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No more diapers!


Potty training is an inevitable part of childhood. However, that does not mean it's easy! Potty training varies with every child. There is no miracle method! The goodwill of adults involved is not enough, children are the only ones who can make the decision whether they are ready to be potty trained or not. Children must be physiologically and psychologically ready. Certain signs may tell us a child is ready. Responding to these signs will make intervening directly with the child easier. When a child shows only a few signs, it is possible to intervene indirectly to attempt to awaken the desire of pursuing potty training further, without pressuring the child. It is important to keep in mind that each child is unique and evolves at his own pace. Potty training greatly depends on a child's willingness but he needs adult support and encouragement. Here are a few ways you may help a child reach potty training success.


Signs which may indicate a child is mature enough to begin potty training:

  • His diaper remains dry for more than two consecutive hours.
  • He knows when his diaper is wet.
  • He wants to remove his diaper and wear underwear.
  • He can pull down his pants.
  • He enjoys imitating adults going to the bathroom.
  • He goes up and down stairs without holding the railing.
  • He can name his body parts.
  • He can voice his needs.
  • He understands what is to be done in the potty or toilet.
  • He is motivated to learn.

Indirect interventions:

  • Add several potty training books to your reading corner. To avoid imposing the theme upon children, be sure to include several books about other subjects too. During story time, you may choose to read a potty training story and invite children to discuss the subject.

  • Leave a small potty and dolls in your role play area. Children will explore the new tool. They enjoy representing real life situations through play. This encourages them and allows them to evacuate stress they may have regarding the situation.

  • Once children are able to dress and undress themselves, it is much easier for them to go the bathroom. They can go as soon as they feel the need, without having to ask an adult for help. To help children master this skill, you may sew buttons and zippers onto a cushion. While having fun, children will develop abilities required to dress and undress. Provide a variety of doll clothing in your role play area. At first, they will need your help but they will quickly develop tricks and be one step closer to autonomy.

  • Decorate your bathroom so it appeals to little ones: posters or mobiles with their favourite characters for example. Vary your decor regularly so children remain interested. When a room looks the same for too long, we no longer pay attention. You may even decorate the toilet with stickers or eyes, a nose, and a mouth. When children begin using the toilet they are somewhat shy and intimidated by the newness of the situation. Make the bathroom an intimate corner. You may choose to separate the toilet from the potty with a shower curtain or a partition of some sort.

Direct interventions:

  • Draw the steps involved when going to the bathroom: pulling down our pants and our underwear, sitting on the toilet, wiping, flushing, washing our hands, etc. Visual reference points are appreciated by children and help them feel in control. Accompany children when they go to the bathroom and explain each step.

  • You may also present the various steps with a song. Use your imagination!

  • In or near your bathroom, you may set up a large picture puzzle. You may also have several, one for each child. Hide the picture with cardboard pieces. After using the bathroom, children get to remove one puzzle piece and progressively discover the picture.

  • Remember to encourage children and make them realize how comfortable it is to stay dry and clean.



Sonia Leclerc

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