Potty Training 101

tips for potty training; potty training 101; Lexington Clinic PediatricsKandi Waddles, MD, Lexington Clinic Pediatrics

Teaching children to use the potty can evoke anxiety and stress among many first time parents. I have been a pediatrician with Lexington Clinic for almost 9 years and have had many discussions about potty training with parents and have received first hand experience with my two daughters, ages 4 and 6.

As a parent I was concerned about training too early and causing my child to develop resistant behaviors versus waiting too long and missing a window of opportunity when my child would be most receptive to toilet training.

Without a doubt potty training is a challenging experience, but by following the tips below potty training can be made easier and ensure that the experience is rewarding for you and your child!

When to start:

  • Usually around 18-24 months a child will show readiness. He/she can understand what "pee" and "poop" mean and recognize when he/she is wet or dirty.
  • Make sure your child can pull up his/her pants independently. Be careful with clothing containing buttons, elastic pants are the best to pull up and down.

What to do:

  • Buy a potty chair that sits on the floor. Create a fun experience and let your child know it is his/her "special chair". This chair can even be placed in the playroom rather then the bathroom temporarily.
  • Praise your child for success! Initially for just sitting on the potty.
  • Let your child look at books while on the potty and read toilet learning books to your child.

What NOT to do:

  • Never force or pressure your child to sit on the potty.
  • Never punish a child for accidents.

For overall potty training success, be supportive and patient. Accidents will happen, expect it. Try to keep the experience fun and upbeat and as always in parenting-keep a sense of humor!