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Potty Talk: Words To Use When You Toilet Train

Your kid’s showing all the signs of potty readiness—dry diapers after naps, long gaps between changes, and an ability to follow directions. But how do you get the potty started? With these tips!

Q: How do I approach the subject of potty training?

A: Keep it easy, breezy—and super positive, says Teri Crane, author of Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day. "Rather than ask a question like, ‘Do you want to stop wearing your diapers?’ try something like, ‘I think you are ready to stop wearing your diapers and start using the potty today.’" 

Q: What words do I use for "number one" and "number two"?

A: Number one and number two, if that’s what you like. The best words to use are the ones with which you and your partner are most comfortable and familiar. If you prefer formal ones (urinate and defecate), fine! If you’re into more casual ones (pee and poop or wee-wee and ca-ca), fine! Just be consistent. And remember, you’ll be using the words a lot when you’re out and about, so you want to make sure you’ll be okay speaking them in public, too.

Q: What can I say to encourage my child to go potty?

Again, be consistent. "It will confuse your child if you ask her in the morning if she has to ‘go tinkle’ and then call it ‘go pee-pee’ in the afternoon," says Crane. "Children have very concrete thinking. A euphemism like, ‘Do you have to go to the bathroom?’ will probably be literally translated to ‘Do you need to walk into the bathroom?’ Which means unless there’s something in the bathroom that your child needs, she will probably say, ‘No.’"

Q: What should I say when my child has an accident?

A: No kid gets through potty training without at least one accident, so don't make a big deal about it—just continue to be encouraging. "Keep assuring your child that you believe in his ability to master this new skill," says Crane. "Tell him, 'Everybody makes mistakes when we learn something new. But we just keep practicing and pretty soon, we're really good at it. The more you practice, the better you'll get at it.'" 

Check out the Pull-Ups potty training resource center for more tips, tools, and advice.

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