Creative Child

Potty Training Tips that Really Help

by Rebecca Eanes

Potty Training Tips

1. Get a little potty seat long before you expect they’ll want to learn.

Introducing it all at once and asking them to go in there can be a little too much for some children. Let it be just a normal little seat where your child can sit to listen to you read or watch a show. When they become curious about using it as a toilet, move it to the bathroom. They can sit there while they observe how you use the big toilet.

Children learn best simply from our modeling. You can then begin asking if they’d like to sit on it naked or to pee or poop in it. If the answer is no, just respect their answer and be patient.

Learning to use the toilet is a natural thing, so trust that it will happen. 

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2. Take your child’s personality into account.

Most children need a gentle nudge. Others would resist at even the gentlest of nudges. I realize now that my “success” with my firstborn was all about his personality and none about my tricks. My other son is more independent and strong-willed, so he needed me to back off entirely.

Getting into a battle of wills in something you have absolutely no control over will only serve to divide and frustrate. You cannot make a child go, and they know it well!

I’m not suggesting you wait until your child comes to you and states, “You know, dear parent, I think I’d quite like to use that potty thing now.” That’s probably not going to happen! If it does, call me. Introduce it. Model it. Teach it. Just don’t force it.

3. Keep your attitude about potty learning light, encouraging, and supportive.

Children will pick up on any anxiety you are feeling about the subject. Refrain from forcing them to sit and try. It’s important to note that some studies link early potty training to problems with bedwetting and accidents later on, while others, of course, say the opposite.

As with everything in the parenting world, you just have to choose what feels right to you, and stress and anxiety pretty much never feel right. Set up the environment so that your child has easy access to the potty, maintain a positive and encouraging attitude, give your child control over his or her own body, and let it unfold naturally.

For advice from a real expert in this area, check out Oh Crap! Potty Training, the book and the blog!

If I could go back with a note from my more knowledgeable self and do it all again, my note would say “Chill. They’ll get it eventually.”

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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