1. Wait for them to be ready. All children develop at different rates. If your oldest child potty trained by two, that does not mean your second child will. If your neighbor’s child is potty trained, it does not mean yours should be. Your child needs to be ready, or it will be a long battle, and a frustrating struggle. So, wait for your child to show signs of readiness, such as going long periods of time without dirtying a diaper. Recognizing their need to potty, or even just a fascination with the toilet.
2. Do not fight with them. If you are fighting about it, stop and try again in a week or two. As soon as potty training becomes a fight, it is time to quit. If it is a power struggle, your child will win. Your child is learning about themselves, and becoming an individual, and often their individuality is expressed through resistance. Don’t let that be to potty training.
3. Help them understand what is going on. Books, movies, etc. often help. This is a learning process, so as many props and helps you can get the better. If your child has a clear understanding of what the potty is, when they use it, and how they use it, it will not intimidate them nearly as much, and potty training will be a lot easier.
4. Be consistent. You can do “naked noon” where each day for a couple of hours they wear only their underwear and use the potty. If you find that you can’t stay consistent each day, consider a potty training weekend, where you dedicate the whole weekend to potty training.
5. Remind them every two hours. Your child is going to ignore their body signals in order to play, eat, or sleep. So, help them out by giving them a reminder, and by taking them into the bathroom every couple of hours to use the toilet. This will help them recognize the signs, and get used to going into the bathroom.
6. Make it easy to use the toilet. Dress them down so that they are not fighting to get their clothes off in time to make it to the toilet. Get a step stool, a potty chair, or a potty ring, so that every step of the potty training process is easier.
7. Rewards and positive reinforcement. These work well for many children. Praise, sticker charts, treats or toys for success, all work. This is not a bribe, rather a way to help your child remain excited, and to celebrate the excitement of their success.
8. Make it fun. Potty training is often scary, so do little things to make it more fun, like race them to the bathroom, get fun soap for hand washing, teach them ditties and songs to use when on the toilet. Help them pick out fun underwear, etc.
9. Help them recognize potty sensations. Sometimes lack of success with potty training is from not understanding how their body works. So, give them a big drink, then tell them what to wait for, then in a half hour or so, take them in. Soon, they will equate the sensations with the need to use the potty, and it will go better.
10. Stay in. Don’t try to potty train while you are out and about, on vacation, etc. Stay in for a few days so that it is familiar and easy for your child to get to a bathroom when they need to go. As they gain better control, you can venture out more.