How to Potty-Train Your Toddler

2. Let your child take the lead. You’ve made the introduction to the potty, but beyond that, you can’t force the issue. Don’t sweat it. “Children will move forward and want to train for the same reason they grab a spoon and feed themselves,” says Lerner. Joshua D. Sparrow, M.D., co-author with T. Berry Brazelton of Toilet Training: the Brazelton Way (De Capo Press, 2004) concurs: “Children are motivated to potty-train because, particularly between age 2 and 3, they are eagerly involved with learning from you and wanting to be just like you. So there’s a lot of pressure that comes from within them already.”

Let your toddler familiarize herself with her new potty seat, and when she makes a move to use it, take it for what it most likely is: a good fi rst step. (Younger children can sometimes just as suddenly object to using it.) Help her along by keeping a few books near the potty for her to read, sing songs and turn on the faucet—a simple trick that can prod her to go.

3. Curb your enthusiasm.
If bathroom walls could talk, parents (myself included) would be pretty embarrassed that others could hear the praise we pour on our kids, all for…urinating in a toilet. “When they do go for the fi rst time, try not to move into cheerleading such as ‘Yay!’ or ‘Good job!’” advises Sparrow. “There’s a difference between ‘I’m proud of you’ and ‘This is an accomplishment you can be proud of.’” The more her motivation comes from within herself, the more likely she is to have success.