Is There a Right Way to Train? 4 Potty Training Techniques to Try with Your Toddler
by Brittany Tacket, MA
Brittany Tackett is a psychotherapist, life coach, mental health writer, and mommy to an infant daughter. She currently works part-time as a play therapist at a local elementary school and spends the rest of her time writing, parenting, and running an online collectibles shop. Her approach to mental health is holistic and encompasses all aspects of the human experience. She is trained in a variety of modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, applied behavioral analysis, art therapy, neurolinguistic programming, and positive psychology.
1) Create a Potty RoutineSome parents start potty training simply by creating a potty routine and sticking to it. Buy a toddler potty or seat and set up the child’s potty environment appropriately. Then, come up with a specific routine and schedule it throughout the day. Set a timer with a special alarm sound to help your child recognize it’s potty time. Complete the potty routine even if he doesn’t actually go. If your child is in diapers, take him to the potty after every change as well. Eventually, he will start to make the association and will start using the potty on his own - he may even ask you to go when it’s not scheduled potty time. This potty training technique is great for:
- Children who thrive on structure and routine.
- Parents who have time to take their children to the potty consistently.
2) Provide IncentivesThis potty training technique works by focusing on your child’s dopamine system and providing rewards for desired behaviors. Start by introducing the concept of using the potty to your child and then provide incentive for your child to actually use it. There are a variety of ways to do this. Some parents use a point system or provide a sticker for each time their child successful uses or attempts to use the potty. Once your child has so many points racked up or stickers collected he can trade it in for a desired reward. This method is great for:
- Children who are highly motivated.
- Parents who are patient, creative, and committed to sticking to the reward system.
3) Have a Toddler Booty Camp (Fast-Track Training)Toddler Booty Camp is just a fancy name for fast-track training methods that attempt to toilet train toddlers in 1 to 3 days or sometimes a week. These methods require that you are with your child 24/7 through the duration of the training period and spend all of this time focused on training. Fast-track methods utilize an intensive combination of many potty training techniques. Parents begin by introducing the potty, usually using potty training dolls, books, and other teaching tools. Then, they make sure to give their child plenty of liquids during the training process so that they will be eliminating frequently. The children will usually go naked during the potty training period so they can notice their messes and be motivated to use the potty. Positive reinforcement is given in the form of rewards as well as verbal encouragement. When accidents happen, parents continue to redirect as needed. This technique is great for:
- Children who are eager to learn and have a desire to please.
- Parents who have the time and energy available to devote exclusively to potty training.
4) Toddler-Driven TrainingToddler-driven training techniques let the toddler lead the way for potty training. This method is also referred to as the Brazelton approach, named after Dr. T. B. Brazelton, who developed the method in 1962 after observing countless toddlers being forced into toilet training before they were ready. For this method, parents simply introduce the concept of going potty, have a toddler potty where the child can easily access it, and let him make the decision to use it in his own time. Some parents will let the child pick out the potty himself to get him more excited about it. This potty training technique is great for:
- Children who are highly independent and head-strong.
- Parents who aren’t in a hurry to potty train quickly or who are too busy for other methods.