Your School-Age Child
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Toilet Training Ideas
Read this page to learn how to potty train your child.
Choose a potty day
- Ask your child when she wants to start training. Mark that day on a calendar.
- It is better to start during a long holiday weekend. Then you have time to support your child on
- As the day nears, remind her of it with excitement!
- Once your child starts training, make potty training your most important activity!
Set Up Routines:
Set up a Potty Routine
- If you see your child making faces, pulling her pants or pushing you to get your attention, then
maybe she needs to go. Ask your child to use the potty at that moment.
- Ask her to use the potty a few minutes after eating or after one or two hours of staying dry.
- Do not expect immediate results. If after 2 to 4 minutes nothing happens, stop and try again later.
Establish a Good Cleaning Routine
Teach your child good cleaning habits:
- Show her how to wash her hands.
- Teach her how to wipe herself.
- If your curious child plays with her poop, do not yell at her about it. Tell her that poop is
not something to play with.
- Teach a boy to lower both the seat and lid after he is done.
- Remind her to close the lid before flushing.
- In a public restroom, teach her to put toilet paper on the seat.
Make it Fun!
Toilet training is an important step towards growing up. This is because children learn to be
responsible and independent. While you potty train, you can:
Read or Make Up Stories
- Keep your child's favorite books and magazines in the bathroom
- Ask her to choose a storybook
- Read along together
- Make up stories and let your child add her comments
Have a conversation
- Sit in a chair and talk with your child.
- Talk about a family trip you had.
- Ask her what she wants to be when she grows up.
Use your imagination and make up games. Keep a slow and relaxing pace. Games that you may want to
- Bathroom I Spy: Let your child guess what you are describing. This should be something
in the bathroom.
- You can find more games at Nickjr.com
- Remember to check on your child's "potty progress". Ask her if she needs quiet time to concentrate.
Think About How You Dress Your Child
- Sometimes you will need to go to the restroom in a hurry!
- It is important to dress your child with clothes that are easy to take off.
- For example, choose sweatpants instead of overalls.
Be a role model
- Take her to the bathroom with you, and encourage her to sit on her potty while you are on
- Explain to her what you are doing. Do this only if you are comfortable talking about it.
- You may want to let them watch an older sibling. Copying others helps children learn how to
use the potty.
- Tell your child things like "good for you". Give her a hug and 'thumbs up' when she goes
to the toilet. Do this even if nothing happens.
- Do not praise her too much. Some children get nervous with too much attention.
- When she shows you her dirty diaper, praise her and ask her to tell you before she goes next time.
- Praise your child when she stays dry.
- Stay positive! Pay attention to the things that your child does well. For example: she washed
her hands after using the toilet, but forgot to flush. Show her that you are happy that she washed
her hands. She will later learn to remember to flush.
- Give your child a prize when she uses the toilet successfully. Give her a sticker. After she
collects some, she can have a big surprise. The surprise could be something she really likes. As
your child learns how to use the toilet, you can slowly stop giving her prizes. Prizes do not
always help potty train a child.
- Accidents may happen!
- After a successful potty training some children may have accidents.
- Some may even regress or go back to wetting their underpants.
- There isn't a right time for how long it takes to potty train a child. Stay positive!
- Everybody learns how to use the potty, and so will your child!
Next: Toilet Training Practice