Keeping Little People Motivated to Potty Train

Using Non-Tangible Rewards

By Cynthia Noell

Many parents like to use stickers or candy as rewards, and if that works for your family, great. Others prefer non-tangible (sometimes called “intrinsic”) motivators: things that are not “stuff”. Perhaps a combination of the two will work as well. In this article, we’ll discuss some ideas for non-tangible rewards. Continue reading

Potty Time App now available for iPhone!

Apple approved the Potty Time app for iOS! Now you can download the Potty Time app for your iPhone or iPad. Use this free app to let your little one put stickers on a virtual chart, watch a Potty Time videos clip, or read a Potty Time story about Hopkins. You can even set up a call from Rachel, who will say, “Congratulations!” or “You can do it! Try again!” to your child. How cool is that?

Sarah Nichols of Kentucky downloaded the app yesterday and posted this comment on the Potty Time Facebook page: All my son wants to do is “talk to Rachel” and then pick a sticker. She’s given him so much incentive and we’ve had so much success today!!! 🙂

Download the Potty Time app now!

The Potty Time app is free. It is available for both Android and iOS devices.



Potty Training a Child With Special Needs

By Dixie Willwerth, M.Ed

As a special education preschool teacher, parents often ask me for advice on how to potty train their children. While working with children who have a variety of needs over the years, I have picked up some good tips. Potty training a child with special needs is not all that different than potty training any other child. However, there are some important factors you’ll want to take into account while planning for and implementing potty training strategies for your child with special needs. Continue reading

Potty Training in Daycare

By Kristy Simons, ECE

Potty training in child carePotty training is a significant developmental step for your child, so it’s important that you and your current (or potential) child care providers are on the same page before potty training begins. Discussing the following aspects of potty training can help you clearly communicate your preferences and expectations– and help you determine if your provider’s approach to potty training will meet your child’s needs. Continue reading

Don’t sweat the small stuff in potty training

by Kristy Simons, ECE

As a mother of two beautiful little girls, a private in-home daycare owner and operator, and an Early Childhood Educator, I find myself in the unique position to be able to give families potty training advice based on my personal experiences, my professional expertise, and my overall perspective.
Continue reading

5 things no one told you about potty training

By Colleen Brunetti, MEd

Not only are you training your child, you’re also training yourself as a parent. You are learning to tune into your child’s cues, react to her temperament, and integrate her into the family routine in a whole new way from how you did when she was a baby. Look at this time as a chance for increased bonding and understanding with your precious little one.

This is one of those times that will make you both more relieved and proud than you could have imagined. Be prepared for a mix of, “Well, I’m glad that’s over!” and “I can’t believe how big he/she is now (sniffle)” range of feelings. Potty training is a fantastic milestone when accomplished, but it also signals the end of the baby days. Sigh.

It takes much more time than you anticipated, or maybe it is easier than you thought! Kids are really very good at surprising us. The most willing to please child may initially completely balk at training. The most active and hard to day-train child may night-train in under a week. Honestly, you just never know. So, roll with it.

The method you choose may not be the method you end up with. Isn’t this just the way with kids? You are so sure you are going to breast-feed or bottle feed, (cloth diaper or disposable; sleep train or co-sleep; count to three, use time out, don’t use time out…) or whatever it is you are so sure you are going to do as a parent, and then it turns out your kiddo has a whole different set of needs and agendas. But just as you have adjusted in the first two years or so, you’ll find the right thing with potty training, too.

At some point, you are going to be embarrassed as all get-out by something your child does while potty training. It may be his tendency to drop his drawers in public places, or his sudden use of a word for a certain piece of anatomy that scandalizes a relative. Laugh it off, and quietly and gently coach a more appropriate choice for your child to make for next time.

Is my child ready for potty training?

by Colleen Brunetti, MEd

 Potty training is a huge milestone! Not only does it mean the eventual end to diapers and pull-ups, it means your little baby is taking some figurative steps towards being “so big!” But when is a child ready for potty training?

As is so often the case, the time when children are ready to train has largely to do with just one thing – the children themselves. There is no exact age at which a child is ready to potty train. What does happen, however, is that a child begins to exhibit some signs and signals that they might be ready to start trying to use the potty.

As a general rule of thumb, some children are ready to begin training as early as 18 months, while others will need to wait until they are three or maybe even four. If you have a child with special needs, the window of readiness may differ.

Here are some signs that you can look for to help you decide if your child is ready to potty train.

Interest Level: One of the first signs that your child may be ready to potty train is when they demonstrate an interest in the process. Do they follow you into the bathroom, ask questions or point to the potty, or show other signs of interest?

Language Ability: Many experts say that a sign of readiness has to do with language – can a child communicate by asking questions and can they follow simple directions? While this may be one factor to consider, also remember that if you are using sign language in your home, odds are good that language is going to come sooner than if you had to wait for spoken words!

Does this mean your child who signs will be ready sooner than a child who does not? Maybe, or maybe not. It is certainly something to consider though, especially as sign language can offer such a boost in so many areas. Why not potty training as well?

Physical Development: Children will need to be able to sit long enough to go. Some children indicate they may be ready to train by expressing discomfort over soiled diapers. They may have more predictable times when they go, and they may begin staying dry in their diapers for increased periods of time.

Emotional Development: Children who are ready to potty train may exhibit signs that they are anxious for some independence (“I do it myself!”) However, they should also be in a stage where they are willing and wanting to please you. This means that even if all the other signs are there, but you are going through a stage of the “terrible twos”, or something similar, it may be best to hold off. Starting to potty train when a child is in a stage where they are constantly testing limits may result in frustration for all.

Upcoming Events: If your child is about to have a major life change (new sibling, new daycare, change in family members in the home, etc.) you may also want to wait a bit.

No matter what, remember that all kids end up potty trained eventually! A child may be ready, and then need a break, or take months to train, or train in a weekend. Your first child is likely to train in a completely different way than your next child. Whatever the case – patience, love, and careful observation on your part are the real keys to success.