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Potty Time

Potty training, or toilet training, is when a child is taught to use the potty or toilet on her own. A child who is potty trained will be able to use the bathroom by herself for both urinating and having a bowel movement. Both types of training can be done at the same time. If a child is ready, she should be able to be potty trained in one to three months. However, nighttime control usually takes much longer than daytime training.

It is important to wait to begin potty training until a child is ready. There are things that can be done to help prepare kids for potty training. The age kids are ready will vary, but it is commonly between two and three years of age. Here is a list of things that can help get children ready for potty training:

  • Teach the words for potty training—pee, poop, potty

  • Let them know that everyone pees and poops

  • Make the child aware of when she pees or poops and have her tell an adult

  • Never refer to poop as “yucky,” and make diaper changing fun

  • Teach what the toilet and/or potty seat is for and let her sit on it for fun

  • Read books and watch videos about toilet training

  • Let the child choose some new underwear and keep them until she is ready to wear them

Once a child seems ready to use the potty, she should sit on the potty to practice. She can try to pee or poop if she wishes. After naps and meals or when a diaper has been dry for a while is a good time to try using the potty. The child should sit for as long as she desires but should never be forced to stay on the potty. When a child does have success, praise and rewards should be given. Treats or prizes often work well for incentives.

After a child has used the potty about ten times, she is ready for underwear. It is normal for her to have accidents while she is training. When this happens, parents should not get upset with or punish the child. The child should be changed and told that it is okay. Diapers should still be used for naps, bedtime, and travel away from home. 

If potty training is not going well, parents should talk to the child’s doctor. There is no need to be concerned until the child is over the age of three. Some children are not ready as early as others, and it takes some kids longer to learn. The main thing is for parents to be positive about the process.

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners

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