Dr. Michael Roizen answered:Here are the steps to take when toilet training your child:
Find out more about this book: YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grad...Here are the steps to take when toilet training your child: Buy a child's potty (one with traction for the floor), so she can sit comfortably rather than having to balance her small body over the big hole, even with the small potty seat... More
- Buy a child's potty (one with traction for the floor), so she can sit comfortably rather than having to balance her small body over the big hole, even with the small potty seat that goes on top of the toilet. Most kids feel better having their feet on the floor rather than dangling. Plus, it's less scary than to be so high up. If you're going to use the real toilet, place a stool under her feet.
- Read books about using the potty (Everyone Poops and Once upon a Potty are all-time favorites) and watch videos to get in the mood. (We recommend It's Potty Time.)
- Talk to your child about why we use the potty and what the signals are: When she feels like she has to go, it's time to sit on the potty. Emphasize that she'll be now going to the bathroom the way Mommy and Daddy do. By now, she should have seen lots of family members going to the toilet.
- You can conduct a dry run-through (emphasize dry) by showing her how to sit on the potty with her clothes on. Then show her how to pull her pants down and sit. With boys, you can teach them to pull their pants down, lift the seat, and aim for one particular spot in the bowl while standing. Using a Cheerio or a piece of toilet paper can improve little boy aim immensely. But sometimes it's easier to teach boys to pee sitting down first.
- You may have the most luck by escorting your child to the toilet every twenty or thirty minutes and have him try going. That's because many kids don't recognize they have to go until it's too late. And if you're trying at regular intervals, chances are you'll hit jackpot at some point -- a perfect chance to use positive reinforcement. It's a labor-intensive system, but a very quick one, especially if the child exhibits the signs of readiness listed above. Many parents using this method report that their children are trained within a week or two.
- - Instill routines. Always encourage your youngster to use the toilet before bed, before going in the car, after dinner, and so on. Of course, you can't fully control the times that their bowels and bladders need emptying, but you can nudge them along. Another routine to start right away: Get your child into the habit of washing his hands afterward.
Dr. Heather Wittenberg answered:Forcing kids to toilet train when they’re not ready is a recipe for disaster. Remember the “anal stage” from your Intro Psych class? Freud was getting at the fact that toddlers are fighting mightily to gain control over their own bodies. When we interfere too much, we start a struggle over power and control that we truly don’t want to win.
So, what to do?
All kids are different. I would suggest trying out one of the many toilet training techniques at a time, based on how the technique appeals to you and your schedule. Talk about it with your toddler, using encouraging, simple language (and model it at home too! Dontcha love that?). Read humorous books together. But regardless of technique, attitude is the most important thing. Don’t fall into the trap of expectations/pressure/disappointment. Understand that accidents will happen, maybe even for months (or years: sorry!) after the initial potty training is “done.” Don’t punish or scold for mistakes, and don’t press for progress when there’s a lull.
Know that potty training often does progress in phases: dry at home, in the daytime first, but diapers outside and at night. Then dry at night, (or not!) and so on. Some are lucky and it all happens fairly quickly, but for most, not so much! But it will eventually happen.Forcing kids to toilet train when they’re not ready is a recipe for disaster. Remember the “anal stage” from your Intro Psych class? Freud was getting at the fact that toddlers are fighting mightily to gain control... More