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Some children fight every potty training attempt we make, while others are very interested in being potty trained. Most often, a parent knows when their child is ready. Does potty training have to be an ongoing struggle? No, there are some simple ideas and methods to make it easier on both you and your child.

Every mother has heard the story of the eight-month-old child who toilet-trained himself. Others know about the sixth-month-old little baby girl who, not-yet walking, had her mother carry her to the toilet. This same baby learned to read when she was a year old and will graduate from college at the age of seven. Seriously, most of us toilet-train our children when they are much older. Two to three years of age is the average age for a child to be ready and willing to learn to use the toilet.

Around age two you can start practicing using the toilet. Buy a small potty chair. For boys, make sure it has a shield in front so they don’t make a mess urinating. Take a weekend (or free day) and bring out the potty chair into the room your child spends most of the day in. Take off their diaper and let them run around in just a shirt. If this is unacceptable to you, have them wear underwear. If they are wearing a diaper they will never get the idea that when they urinate it will run down their leg or make a puddle.

It is necessary to risk a few messes so that they can learn. After their diaper is off, explain to them that they will need to sit on the potty chair when they feel pee pee coming out of their body. Have them practice sitting on the potty chair. Turn on a video or give them a book; encourage them to sit often on the potty.

Maybe they will go in the potty and you can make a big deal of it by saying something like, "Wow! Look you put your pee pee in the potty. I knew you could do it! That is so great!" If they have an accident just say, “Uh-Oh, the pee pee was supposed to go in the potty.” Have them sit on the potty and tell them that next time they feel pee pee coming to sit on the potty and put it in there. Keep practicing using the potty all day if your child is happy and if everything is going smoothly. Stay nearby so you can encourage them to sit down if you see they might need
to go. Your child might be one of the few that is trained this easily. If a struggle occurs or your child is balking at using the potty: Stop! This was just a practice session to give your child new information about what they will be doing in the future. Some of what they learned will sink in and they will be that much more ready for the next “practice”.

About two weeks later have another “practice session” and repeat all of the above. Explain again to your child about pee pee going into the potty. If this “practice session” is going well, continue it until they are successful. Only stop when a struggle begins or too many accidents occur. Have another practice session in a few weeks or couple months if you know they are not ready yet.

Usually it takes several practice sessions for a child to understand what they are supposed to be doing and be totally potty trained. Just remember to keep trying, your child will eventually understand and be successful.