Potty training is not a one-size-fits-all process. Each child is unique and will be ready for the process on their own time. When you feel that your child is ready to move on from diapers, here are 6 popular ways to go about the potty training process. Choose a method that fits your lifestyle and that you believe will suit your child the best.
The Readiness Approach
This child-directed form of potty training is all about waiting for cues from your child that he/she is ready to use the potty. These “readiness cues” (talking about going potty, interest in the toilet, ability to understand directions) coupled with gentle guidance by the parent, allow a child to potty train without any added stress being put on the child. While this method usually results in being fully potty trained at a later age, this is the principle adopted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
- For more information, check out Toilet Training - The Brazelton Way, written by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, renowned pediatrician and leading proponent of the readiness approach to potty training.
The Timer Method
There are several variations to this method, but the basic premise is that over the course of 2-3 days, you will give your child tons of fluids and set a timer to remind you to take them to the potty every 20 minutes. The repetition (and their full bladder) will help them quickly learn to associate the sensation of having to pee with sitting on the potty.
- Download a free potty training timer app to help with the process! Huggies Pull-Ups Big Kid App offers scheduled reminders that can feature your child's favorite Disney characters reminding them to take a potty break (available for Apple & Android).
Toilet Training In Less Than One Day
This method of potty training involves having your little one teach a doll that wets to use the potty while simultaneously learning how to use the potty themselves. The day is spent at home in big kid underwear drinking lots of fluids and making lots of trips to the potty (for both doll and child). This method also encourages using rewards as incentives to motivate your child.
- Sound interesting to you? Check out the book by Dr. Nathan Azrin and Dr. Richard Foxx, Toilet Training In Less Than One Day. Then you can purchase your toddler their very own potty training doll!
The Naked & $75 Method
Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Basically, this method involves a bare-bottom approach to potty training. For 3-5 days, you let your little one run around the house naked (from the waist down) with a potty accessible at all times. The principle is that with nothing touching their bottom, your child will naturally want to hold it in until they are sitting on a potty. And the $75? That is put toward carpet cleaning.
- Check out Toilet Training Without Tantrums, by the creator of The Naked & $75 Method, Dr. John Rosemond.
3-Day Potty Training
Created by stay-at-home-mom of three boys, Lora Jensen, this method involves throwing out all diapers and putting your kiddo directly in underwear right away – no looking back. One of the key points in this method is that you don’t ask your child if he/she needs to go potty, you instead instruct them to, “Tell Mommy/Daddy when you need to go potty.” This puts the ball in their court – there is no forcing them to sit on the potty or visit the potty in regular intervals. Jensen provides very specific guidelines for what to do on days 1, 2, and 3 in her ebook.
- Visit the 3-Day Potty Training website to learn more. Included with the purchase of her ebook is lifetime personal support by Lora Jensen herself!
The Potty Boot Camp
The Potty Boot Camp leads you and your child through 4 phases of potty training: Prep Work (introducing the potty/toilet), Boot Camp (the 1st two diaper-free days when you act as diaper drill sergeant), Reinforcement, and Maintenance. Created by Dr. Suzanne Riffel, this method can be used on children under age 2 and doesn’t stick to a strict timeline. It does however say that most children are trained within one week.
- If this parent-directed approach to potty training appeals to you, check out The Potty Boot Camp book.
Potty Training Tips Regardless of the Method You Choose
- Go shopping and let your toddler pick out their own underwear. Get them excited for the potty training process!
- When your child goes, sing their praises! Do a dance, give high-fives, and let them know how proud of them you are.
- Don’t get angry or upset with your child when they have an accident. Accidents WILL happen, it is part of the process. The last thing you want is any negative association with the potty/toilet when your child is first learning how to use it.
- Don’t compare your child’s potty training success (or lack there of) with that of other children. Each child really will be ready on their own time. Some are fully trained by their 2nd birthday, while many are still in the process beyond age three. Stressing out about your child’s progress will just end up putting an unnecessary amount of pressure on them. If you have any questions or concerns along the way, consult your child’s healthcare provider.
Photo Credit: Dreams To Do