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How to Help Your Partner Potty Train His/Her Child

Updated on February 23, 2013

So, the little person in your life is ready to quit diapers and start using a potty? You're probably wondering what you can do to help them out on their bathroom journey.

Everybody involved in the life of a child can help play a part in potty training, not just the parents. Grandparents, nannies, babysitters and partners of parents can all do their bit. If you are one of those people, it will help if you understand the process of introducing a potty to a child.

When to Start Potty Training

There is no right time to start potty training. It is different for everyone. Most children are ready to give it a go between the ages of two and three. In the 1940s, the average age for potty training was about 18 months in the US. These days, it's higher, probably because experts caution against putting pressure on little ones to get down to business. Doctors suggest that it is best not to push a child to start using a potty at a very early age. They should only start when they are ready.

Watch out for the signs that a child is ready for potty training. The child might say that their nappy needs to be changed. The child might show an interest when other people go to the toilet. The child might go quiet when they are need the toilet, showing that they are becoming aware of their bodily functions.

Introducing Potties

Introducing the idea of a potty is the first thing. Put a potty in the bathroom so that the child can see it and naturally become curious about what it is for.

There are picture books available which can introduce the idea of potties to the child. Boys Potty Time is a fun book with a potty-shaped cover (a version for girls is also available). Using rhymes and pictures, the book teaches children how to use a potty. It also comes with some reward stickers. My boy also enjoyed Pirate Pete's Potty, an everyday tale of a boy pirate and his high-sea bathroom adventures. A similar tale involving Princess Polly is also available.

Potty Training Tips

  • Use stickers. Every little successful trip to the potty is an achievement which should be rewarded. Kids love stickers. Reward them with a sticker every time they do a job of their doing their little job. There's a great set of stickers you can buy for girls which also includes a wall chart and potty training certificate.
  • Buy some fun underwear. Get the child excited about giving up diapers by getting them some fun new clothes to wear.
  • Positive encouragement works. Congratulate the child whenever they say that they are ready to go to the bathroom. Your support will be a big help during the whole potty training process. Getting them to actively say that they need to go to the bathroom is important.
  • Make potty time fun. While the little one is sitting on the potty, they can look at bath books, play with small toys or even draw pictures. Stay in the room with them and use appropriate toys.
  • Stay calm. Remember that potty training can be frustrating. The whole thing can be pretty traumatic for a child. It's a big deal. It's important to be very patient with a child who is going through this
  • Be aware that accidents happen. Try not to show your frustration when they do. Don't punish them or get angry with them if they make a mess on clothes or furniture. Remember this is a process and these things take time.

Training a Little One to Use a Potty

Girls usually potty train before boys. The reasons why aren't entirely clear. They just tend to be developmentally ready sooner. Whatever the sex though, it is important that you wait until the child is ready before you attempt to potty train.

A little one is unlikely to be ready much younger than the age of two. If they don't seem ready, don't force them. These things take time.

Sometimes they will have accidents. Be prepared for that. Patience and a positive attitude are two qualities you will need to help potty train a child.


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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Nicely done Sundaybest. Certainly a subject everyone faces at one time or another ;) My children were all potty trained by two but things changed with my grandchildren, they were potty trained between the ages of three and four.

      It can be difficult and frustrating but the thing parents need to remember is, when they're ready, they will use the potty!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      stickers might be fun to help a child to anticipate potty when the time is right. Love your potty training tips. Voted useful