There are a few tools you will need to get started; purchase the doll at a children’s store
or website and get use to how it works. “Big Kid” underwear is your next purchase to get the child use to not using diapers. You will also need a potty chair or a potty seat cover to dismiss any fears your child will have of the big opening on the toilet. These will get you started on training your child to use the bathroom.
Start the process together. The child needs to name the doll, usually after someone, like a cartoon or someone they consider to be a Hero. Have the child feed the doll some water, then both of you walk to the potty chair pull down the dolls underwear, place it on the seat, and press on it’s stomach so it expels the water into the potty chair/seat. When that’s done make a big deal out of it with maybe horns or noise makers, or cookies and milk. This conveys to the child that using the potty is a good thing. The psychology here is that if their Hero does it and gains praise, then maybe your child should do it too. All young children thrive on praise from their parents.
Now is also the time to get rid of the diapers and introduce the Big Kid underwear to the child. Remember, the Hero Doll just used the underwear and wouldn’t your child want to be just like their Hero? Start giving the child a lot of liquids to encourage the use of the potty; this reinforces the need to use the potty.
Ask frequently if they need to go to the potty. Remember young children are not yet programmed to head to the potty when an urge is felt. Since they have been born they have just acted on that urge immediately. You need to train them to use the potty when they feel the urge and by mentioning it frequently they will get the hint.
When they are ready, take them to the potty and help them pull down their underwear. If you are successful in this endeavor praise the child profusely. This will be a positive reinforcement. Never, never ever scold a child if they have an accident because using negative attitudes will undo all your hard work in trying to get the child trained.
After your child has used the potty for the first time, it is time to get the milk and cookies out again to make him/her feel special, once more, turn the event into a positive rewarding experience.
Well you might say, that’s great information but when do I start? There are a zillion schools of thought on this. Some say as early as six months while others think it easier to train children when they are older. The best advice I have seen is to let your child tell you!
We’ve all seen little kids scrunch their faces and make grunting noises when they feel the need to “eliminate”. This is your cue that they are getting ready, so why not start right then. If they are completely against the potty training they will let you know, but if you follow the steps outlined above it will work.
Try to make this experience seem positive so that it will be virtually painless for both you and your child.