Potty Training (Toilet Training)

  • Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

What products do I need to begin potty training my child?

Several items will facilitate potty training for both the child and the parents. First and foremost is a potty chair (see the information above). A good supply of "training pants" and cotton underwear are also important for two reasons. They serve as a "carrot" to motivate the child during the toilet-training process; they also have a utilitarian value of what to wear in lieu of diapers. Many parents will encourage their child to help pick out underwear as part of this ritual. Many will choose those with a theme (Disney princesses, Sesame Street characters, etc.).

While the above ideas are worthwhile, the number one "product" to invest in during toilet training is patience. Like walking, toilet training is a natural process - and your child will succeed at an individualized pace.

How can I encourage my child to use the potty?

Besides their new underwear, many parents will employ a reward system to encourage their children during the toilet-training time period. A kiss, "high five," clapping, stamps, stickers, or a reward chart all work well. For the child attending day care, moving up to the "big kid" (toilet trained) room provides a strong motivational factor.

Listed below are several children's books that may be helpful during the toilet training process:

  1. No More Diapers for Me! by Katherine Sully and Claire Tindall
  2. Your New Potty by Joanna Cole
  3. Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel
  4. All By Myself by Anna Grossnickle Hines
  5. Going to the Potty by Fred Rogers ("Mr. Rogers")
  6. Koko Bear's New Potty by Vicki Lansky

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