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Need some help ditching the diapers?

Are you counting down to the day of the toilet transition? Perhaps you have already tried a few unsuccessful attempts. Your child needs to be capable of toilet training. They will, and they will one day.
Carol Stevenson from Stevenson Ranch, California says, “No child is graduating high school in diapers.” She trained each child at a different stage. But it is easy to get too worried about your child being a certain age, and it becomes a battle.

After you are certain your child is ready for diaper-free living, look out for signs such as asking to use the bathroom or telling you when they need to go.

Timing for potty training

Do not get discouraged if it takes a while. According to a study done by the Medical College of Wisconsin (in Milwaukee), potty training can be completed in about a year. “The two major surprises are that toilet teaching isn’t fast or it’s not easy,” says Dr. Maureen O’Brien Ph.D., director for parenting and child development at The First Years. She is also the author of Watch Me Grow. “Multiple areas of development must be aligned first. The child should communicate well, be aware and sensitive to his bodily feelings, as well as understand the time it takes to reach his goal.

Practicing Patience

“When I felt my daughter was ready, (around 26 months), she went to the bathroom every 10 minutes, even when we were outside. After a couple of days, she started to be able to go on her own after just 15 minutes. She could then go on for 20 minutes. Poop was quite another story. She had to be pushed with M&Ms. –Elissa Murnick; Fairfield, Connecticut

“My son learned how to pee on the potty very quickly. But, nailing number 2 took extra effort. To tell him he wanted to go to the bathroom, we had to first watch for his “cues”. It took us a while, sometimes for more than half an hour. We started reading to him to make it more enjoyable. Above all, patience, patience and patience is key! –Karen J. Wright; Mankato, Minnesota

Maintaining a routine

Jen Singer, a mother to two children, says consistency is the key. Jen is the author of Stop Second-Guessing Yourself parenting series and a member in good standing of the Huggies Pull-Ups Potty Training Partners. It doesn’t matter what you do at home to support your potty-training plan. You also have to do it elsewhere. If your child enjoys reading while on the toilet, you can talk to your daycare provider to request a favorite book. Daycare centers might be too busy to personalize potty training for each child. In this case, talk to them about how they can foster the success they have experienced at home and compromise. Take something that is effective at daycare to home. Bring home soap that your child likes if you have some at home.

Being Consistent

“I wish I could give credit to his training. However, the wonderful teachers at his daycare took the hard part: Putting him on his toilet every 20 mins, without fail. We followed their example at home. I believe he was motivated by seeing his classmates use the potty. –Roberta Perry in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

“Our son didn’t want to remember to go on his feet, so we discovered the Potty Watch which is makes a great tips for potty training. We loved it. You can program the watch to play songs, light up at 30-60, 90, and 90-minute intervals, and then reset it and start the countdown. –Heather Ledeboer. Athol, Idaho

“My son was 17 months when I started to put him on the potty every night while I took his bath. We were soon able to get him to use the potty after a few nights. I continued the same routine every evening. Slowly, more potty trips were added throughout the day. I tried this method with all three children. Shannon; Stevensville MD

Redeem your points

“Two words, Mini M&M’s!” You can promise your child that she will get one or two M&Ms every time your child goes to the toilet, but that she will only get four or five if she cleans her hands (a major challenge for us). This makes a big difference because I think that one of the reasons kids don’t like to go potty is because learning how to wipe it is so unpleasant. — Donna Johnson; Charlotte, North Carolina

“I would recommend bribery for potty training motivation. We kept a small piggy bank in our bathroom, and we rewarded everyone who succeeded (one penny for pee, and two for poop). Our daughter was fascinated with the piggy. Every time she saw it, she would stare at it with a smile and say how heavy it was getting. After she was done, we took the potty money and converted it into quarters for rides at The Mall. –Lisa Spicer; Los Angeles, California

“I decorated each toddler’s outfit with stickers every time they used the potty. They showed their father their rows and rows of stickers at the end of the day, which looked like an army General’s star. They received double the praise and I got an easy, inexpensive way to reward them for their successes in potty training. –Jen Singer; Kinnelon, New Jersey

“We tried Cheerios M&M’s M&M’s, Potty Charts, Cheerios, M&Ms and cheerleader rants and screaming, but nothing worked. My son is obsessed about cars and trucks. The movie Cars was just released. My husband went to every local store in search of all the figurines. We watched the movie together and then told our son that every time they went potty, he’d get one of these cars. It was magic. After 15 cars, he was fully potty trained. Disney would be proud. –Darlene Fiske; Austin, Texas

Praising Your Child

“I’ve heard it all: Stickers, bribing, toys, underpants, etc. However, you need to pick something that fits your parenting style. I don’t think I could use rewards anywhere else, so I didn’t want to start here. What worked was lots of undivided focus, positive reinforcement, love and affection when my children were successful. The key is to not make too much of the small steps that have been made. — Diane Hund; Elmhurst, Illinois

“I did not use any special equipment–no pull-ups, potty rings or kiddie toilets–because the local YMCA where I grew up didn’t believe them. A contract was signed by us stating that we would adhere to their potty training policies at home. I was told to use the regular toilet at home for the children (they were about 2 1/2 years old) whenever I thought they needed to go. After about a week, and lots of ‘Yeah! You got number two! Good for you! You’re a good-looking wee-wee! They were done in no time with very few mishaps. Overall, I believe they were developmentally ready. –Sandra Gordon; Weston, Connecticut

Choose a Location

“We found that the kiddie covers that are placed on top of the toilet were too difficult to use. It can be difficult for children to access the toilet quickly and easily, as they often require a step stool. I gave my 2-year old daughter a mini Elmo potty, which she kept in the living area, as it was where she spent most of her time. As it moved closer and nearer to the bathroom, we eventually got to a Dora chair that was right above the toilet. Tracy Burton; Grand Ledge in Michigan

“To relieve some pressure from our daughter, the potty was placed next to her bed. She could have her own space. It was also easier for her to use, especially at night and in the morning. It worked also for our second daughter. “–Anne, Ben, Cheshire CT