to using the potty.

You may find one of these techniques useful or a combination of these techniques helpful. Remember, every child is different. If anything, this information may spark some creativity in you to come up with a method that is unique to your child.

Potty training can be a difficult thing to go through with your child, but you can do it! Be consistent with your technique, profuse with your praise and tireless in your efforts. You and your child will get through this.