Potty Training (cont.)
How do I begin potty training my child?
Pediatric developmental specialist T. Berry Brazelton has proposed a rational
(for parents) and developmentally appropriate (for children) step-by-step
approach. The following are his suggestions:
- Decide on a vocabulary for body fluids (pee, poop, etc.) that
will be used consistently. Remember that these terms will be used both at home
and out in public.
- Buy a potty chair. Attempting to use an adult toilet
prevents the leg leverage necessary for ease of bowel movements for the young
child. Many toddlers enjoy decorating their potty chair; this activity creates
an emotional "investment" into this important piece of furniture.
sitting on the toilet (initially, fully clothed is fine) and look at a favorite
book. This allows familiarity and pretend play without the stress of
- Practice sitting on the potty chair without a diaper. Some
parents will transfer diaper urine or stool into the potty chair to help the
child better understand the goal. The urine and stool can then be transferred
into the toilet and flushed away. Some children may be scared by the flushing
toilet; practicing with toilet paper alone often helps any intimidation factor.
- More practice: Develop a routine/ritual regarding predictable times for
sitting (without diaper) on the potty chair. A common time for many is just
before taking a bath. Some children have very predictable bowel movement
patterns; "catching them in the act" allows for an opportunity for praise and a
small reward (for examples, hand stamp, sticker, etc.).
- Transition to training
pants or underwear: When the child expresses a desire for "big boy/girl" pants
and he/she has been successfully using the potty chair for one to two weeks, an option to
transition (for progressively longer periods each day) out if diapers may be
offered. Such a move should be viewed by the child as a reward for his efforts
and should not intimidate the child.
- When comfortable with his potty chair,
many children express a desire to use the adult toilet. An over-the-toilet-seat
lid and a step stool are important to facilitate this final transition.