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A Potty Training Plan

Learn how to create a plan for potty training success that suits your family’s needs and beliefs, plus your parenting style.
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Facing potty training for the first time may feel a little like climbing Mt. Everest: You have no idea what it’s going to be like until you’ve done it. Fortunately, potty training is much easier then scaling Everest, but when you’re done, you may feel the same mountain-sized sense of accomplishment.

Individualize Your Plan

Just like you wouldn’t start out on a climbing expedition without a plan, you shouldn’t start potty training without a plan either. Knowing where you’re going and how to get there is half the battle. Creating a potty training plan doesn’t have to be difficult or complex, but it does have to be suited to your family’s particular needs, beliefs and parenting style.

Janet Cole, a mother of three from Mt. Angel, Ore., created a potty training plan that suited her values and her children’s personalities. She did her research, found a method she liked and implemented it. She stuck with her plan even when it didn’t work immediately because it suited her parenting philosophy.

Dr. Ari Brown, author and pediatrician for the Capital Pediatric Group in Austin, Texas, believes that having a plan is half the battle.

"It's important to have a potty training plan so you aren't continually spinning your wheels in the attempt to lose the diapers," Dr. Brown says. "You will only get frustrated and your child will start to feel a sense of failure if you do this."

Getting Started

Jeremy G. Schneider is a marriage and family therapist specializing in parenting issues. He believes that choosing an approach can help ensure potty training success. He also thinks it’s important that you give yourself some room to breathe while working on a plan.

"I'm not a believer in the philosophy that you must get your child to be potty trained by a certain date and time," Schneider says. "Too much pressure! Having a good approach, however, can make a big difference – especially if you begin to introduce your children to idea of learning to use the potty in many different ways."

Schneider believes a good plan should always begin with gauging a child’s interest. If the child isn’t interested, all the planning in the world won’t matter.

"I think a good approach begins with introducing them to the idea, talking about it when you change their diapers, inviting them to see you use the toilet, buying books and videos about potties, buying a potty chair and making it easily accessible to them," Schneider says. "If they're ready, they will try. If they are not, they won't. Forcing them could make them refuse and fight you on it, causing you both enormous amounts of frustration. Take your lead from them and it will be a much more pleasant experience."

So you think your child is ready and you’ve put some thought into your parenting style. What’s next? It’s time for a little research. Web sites, your health care provider, other parents and bookstores are all potential resources for finding information that would fit your family’s style.

Getting the Right Gear

At this point, it might be a good idea to jot your thoughts down in a notebook. A journal may help you keep track of the most important points of your potty training plan and a list of equipment you will need.

The most obvious equipment includes a potty chair, Pull-Ups® Training Pants, underwear and anything else your particular method requires. And don’t forget things for your child to do while sitting on the potty chair! Books, little toys and stickers are all items you may want to have on hand.

"Parents should be prepared with a lot of reading material," Schneider says. "Kids do not finish with the potty very quickly and you could find yourself spending a lot of time sitting next to them while they are on the potty or toilet. I actually found this to be one of the benefits of the toilet learning process – my relationship with my kids got stronger because of the time we would spend together, one-on-one, while they were on the potty or toilet."

Once you have everything you need, it’s time to put your plan into action. Refer to your journal whenever you feel like you’re getting off course. It’s the equivalent of checking the road map on occasion as you hike up the side of that mountain – and just think of the sense of accomplishment you and your child will experience when you get to the top!

Tips for Creating Your Child’s Potty Plan

  • Think about your parenting style. Are you a schedule-driven person? Or are you more into child-led learning? This will help you decide what you are looking for in a potty training method.
  • Do some research. Check out the Internet, magazines and bookstores for ideas and the merits of different methods. Other parents can be a great resource.
  • Start a journal. Jot down notes from your research, the main points of the potty training method you’ve chosen and the gear you’ll need.
  • Pick up the equipment you’ll need to implement your plan.
  • Choose a weekend when you’ll be home to implement your plan. It’s hard to start potty training on the go!

An article from Teri Brown

  • Rated 0 out of 5 by 14reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 by Nice article about potty training. My son will be 3 the end of May and is about 90% potty trained. He first expressed interest last November. We read lots of books and I told stories while he was on the potty seat. He especially loved a colorful potty book that I purchased. At first he wanted to stand and pee like daddy (that was hard to break). He would only go pee and not number two. We tried taking after meals and he would not go. 5-10 minutes later he would say "mommy/daddy I went poop in my diaper." This went on for months. My husband and I were getting frustrated. We started giving stickers when he went. Then the end of Dec/January he went backwards and maybe went 1-2 times a day. It didn't help when my husband and I both work the normal 7-5 hours. Through this entire potty phase, we understood that be is only 2 1/2 and maybe he just isn't ready. The end of January early February he picked it up again. He went number 2 for the first time! It was a big celebration. We praised him and gave him a treat, in return made him feel extra special. We started a treasure box; every time he went number 2 on the toilet he got a small toy/treat. I recently introduced him to the pull-ups. I explained to him this is ONLY for big boys and he could not go potty or poop in the pull-up otherwise we had to throw it away. I also showed him big boy underwear. He's had the chance to wear these a few times around the house and he is aware this is the next big step. In conclusion, he has NOT had a poop in his diaper for over 2 weeks and almost every bathroom visit his pull up is dry, even at bedtime. My husband and I can not believe how it just clicked within the last few weeks. Its an amazing accomplishment and what the child needs is lots of praise and an optimistic attitude even when you feel frustrated. Good luck to every parent struggling though their child's next stepping stone. March 22, 2015
    Rated 0 out of 5 by Stop and go. Its a work in progress. Be patient. And do notStop. Start on a weekend your home but stick to it. You can't be strict on it one day and not so much the next. February 4, 2015
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I am a single mother of a 20 month old daughter. We spend a lot of time together and she HAS to accompany me on MY bathroom trips. For months I have had a potty chair located in the restroom and she would sit on it occasionally but has yet to make any progress. She now seems to be bothered by her diaper wetness immediately after it happens, which I read in another of Huggies articles is a sign that she is ready to potty train. I am so glad I read this article, I am now jotting down ideas for my "plan of action". She loves books so I am certainly going to include our reading time to be located in the bathroom! ;-) Thanks! January 25, 2015
    Rated 0 out of 5 by It's good for me to keep in mind to be "fluid" in my child's potty training plan. I originally didn't think I needed a plan. She, unlike my first, started potty training herself! I thought, "this will be easy. I won't have to do anything." That wasn't exactly how things had turned out. We are still working on it. Me working with her (unlike how we approached the potty training with our first) on her interests in it has made all the difference in the world. She has made significant progress so far! This article provided a good skeleton outline for how to work with your child. December 18, 2014
    • 2015-03-29T09:54:09.533-05:00
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