June 18, 2001 at 5:40 AM ET
If you’re like most parents, potty training your toddler feels a lot like fighting an uphill battle. But sometimes, advice from another parent who’s been there can be encouraging enough to pull you through. Here’s are tips from 10 parents who tackled toilet training:
From Ccgr: "What works well for us is this: Instead of saying "sit on the potty before we go to the library," I say, "After you have gone to the potty, we'll go to the library." Then I relax and do something else to make it seem like I have all the time in the world to wait. I want to give her the message that she knows her body best and that she has a choice. She can either sit on potty now and go to library, or not sit on potty and find something to do at home while waiting for that potty urge. Of course, I always choose things she loves like going outside on the swing or going to the library. I hope this works for you!"
Cltaytay1977 says she’s got a surefire way to reach toilet-teaching success. "Let your kid go naked around the house for a period of time during the day. Have a small potty chair you can bring in the family room with him. Have him sit often, read, watch a video, or play on or near the potty. If you catch him watering on the floor, be quick and get him on that potty! Be sure to reward him for potty success—we use two M&Ms. After he gets very good at this, then transition him to cotton training pants and a potty schedule that has him going every 2 hours. Also, take him to the potty; don't ask. Take him every 2 hours, after meals, naps and snacks until he initiates on his own."
Rcc199 shares her child’s success story, and the tricks that helped them get there: "I think letting my son be naked in the house has worked wonders for us. And we reward him for a job well done. Last night he was starting to poop when he was naked and he got kind of worried because he was not wearing the diaper. He put up a bit of a fight but the poop was on its way so he gave in. He was so excited and proud of himself for going on the big potty! To reward him, I lift him in the air and say "hip-hip-hooray, hip-hip-hooray, hip-hip-hooray! It’s a great potty day!" He loves that. Plus, I’ll give him candy now and then, or once just last week, I got him a little Matchbox car."
From smhikill: "What we did was make a potty chart and every time he goes potty in the toilet he gets a gold star. For a poop, he gets two stars. He thinks this is very cool. Then every five stars he gets a reward. After he gets 75 stars he gets an inflatable pool to play with in the back yard. Hopefully after this many stars he'll be close to done!"
Dahbrat2000 reminds us that all kids are ready at different times. "Just remember to be patient! Some older kids learn easily, but many kids lost interest in training at the very time parents are ready to pull their hair out from changing all of the diapers! It is a learning process for most that takes time and commitment."
Animalcrackers2 suggests making a game out of transitioning boys from sitting to standing. "Use cheerios in the toilet, and teach your child to just aim for the middle. This has worked for my son! I was in no hurry to have my son stand—I thought it would be really messy—but he insisted after about two months of training that he wanted to do it like Daddy. I'm happy to say I think he only missed his aim about once or twice in the last six months."
Learmarg offers her support and advice: "I just wanted to tell you that if you decide to use little potties, I found a great one on e-bay. Now my son has the same potty in each bathroom, which makes him so much more comfortable. Also, we have one of those little seats to put on the potty. It's soft and cushy with handles and he likes that. Maybe you're already using one. Definitely use the stool in front of the toilet. Best of luck, everyone. Don’t lose hope!"
"Scheduling works best," says cre8lovin. "You should take your child to the bathroom every hour and then after meals, snacks, and sleep. The obstacle a lot of parents face is that they get into the habit of asking their child. Instead you need tell them and take them. Initiating is often the last step in the process."
From pattymomoftwoboys: "When my son has to go, we’ve recently been getting him to yell "poop!" as loud as he can. While silly, this makes him aware that he needs to keep working on training himself, and he won’t be able to go in his diaper once the whole family’s made aware!"
Carol has found a trick that helps: "Practice at home with a portable seat to put on a big toilet. This way, your kid is comfortable on the seat, and the grown up potty seems less intimidating. Also, I would allow one or two trips to the potty, but not 5. If she seemed afraid, "practice pretend" at home. Or, if she just likes to check out strange potties, put a limit on the amount of trips. Our boys used to like to do this too, especially in a "grown up" restaurant where things tended to get a bit boring. That way, the kids take potty training seriously. When they’re taken, they’re expected to go!"
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.