046: How to potty train a child

capture (1)

When should I start potty training?  What books should I read?  Can I do it in a day (or a week)?  Do I need stickers (for rewards)?  Does it have to be stressful?

I get these kinds of questions pretty often, and I’d resisted doing an episode on potty training because there are so many books on it already, and everyone has their opinion, and I really didn’t want to wade into it.  But ya’ll kept asking and my resolve has finally crumbled, so today we’re going to talk all about what the research says, what the books say, and how there’s essentially no correlation between the books and the research.  We’ll review the “do it in a day!” methods and what makes them successful, and we’ll also look at child-led methods.  You’ll leave this episode with a clear picture of which is probably going to work best for you, and some concrete tools you can put to work (today, if you need to!) to start what I prefer to call the “toilet learning” process.


Other episodes references in this show
021: Talk Sex Today
009: Do you punish your child with rewards?
020: How do I get my child to do what I want them to do? (Unconditional parenting)
042: Manners


Au, S. &; Stavinoha, P.L. (2008). Stress-free potty training: A commonsense guide to finding the right approach for your child. New York, NY: AMACOM.
Barone, J.G., Jasutkar, N., & Schneider, D. (2009). Later toilet training is associated with urge incontinence in children. Journal of Pediatric Urology 5, 458-461.
Benjusuwantep, B., & Ruangdaraganon, N. (2011). Infant toilet training in Thailand: Starting and completion age and factors determining them. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand 94(12), 1441-1446.

Blum, N.J., Taubman, B., & Nemeth, N. (2003). Relationship between age at initiation of toilet training and duration of training: A prospective study. Pediatrics 111(4), 810-814.
Butler, J.F. (The toilet training success of parents after reading Toilet Training In Less Than A Day. Behavior Therapy 7, 185-191.
Duong, T.H., Jansson, U-B., & Hellstrom, A-L. (2013). Vietnamese mothers’ experiences with potty training procedure for children from birth to 2 years of age. Journal of Pediatric Urology 9, 808-814.
Fertleman, C., & Cave, S. (2011). Potty training girls the easy way: A stress-free guide to helping your daughter learn quickly. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo.
Fertleman, C. & Cave, S. (2009). Potty training boys the easy way: Helping your son learn quickly – even if he’s a late starter. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo.
Gerber, M. (2002). Dear parent: Caring for infants with respect (2 nd Ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Resources for Infant Educarers.
Glowacki, J. (2015). Oh, crap! Potty training: Everything modern parents need to know to do it once and do it right. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Goode, E. (1999, January 12). Two experts do battle over potty training. The New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/01/12/us/two-experts- do-battle- over-potty- training.html
Gross-Loh, C. (2007). The diaper-free baby: The natural toilet training alternative. New York, NY: William Morrow.
Horn, I.B., Brenner, R., Rao, M., & Cheng, T.L. (2006). Beliefs about the appropriate age for initiating toilet training: Are there racial and socioeconomic differences? Journal of Pediatrics 149, 165-168.
Kaerts, N., Van Hal, G., Vermandel, A., & Wyndaele, J-J. (2012). Readiness signs used to define the proper moment to start toilet training: A review of the literature. Neurology and Urodynamics 31, 437-440.
Kimball, V. (2016). The perils and pitfalls of potty training. Pediatric Annals 45(6), 199-201.
Koc, I., Camurdan, A.D., Beyazova, U., Ilhan, M.N., & Sahin, F. (2008). Toilet training in Turkey: The factors that affect timing and duration in different sociocultural groups. Child: Care, Health and Development 34(4), 475-481.
Martin, J.A., King, D.R., Maccoby, E.E., & Jacklin, C.N. (1984). Secular trends and individual differences in toilet-training progress. Journal of Pediatric Psychology 9(4), 457-468.
Matson, J.L., & Ollendick, T.H. (1977). Issues in toilet training normal children. Behavior Theraly 8, 549-553.
Shaikh, N. (2004). Time to get on the potty: Are constipation and toileting refusal causing delayed toilet training? Journal of Pediatrics 145, 12-13.
Taubman, B. (1997). Toilet training and toileting refusal for stool only: A prospective study. Pediatrics 99(1), 54-58.

Vermadel, A., Van Kamepn, M., Van Gorp, C., & Wyndaele, J-J. (2008). How to toilet train healthy children? A review of the literature. Neurology & Urodynamics 27, 162-166.


Leave a Comment