Using Signs in Potty Training

By Sue Rouillard, MEd

You’re almost there. You’ve been watching and your child is exhibiting many of the signs they are ready to begin potty training. You’re getting excited because you’re looking forward to no more diapers! Yeah!! Hold on a minute, it’s not usually that quick and easy. However, using signs along with training just might pick up the pace.

Rachel signs "Potty"

Potty Time host Rachel Coleman demonstrates the POTTY sign.

First, start using the sign for POTTY (sign the letter ‘T’ and shake it – see photo on right), every time you change the diaper. Toddlers love shaking that potty sign at you to tell you they’ve already wet. You can also use the “potty” sign when your toddler follows you into the bathroom and sees you go.

Next, think of the routine; how is this all going to go down? (no pun intended) Consistency is key in learning any new skill.  Learn the signs for POTTY, WAIT, WIPE, FLUSH, WASH, and YEAH (or CELEBRATE). These are the six steps toward independence! Your local Signing Time Instructor can help you with these signs.

  1. Shake that ‘T’ and ask: “Do you have to go POTTY?”  Ok, let’s go!
  2. Once your little sweetheart is sitting on the toilet, he or she is probably going to want to get up after 10 seconds or so. Sign WAIT and then choose a song or poem to recite. When the song or poem is done, then they can get down. I always use the Alphabet Song and sign while I’m singing. Now they’re learning letters, too!
  3. Once the song is done, sign WIPE and show him how to wipe.
  4.  Have him pull up his britches, sign FLUSH and let him flush and watch the water whirl around.
  5. Now sign WASH HANDS and head for the sink.
  6. Now cheer and sign YEAH!

Repeat this sequence each and every time. Can you add more signs to the routine? Absolutely! I usually sign DIAPER, UP, DOWN, SOAP and DRY HANDS” but these are not necessary to have success.  You may find some other signs your child really likes to use during the process.

Now that you are armed and ready with a great, easy to do sign language routine to help in potty training, go for it! Good luck!!

Learn all the signs highlighted in this article in the
Potty Time Video! Plus get ebooks to read and a downloadable ebook guide with potty training tips from experts.


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