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Getting to Know the Potty

As many a parent has discovered, the act of buying and installing a potty doesn’t mean your child will use it. In most cases, the association between the potty and elimination must be reinforced again and again before your child starts to catch on to the idea.

Remind her frequently (but not so often that she begins to resist) that “this is where you can put your own poop and pee, just like Mommy does on her potty.” Encourage her to spend time sitting on it while looking at books or playing with toys. Allow her to stay fully clothed at first if that’s how she feels most comfortable.

If you see her squatting, getting red-faced, or otherwise signaling a need to have a bowel movement, suggest that she poop while sitting on the potty in her diaper. If she has a bowel movement in this way, you can then remove her diaper and let her “help” you move the stool from diaper to potty—thus strengthening the connection in her mind.

Children who are in a “no-clothes” phase, quite common among toddlers and preschoolers, can sit naked on the potty and experience this association more directly.

Last Updated
Guide to Toilet Training (Copyright © 2003 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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