How to Potty Train Your Child

Children aren’t born with an understanding of how to use the potty. Using the potty is a learned skill. Between the ages of 2 and 3, most children are ready to be potty trained. When a child shows signs of potty training readiness, parents and caregivers can teach him to use the potty, rather than his diaper, for his toileting needs. Potty training can be a difficult process, but you can help make the transition to wearing underwear easier.

Step 1

Sit your child on the potty at consistent intervals. At first, a child should be encouraged to sit on the potty every 15 minutes, before going to sleep and after waking up. Note how often he uses the potty. Once he begins to use the potty successfully, you can increase the interval of time between sittings.

Step 2

Reward the child for sitting and performing. Stickers, pieces of candy, or other small rewards can help reinforce potty successes. If a child is hesitant to sit on the potty, give one reward for sitting and two for performing. Allowing the child to choose from a few small rewards can help him feel in control of the potty-training process.

Step 3

Pay attention to your child’s cues. After a day or two of training, you’ll notice how often your child uses the potty. Once you have an idea of his toileting pattern, remind your child to use the potty at the times he normally goes. If you’ve noticed your child pees every hour, every hour remind him to sit on the potty. If he doesn’t go, encourage him to sit on the potty every 15 minutes until he does.

Step 4

Put your child in underwear. Once your child is having success using the potty when being prompted to do so, switch your child from training pants to underpants. Begin asking him if he needs to use the potty at his usual times, rather than reminding him to do so. Also encourage him to tell you when he needs to use the potty.

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