Questions About Potty Training Your Preschooler?

Experts weigh in on how to potty train your preschooler

There are several advantages to potty training your child before they attend preschool, from the rising cost of diapers to the extra fees for those in diapers at preschools. Potty training your preschool is not an easy task. If you have questions on how to potty train your preschooler, read the following approaches from the experts:


Pick a peaceful time: “If the preschooler has just started something new (a new bed, weaning), or if you have too many new things going on at once (new preschool, new baby), it’s not the best time to start,” Ancowitz says. Wait until life is calm, not chaotic. Riolo knows that Amanda is highly temperature-sensitive, especially when it comes to bare butts. “I knew I couldn’t do it over the winter with her; I had to do it in the summer,” she says.


Ditch the diapers: Stubbornness, not readiness, is often the issue after age and preschoolers are simply in the habit of going in their diapers whenever they want to. Because he needs to be able to feel when he’s wet his pants, put your preschooler in underpants instead of disposable training pants. Just resign yourself to the fact that it’s going to be messy for a while. Even if your child doesn’t seem to mind sitting in wet or dirty pants, switch him to clean ones as quickly as possible so he learns to prefer dryness.


Stick to a routine: Schedule potty breaks for certain times of the day: as soon as your preschooler wakes up, after lunch, before a nap – even every hour, if necessary. Always encourage her to go before leaving the house.


Be committed: “Once you go down the path, you’ve just got to stay the course,” Riolo says. “Even if you feel you want to go back to diapers or pull-ups, you have to get it in your head that you can’t. They will get better.”


Give your child more control: “Tell her, ‘Your job is to learn to use the toilet, and my job is to help you learn to do that,’” says Faull, who’s also the author of Mommy I Have to Go Potty! Remind your preschooler of the positive steps that she has taken so far (“I saw you pull down your underpants and sit on the potty – good for you!”), and encourage her to take the next steps (“One day, you’ll actually be able to pee and poop in the potty too”).


Choose the right words:  If you ask, “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” your child will probably answer no. Instead say, “Let’s try to use the potty now.” If she protests, say, “It’s okay if you don’t have to go, but I’d like you to practice going in the toilet.”


Offer small rewards: You might put a penny in the piggy bank or let your child choose a sticker to put on the calendar every time she uses the potty. Riolo used a sticker chart – each time her kids accumulated a certain number of stickers, they got to go pick out a new toy. In addition to being an incentive on its own, this type of routine shows your child that you realize toilet-teaching takes time.


Be patient: “When your child has an accident in his underwear, getting mad doesn’t help,” Faull says. Clean him up, and then put him on the toilet. You might say, “Next time, listen to your body. Maybe you’ll get to the potty in time.”


If her daughter has an accident, Riolo calmly talks her through the process: “Where do your tinkles and poopies go? What are the consequences now — we have to go upstairs, get you cleaned up, clean up your clothes, and you have to lose time away from the game we were having so much fun with,” she says. Riolo also sometimes asks her daughter to help clean their own Disney panties. “I’ll say, ‘Belle (or Cinderella) doesn’t like to get all dirty.” In the end, Ancowitz says you must remind yourself: “You’re not going to be the only mother in the world who can’t do this.”


Freelance journalist Diane Benson Harrington’s first son wasn’t potty-trained until he was 4. She finally bribed with him with his toy of choice – roller-blading Barbie – to get the job done.

Here is some more advice from experts!