How to Potty Train - The Five Potty Training Methods

I think the hardest part of any task (including potty training) is figuring out how you are going to do. This article presents the 5 different methods how to potty train your child, it also presents the pros and cons of each potty training method.

5 Potty Training Methods we recommend:

Infant Method:

Infant Potty Training is possible and many parents begin potty training their babies’ only weeks after they are born. Many of the same indications that baby make when they are hungry or tired, they also do when they need to go to the bathroom.

Parents can begin to learn and pick up on these indications within their baby and teach them to potty train at only weeks old. Many parents watch for the signs and they call this elimination communication, as soon as they see these signs, they hold their baby over a toilet or potty immediately to help get them potty trained.

Would like more information, please visit Infant Potty Training Articles.

Pros:

  • Promotes early parent-child bonding
  • Starting early you will finish early
  • Urination and Bowel Movements are not likely to become entrenched habits
  • Limited use of diapers
  • Cost effective
  • Prevents diaper rash
  • Better for the environment
  • More hygienic

Cons:

  • Time consuming
  • Having to be with child 24hrs/day
  • Accidents - Accidents - Accidents

Practice until you get it right:

This really isn't a specific method - more generally introducing potty training. Holding regular practice session where you ask the child to sit and pee.  Rewarding the child for whatever they do. While continually charting progress and gradually transitioning from diapers to "big kid" underwear.

Interested in learning more, please see our full selection of General Potty Training Books.

Pros:

  • This easily fits into today's busy schedule
  • With some planning you can make practice sessions into a routine
  • Is done gradually over time
  • Very limited accidents because you keep the child in diapers

Cons:

  • Takes a lot of time, depending on the child's maturity level and temperament.
  • May not learn to initiate going potty themselves
  • Keeping curious toddler interested while sitting for long periods of time.

Potty Training In One Day Method:

This method is based on basic concept:

Best way to learn is to teach it!

This method has the parent show the child how and why you go potty. By using a potty training doll, the parent will feed the doll water, then have the doll go potty over a potty chair. After the basic concept is taught, the child then will teach the doll themselves how to go potty.

The "One Day" is actually what they call the "Big Day" where you spend  a few hours practicing proper potty training behavior. After this initial "first day" you will spend a few days following staying consistent with accidents.

For more information, please see Potty Training In One Day.

Pros:

  • Quick - This typically can be done in under 2 weeks.
  • Is a structured method
  • This was made famous by Dr. Phil
  • Proven method make by 2 physiologists
  • Originally designed for children with special needs

Cons:

  • Takes planning and preparation
  • Is a structured method
  • Requires follow through by parents
  • Make to look easy

They will go potty when the time is right:

This method is recommended by Dr. Brazelton and is also adopted by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is one of the most common methods used in North America; It also is one of the main reasons American children are some the oldest in the world to be potty trained.

The premise of the method is since potty training is a developmental milestone in your child's life, your task as a parent is to introduce the potty and all the related tasks to your child.

When the child is ready they will decide to use the potty and in effect will train themselves.

For more information on this method, please see Toilet Training: The Brazelton Way or Guide to Toilet Training by American Academy of Pediatrics.

Pros:

  • Very easy do in a busy lifestyle
  • Very little preparation or planning for parents
  • Not a large commitment on time or consistency

Cons:

  • Takes a long time
  • Average age can be up to 4 years old
  • Wetting and soiling themselves can become entrenched habits
  • Expensive - $1000's in disposable diapers

Naked and $75 Method

You let your child go naked all day with a potty chair available at all times. Parents spend 3-5 consecutive days training. And at the end, the $75 is to carpet clean the stains out.

If this is the method for you, please make sure to visit our Potty Accidents Clean Up products.

Pros:

  • Simple
  • No planning or preparation
  • Great during the summer

Cons:

  • Messy - Lots of accidents
  • Not supported by experts
  • Child can become "naked potty trained" and still not understand with clothes on.

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Add Your Comment There are currently 14 comments on this article.
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pee in potty!!! (7/11/2013) Reviewer: Staci (Raceland, ky)

My daughter is 2 years old & she doesn't want to start peeing in the potty . When I go to the bathroom she goes with me, & more she goes with me she still doesnt want to go.

So I got her some pull ups HOPING that would work & it doesn't. She tells me when she pees in her pull up but still I try to get to go potty & she still doesn't wanna go.

What should I do???

