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New Venture? Try Potty Training

Potty training anyone?


Potty training can be very time sensitive so it’s important to diagnose the situation and make sure your child is ready at this time. It is always best to listen to your child’s cues to find out when they feel ready. Are they ready to undertake this huge, significant change? Maybe this is a good time to start training, maybe it’s not!

This will indeed be a time full of great achievement as well as much frustration. Potty training relies on physical and emotional readiness, not a specific age. Some children show interest in using the potty around age 18 months to 2 years, but others may wait – there’s no rush! It is one of the biggest developmental milestones your child will face and it should be a positive experience.

I’m here to guide you so you don’t take the wrong approach or start too soon. If you do, it can dishearten your child and take much longer to reach the goal, or they may even end up back in diapers.

There are other issues that may arise like: potty training is going smoothly but all the sudden your child begins to resist. One second they are doing well and the next they are having accidents left and right.  This is frustrating, but know it is normal. Patience is the key! If your child is having a hard time, you may have to try again in a few months, and that’s okay.

I love these Baby Bjorn potty chairs, and kids really like the fun colors and comfort.


Is Your Child Ready?

Are they showing interest in the potty or when you/their peers are using the bathroom?

Do they fuss about wearing diapers? Do they ask to be changed immediately after soiling their diaper?

Do they know when they are peeing/pooping? Do they tell you? Do they go to a certain area or hide while going?

Getting Started

  • Pick a good time for both of you. Potty training needs a lot of attention. If you can stay home for a couple of days, even better!
  • Buy a potty and familiarize your child with it. Let them hold it, touch it, put it in a special place, and try sitting on it. Make it part of their routine (like bath time) and have them sit on the potty while you run the bath.
  • Buy books. There are many wonderful children’s books about using the potty. Start reading them even before you start the training. Prepare them!
  • When it’s time to go – let your child choose – use their potty or try a “potty seat” (toilet insert). They should be familiar with both. When they have to go they have to go, so have it easily accessible.
  • Make a big deal about buying underwear. Let them choose in the store and when they get dressed. So exciting for them (and you!)
  • Ask frequently if they need to use the potty. They may say no but encourage them to try anyway. They will not remember to stop playing to go.
  • Always go potty before you leave the house. Take a portable potty with you. I recommend the Pottete Plus.


  • Acknowledge them for their excellent work – this isn’t easy for them! Be encouraging and share their excitement when they pee or poop on the potty. Very important:  The last thing you want to do is discourage them. They may not always go, but if they sit and try that’s huge, so remember to acknowledge their effort!

Accidents happen. Bring plenty of changes of clothes and don’t punish them. You want them to experience wetting themselves. It’s uncomfortable and they won’t like it. Try to skip pull ups and go straight to the real thing.

If you get angry this makes for an unpleasant experience and negative associations and it will set your child back. This should be a fun, exciting and positive experience for them. Your toddler is now on their journey to becoming a confident and independent child.

Enjoy the moment and don’t forget to stock up on detergent, you will be doing plenty of cleaning and washing the first few days!

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Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

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