A major milestone for parents and children alike is potty training. Is there a secret to success? Patience is the key.

When should we start?

It is not the age of the child that determines success in potty training, but the physical, developmental and behavioral milestones. Potty training typically begins between the ages of 18 and 24 months. It is possible that some children will not be ready until they are three years old. We are not in a hurry. Training your child may take longer if you begin too early.

How ready is your child? Think about this:

  • Does your child have the ability to walk to a toilet and sit on it?
  • Does your child have the ability to pull his or her pants down and then pull them up again?
  • Does your child have the capability of staying dry for two hours?
  • What level of understanding and following directions does your child have?When does your child need to go?
  • Are you noticing an interest in using the toilet or wearing underwear for “big kids” in your child?

You might be ready to put your child in school if you answered mostly yes. When most of your answers were no, it might be a good idea to wait – especially when your child will be moved or has a new sibling.

You should also be prepared. Instead of your desire to push your child, let his or her motivation lead the way. You shouldn’t equate your child’s stubbornness or intelligence with success in potty training. Keeping in mind that accidents are inescapable and punishment has no place in the process is also important. If you can devote the time and energy to being consistent, schedule toilet training for when you or a caregiver can devote a few months to the task.

Potty training begins when:

Words are important. Your child’s bodily fluids should be described with certain words. Use positive words instead of negative ones.
Equipment should be prepared. If your child is usually in the bathroom, place the potty chair there at first. Your child should start out wearing clothes on the potty chair. Put the feet of your child on the floor or on a stool. When talking about the toilet, use simple, positive words. If you want to demonstrate the purpose of the toilet and potty chair, you may dump the dirty diaper contents into them. Flush the toilet with your child.

Plan potty breaks

Your child needs to sit on the potty chair or toilet for a few minutes without a diaper at least twice a day, including after naps and right after waking.

When you are training your boy to urinate, it is best to start standing up after he has mastered urination sitting down. You could read a book to him or her while he or she is sitting or you could play with a toy with them. If your child wants to get up, let him or her. Praise your child for trying even if he or she sits there. Remind your child to try again later. Your child should have a potty chair with them when they are away from home.

Don’t wait

Get there today! You should intervene immediately if you observe your child’s squirming, squatting, or holding her genital area, as these are signs she needs to go to the toilet. Help your child recognize these signs and encourage him or her to go to the toilet. If your child lets you know when they need to go, praise them. Clothing should be loose and easy to remove.

Describe hygiene

Spread your legs out and wipe your back and sides slowly to prevent germs from making their way from your rectum to your bladder and vagina. After your child finishes playing, make sure he or she washes their hands.

Put an end to diapers. Your child might be ready to swap diapers for underwear or training pants after a couple of weeks of successful potty breaks. Congratulations on your move. If he or she cannot stay dry, please return your child to diapers. Positive reinforcement can be achieved by using stickers or star charts.

Taking a break from the potty chair or toilet may be the best thing for your child if they are having trouble. You might not be ready yet. It can be frustrating to push your child when they’re not ready. In a few months, try again.