Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at [email protected]

    A Guide to Potty Training Techniques
    Laura Jana, MD posted:
    There's certainly no denying that there are a lot of potty training methods out there for parents to use with their child. Have you discovered a method that is worth the effort and ditched the ones that will leave you tired, frustrated, and heading out to buy some carpet cleaner?

    Let's review the potty training methods you have probably heard about:

    Potty training infants. I'm often asked about this technique, and it is worth pointing out that many children around the world are potty trained as infants. This is especially true in countries and cultures that don't have readily available diapers and washing machines. This parent-intensive approach to potty training is based on paying close attention to babies' body language and cues, and then responding accordingly. But personally, I think the time spent analyzing your baby's every grimace could be better spent reading, singing, playing, and doing other activities with your child.

    Potty training in a day. While I fear that the promise of single day success inevitably gives some parents unrealistic expectations, and sets their toddlers up for perceived failure, the general idea isn't too far off. Parents need to keep in mind the key aspects of general potty training techniques that help form the basis of this approach. The techniques include:

    ? Have supplies for this method, including underwear, a doll that can also go pee on the potty, and other items you feel may be needed.

    ? Make sure your child is both physically and mentally ready.

    ? Celebrate your child's potty training accomplishments.

    ? Be fully prepared to handle any accidents in a non-critical manner.

    Some will be able to potty train using this method. Others who are disinterested and/or not developmentally ready, are sure to take longer.

    Naked and $75.00 approach. While I'm on the subject of techniques that may be somewhat unrealistic, I should also mention this approach. It involves allotting several days during which you are supposed to keep your child naked while encouraging the use of the potty. You must anticipate the need for carpet cleaning (that's the $75.00 part) at the end of the process. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that being naked only seems to help a select few potty training toddlers to remember to put their poop and their pee in the potty. For the rest, it's just messy. If you have tried it and found success, and your carpets are in no worse shape, feel free to share your experience with using this technique.

    Waiting until your child is ready.
    Most commonly recommended these days, this method involves treating potty training as a developmental milestone. I'm all for taking into account each individual child's degree of developmental readiness, and I do believe that when children are ready, they have the potential to all but train themselves.

    I'm a little more of a practical realist. Let's face it, the reality of the situation is that sitting back and leaving potty training almost entirely up to your child may leave you faced with societal pressure, child care concerns, and a longer wait before bidding a final goodbye to diapers. Instead, I suggest introducing all of the necessary concepts, vocabulary, and tools of the toileting trade, to toddlers as young as 12 to 18 months old -- well before you ever expect them to get the hang of it.

    It has been shown that the earlier you start potty training, the longer it takes for a child to master this skill. The way I see it, the bottom line is that whatever approach you take should incorporate positive parenting and realistic expectations!

    Did you use any of these methods, or something else? Other parents in the community want to know your recommendations for successful potty training techniques, so let's hear from everyone!
    nursingbug responded:
    I tried the potty training in one day when my daughter was 2 1/2. The pedi had said that since she was very verbal, she would likely be able to potty train early.
    I purchased a book about it, was very informative, and it had a questionare that checked for readyness for the program, I thought I did it correctly, but I must not have, because it did not work for us.
    For this method you have a 'potty party' where all of the events are about using the potty, in the am you train the doll with the child, and in the pm you get the child to use the potty.
    She did use it, but she wet herself several times throughout the afternoon, without realizing she was wet. Lesson learned was that it doesn't matter how verbal a child is, if her bladder is not ready, it is not going to work!
    I am still glad I did it though, because it jump- started her knowlege of it- she was able to verbalize the process and she still refers back to the 'potty party' things we did. She finally potty trained about 6 months later gradually, wearing pull ups and putting her on the potty every couple of hours until she learned to listen to her body- it was pretty smooth transition.
    casmoreland responded:
    just would like some advice for my daughter and on what to do she is 10 and still poops in her pantys a lil everyday and she stints and the teacher and alll the other kids are noticing and belive me i have tryied everything, i just wanna help her any suggestions please let me know thanks
    fcl replied to casmoreland's response:
    Have you taken her to the doctor about this? She could well be suffering from encopresis:

    Helpful Tips

    Not as easy as some make it out by simply being the boss.
    Feeding therapy ideas and resources ... The phrase " oral aversion " describes the avoidance or fear of eating, drinking, or accepting ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    1 of 1 found this helpful

    Expert Blog

    Child Health 411 - Ari Brown, MD

    Educated parents are empowered parents! Get clear answers to your parenting questions from Dr. Ari Brown...Read More

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.