Toilet Training

Just as everyone has a different opinion about when it’s best to begin toilet training, so every parent you know is likely to use or recommend a different training method.

You may have heard that demonstrating toilet use for your child is a good way to help him learn through imitation. A friend may have told you that all she had to do with her son was read him a book about potty use and talk it over with him. Many parents recommend talking with their children about toilet use and then asking every two hours, “Do you need to go?” Some feel that rewarding a child with gold stars on a chart or a small treat is the most effective method. Timing is also a factor, as some parents prefer a brief, concentrated approach (perhaps even taking time off from work to deliver two weeks of “immersion training”), while others feel that their children are less pressured when allowed to adjust to potty use gradually over many months.

Any of these techniques may work well with your child. But keep in mind that it is not necessary to choose a single method—in fact, your child will benefit from a combination of verbal, physical, social, and other forms of training no matter what his age.

Accepting and adjusting to your child’s personal style can make toilet training a much less stressful experience than you may have expected. You may also find yourself getting to know your child in a way you didn’t before—appreciating his special qualities, becoming familiar with his emerging interests, and respecting him as a unique, interesting individual.