Don't Train Too Soon (4/24/2012) Reviewer: Kaye Stover (Crescent City, CA) It's a given that we all want to be over changing and dealing with dirty diapers, but my recommendation is to not start too early. Of course the individual child is the prime consideration. Whether or not you have a new baby and hate changing two sets of diapers-as would be natural-you will save yourself a lot of trouble if you allow your older baby to potty train at his or her own rate. As my mother always said, "I've never known any child of anything approaching 'normal intelligence' to not potty train.
Having lots of issues with potty training (2/23/2012) Reviewer: Victoria (St Catharines, ONT) My son is almost two hates a dirty diaper since birth tried to potty train him for the first time he got all excited and after him ripping his diaper off he broke his leg tripping as he was so excited. Since then he refuses screams when put on the potty. Think the travel potty is a toy. Now he keeps taking his diaper off and peeing on everything in his path plus soiling everywhere and punish him and he just does it over and over again. I am so lost. Now he is taking his brothers diaper off. Can anyone help me in my time of need.
They will go potty when it's time (11/4/2011) Reviewer: Timberly (Bridgport, NY) I don't know what to do!!!! My daughter is 2 years old. We try rewarding her. Didn't work. Tried sitting her on the potty to go. We put a pull up to feel like a big girl. Didn't work She throws fits no matter what we try. what can we do?
Beyond Stressed (10/25/2011) Reviewer: Christye (Chattanooga, Tn) My son is almost 5 years old and still refuses to potty train. I have tried several methods and nothing works..is there a sure fire way to break him so that he can go to school
Desperate and stressed over potty training (7/10/2011) Reviewer: Elizabeth Trejo (manteca, ca) My son will be 4 at the end of November, and is still not potty trained. I have tried numerous things and nothing works. All I get is a yelling and screaming child when I take him to the toilet. He knows when he has to go, because he always hides so I don't see him. He will then ask me to clean him up after he has finished.......Desperate as I may be, I need some serious advice. Potty Training Concepts: When he does have an accident, let him help you clean himself up. He will then start getting tired of cleaning himself up. Try giving him options. Give him an option to wear big boy underwear or training pants. In order for him to wear those, he would have to learn how to be potty trained. He will simply see that this is what big boys and big girls do. Make sure you have a consistant reward system in place.
PLEASE HELP (6/17/2011) Reviewer: Lairsha (Norfolk, VA)

My daughter is 3 years old and she pees on the potty just fine. and she does #2 on the potty but she has been having a lot of #2 accidents on herself. I know she knows how to do it in the potty but she just wont do it. I'm getting worried because she is going to be starting school in the fall ..any suggestions?

Potty Training Concepts Response:

When she does have an accident on herself, let her help you clean herself up. She will eventually get tired of it and want to go the potty. Make sure you have a reward system in place when she does poop on the potty.

Goes potty at School (6/16/2011) Reviewer: Tammy I am having a hard time potty training my son. He is in day care, and goes all day there on the potty, barely has any accidents. But he will not go at home. I do not know how to get him to go. Any suggestions. Potty Training Concepts Response:

He needs a constant routine going. Ask his teachers at his school what they are doing and start doing the same at home. Make sure you reward him when he does go potty.

Naked doesn't work for this baby! (6/15/2011) Reviewer: Valerie (Fleming Island, FL) I am getting desperate...my almost 3 year old boy is hardly interested in using the potty. I have left him naked and yes had to clean up a few pee spots. He is intelligent and healthy. He knows what the potty is. He just doesn't seem to care about using it. He has used the toilet once or twice and was rewarded. I am a multiple business owner and am not home until the evening. I rely on my inlaws during the day.

Potty Training Concepts:

Well you need to spend one weekend or a 3 day weekend where you have potty training practice runs. Taking your child to the potty about 3-4 hours at a time. All he needs is a consistent pattern that needs to be followed and he will get potty training down pact. Just have a reward system and if he does have an accident make sure you let him help clean up.

Naked Training (4/11/2011) Reviewer: dawn (west paris, Maine) My grandson uses the potty all day number one and two but if i put a pair of underwear on him he will pee in them. Could use some help with this part.
Streesed out over potty training (11/16/2010) Reviewer: BabyAllergies.net (Brooklyn, NY) I love these methods. But only when I read them. I don't know how to start to potty train my baby and I am so stressed out over it. I don't think that it will bring any help to the baby's potty training...
naked and $75??? (10/7/2010) Reviewer: lindsay (sioux falls, sd) I also did the naked method and did not have to pay for carpet cleaning! Lets use our heads, we spent a lot of time in the kitchen or where it was easier to clean. We played a lot of games and within a couple days my oldest was trained! My youngest took a little longer (2 weeks) but it happened and no carpet cleaning at all. This method was great!
Naked (9/30/2010) Reviewer: Jess Dorsch (Stafford, VA) We also do the naked method...I in NO way have spent $75 on cleaning...yes there are sometimes accidents BUT that happens no matter how you train. All 5 of my children have been trained before 2.
Naked potty training. (8/28/2010) Reviewer: OK I am from Africa and most of my family and friends potty train their kids (who used to wear diapers) by letting them go naked. The children are used to going in the diaper and all of a sudden there is no diaper, so they want to know where they have to go now... The toilet! They are usually potty trained before the age of two.