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Mommy Guide: Potty Training Tips

Most parents eagerly anticipate toilet training as a milestone in their child's development – if for no other reason than that it means an end to changing diapers.

Before starting toilet training, look for signs your toddler is ready. You and your child have a better chance of success if you understand the important elements of training before you start. Here are some tips to help you out:

When children are about a year old, they can begin to recognize that they have a full rectum or bladder. Some are ready to start potty training as early as 18 months, while others aren't interested until after age 3. Many parents begin potty training when their children are about 2 1/2.

First and foremost, invest in a child-size potty chair. This can make children feel less anxious about using the grown-up toilet – some fear falling into it, while others dislike the loud noise of the flush. If you're buying a potty chair, we recommend getting *Baby Comfort's Baby Potty Toilet Training Seat*

Set your child on the potty seat, fully clothed, once a day – after breakfast, before her bath, or whenever else she's likely to have a bowel movement. This helps her get used to the potty and accept it as part of her routine. Once she's fine with this routine, have her sit on the potty bare-bottomed.

If sitting on the potty with or without clothes is upsetting to your child, don't push it. Never restrain her or physically force her to sit there, especially if she seems scared.

Children learn by imitation, and watching you use the bathroom is a natural way to understand what using the toilet is all about. 

Show your child the connection between pooping and the toilet. The next time she poops in her diaper, take her to the potty, sit her down, and empty the diaper into the bowl.

Encourage your child to sit on the potty whenever he feels the urge to go. If he needs help getting there and taking off his diaper, make sure he knows it's okay to ask you any time.

Toilet training can be difficult for parents and children. Keep in mind that temporary setbacks are completely normal, and virtually every child will have several accidents before being able to stay dry all day long. An accident doesn't mean that you've failed. When it happens, don't get angry or punish your child. Mastering the process will take time.

Before embarking on night training, keep your child in a diaper or pull-up at bed time, but encourage her to use the potty if she has to pee or poop during the night. Tell her that if she wakes up in the middle of the night needing to go, she can call you for help. You can also try putting her potty near her bed so she can use it right there.

When it's over, reinforce his pride in his achievement by letting him give away leftover diapers to a family with younger kids, or help you pack up the cloth diapers and send them away with the diaper delivery service one last time.

And don't forget to pat yourself on the back. Now you won't have to think about diapers ever again – for this child, anyway!