4 Potty Training Methods: Pros, Cons and How-to
Potty training is an essential milestone in a child’s development, but it also requires a lot of patience and flexibility from parents. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to potty training, and parents should use different methods depending on their children’s preferences, personalities, and learning styles.
1. The Traditional Method
The traditional method of potty training encourages caregivers to stay with the child while they sit on the potty and offer praise and rewards for successful attempts. This method is usually recommended for children who are able to follow instructions and understand when their body needs to go.
- Pros: This method teaches children to use the bathroom independently and helps them understand when their body needs to go. It can also foster a bond between the parent and child while they work together to master this important task.
- Cons: This method can be time-consuming and stressful, especially if the child is having a hard time understanding the concept of potty training. It can also lead to frustration on both sides if the child is not making progress.
- How-to: Start by setting a regular potty schedule and introducing the potty to the child. Let your child watch and imitate you while you use the potty. Make sure to stay positive and offer verbal praise and rewards for every successful attempt. Encourage the child to stay on the potty for at least 2-5 minutes at a time.
2. The Readiness Method
The readiness method focuses on the child’s individual behavior to determine when he or she is ready to be potty trained. This method is usually recommended for children who may not be able to comprehend the concept of potty training, or for those who are not responding to the traditional method.
- Pros: This method allows the child to take the initiative and explore the potty on his/her own terms. It also puts less pressure on the child and reduces the stress of potty training.
- Cons: This method may take longer to accomplish, as it is based on the individual child’s readiness. It is also important to make sure that the child is not using the potty as a form of control, and that any rewards are given consistently when appropriate.
- How-to: Introduce the potty to your child and let him or her explore it freely. Observe your child’s reactions and take note of any signs of readiness (e.g. going to the potty on his/her own, asking questions about the potty, etc.). When your child has demonstrated readiness, encourage him/her to use the potty and offer praise and rewards for any successes.
3. The Cold Turkey Method
The cold turkey method is a rapid approach to potty training that involves eliminating diapers altogether. This method is usually reserved for older children between the ages of 2 and 4 who are already in tune with their bodies and are able to take direction well.
- Pros: By taking away diapers and relying solely on potty training, children learn quickly and pick up the process faster. It also reduces the amount of diaper-wearing time and teaches children to associate the potty with a necessity.
- Cons: This method can be overwhelming for the child and may lead to a lot of messes. It can also lead to frustration if it is not done correctly, or if the child is still not ready for potty training.
- How-to: Start by eliminating diapers and providing your child with plenty of positive reinforcement. Eliminate any distractions and redirect your child to the potty whenever necessary. Remain patient and consistent with both positive comments and rewards, and offer prompts and reminders until the child masters the concept.
4. The Accident Method
The accident method is one of the least rigid approaches to potty training, as it encourages parents to allow their children to have accidents and learn from them. This method is suitable for children between the ages of 1 and 3 who are ready to potty train but may still struggle with understanding the concept.
- Pros: This method teaches children to respond to their bodily functions and helps them understand the relationship between the two. It also allows parents to be less intrusive and take a more relaxed approach to potty training.
- Cons: This method can be difficult to enforce, as the child may become reliant on having accidents and may not be motivated to complete the process. Accidents can also lead to stress, frustration, and negative associations with using the potty.
- How-to: Start by providing your child with verbal reminders and cues when you see signs that he or she needs to use the potty (e.g. fidgeting, going to a different area of the house, etc.). Offer your child verbal praise and rewards for successful attempts and be patient with any accidents. Redirect your child to the potty while gently reminding them of the importance of using it correctly.
No matter which potty training method you decide to use, it is important to remain patient and be flexible with your expectations. When in doubt, use a combination of different methods to find the approach that works best for your child and their individual needs. Good luck!