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You're begging and pleading with your newly independent toddler to try sitting on the big potty. You offer candy, stickers, new toys, and a thousand other rewards. Nothing is working. First things first: Determine if your child is ready for potty training.

Is Your Child Ready?
1)Can he/she pull their own pants up and down? They may still need help with snaps and zippers, but they may be too young if they haven't yet mastered this motor skill.
2)Can he/she speak and tell you when it's potty time?
3)Is she/he showing signs of independence, such as refusing your help?
4)Is she/he showing signs of interest in using the potty? Are they asking questions about it? Do they want to watch you when you go potty?

Now, if you have come to the conclusion that your child is indeed ready to potty train, but you're still having trouble convincing the little tike of this, here are some pointers based on my own experience.

Tips On Getting Started:

1)Buy them underpants!!! In my opinion, you will have better success with underpants, than you will with a pair of pull on diapers. These pull-ups are convenient for car trips or trips to the stores, but the whole point of potty training is to teach your child to recognize when it's potty time. Yes, kids will have accidents. Yes, you will have to clean it up. But, I have found that kids like being completely soaked a lot less than being just a little wet in the diaper area. Plus, kids feel they have accomplished much more when they wear big girl/boy underpants.

2)Don't keep asking your kids if they have to go potty. I know this is hard for parents to refrain from doing, but they have to learn to tell you when it's time to go. It also makes it a much bigger deal if you're constantly asking them if they need to go to the bathroom. I have found that if you approach potty training without all the hooplah, your kids will be much more agreeable about going.

3)What do you do if your child refuses to go to the bathroom on the potty? My opinion is to keep trying. Don't break out the diapers the first time they have an accident. Of course, if they are going in their pants, and not on the potty, every time you may need to reassess if they're really ready.

4)Your kid won't poop in the potty? Well, it's a tough adjustment for children. Suggest the potty if they need to go, or if they're hidden in the corner grunting. Don't force it though. They will go when they're ready. (See #5.)

5)I firmly believe in rewarding your toddler. The first week of potty training, my youngster was given two M&M's for #1 and five for #2. This was how I got her to go poop in the potty also. Candy was her incentive. I gradually cut back the amount of rewards each week. If you don't want to give candy, make a chart for stickers and hang it in the bathroom. Every time they go, they get to put a sticker on it. I also gave books or other small toys for times when we were on outings and my child went potty.

6)Use the big potty. I don't believe in potty chairs. Your child will have to learn how to sit on the big potty eventually, and then you'll have to deal with that nightmare. Buy potty seats that fit into your toilet seat instead.

7)Dress them appropriately. Overalls are really cute, but hinder children from getting to the potty on time.

8)Don't force the issue. Just keep encouraging and be persistant.