Potty Training Methods | Complete guide

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After learning about the timings the next step is to learn about the potty training methods.

In this article, we will discuss all the major methods of the process and which method is suitable for a certain age.

Some methods use the “initiation” from the parents while some use the child-led approach but the following things will remain the same for all the methods.

  • All the methods will use the approach of love and affection.
  • Praises and rewards will become the base for success.
  • Even if the method is parent-led, still we will give priority to the child’s wants and needs.
  • Health and safety guidelines will be followed with every method.

(There are several methods introduced by different people but for ease of understanding we will focus on the methods rather than the writers.)

Potty Training
Method
Best AgeShould
be
used?
Read full
Details here
1-Infant toilet
training
0-1 yearNoDetails
2-Child-led
approach
2-3 yearsYesDetails
3-Parent-led
approach
2-3 yearsBestDetails
4-Bare-Bottom
approach
at least
2.5 years
BestDetails
5-3-days
training
1.5-4 yearsYesDetails

1- Infant Potty Training:

For the people living in countries where the use of diapers is normal, Infant toilet training seems impossible.

But the reality is that in most underdeveloped countries where diapers are not affordable, infant toilet training is quite normal. In some other countries, even the people can afford diapers, they still toilet train an infant because it’s just a tradition.

As the name suggests, infant training starts at the age of infancy i.e. 0 months to around 1 year of age. It means the baby remains diaper-free from the first day of her life.

Process:

Infant toilet training isn’t actually training because of the fact that the infant can’t walk and go to the toilet on her own. She will still need a parent to help her out.

Instead of packing the baby in a diaper, the parent (usually the mother) learns about the baby’s signals of when she wants to pee or poo. These signals can be timings or patterns or the sounds a baby makes.

The parent learns about the signals and immediately takes the child to an infant toilet that is usually an outdoor latrine. The child will be bare-bottomed and the parent will give a signal to the infant to do the deed.

The signal is usually a sound, like “piss piss piss”. With time the infant learns the signal and holds the pee until she gets the signal.

It’s all about understanding the signals:

It’s all about understanding the signals. The parent needs to understand the signal of the baby and the baby needs to understand the parent’s signal.

The process is a continuous process till at least 1 year of age or whenever she develops enough skills to walk and use the toilet on her own.

ProsCons
Saves lots of money on diapers and related productsThe child still not be able to have full control of the bladder so accidents may happen
Earth says thanks because of not throwing a lot of non-biodegradable wasteThe parent needs to pay attention 24/7
Almost no rashes and risk of infectionsA lot of mess is expected
Chance of developing a strong bond between parents and childrenIf the child tries to control the bladder, she may put a lot of pressure on little muscles and this may cause a risk of UTI, kidney damage, or other such issues
Not enough evidence of strong bonding between parents and children

When you can choose this method?

I strongly resist this method of potty training. There are only a few factors when you can choose this method.

  • You have a strong need to save diaper money.
  • When you have no other things to pay a lot of attention to. Of course! The child will be needing 24/7 attention.
  • If you are not bothered by the accidents.

Go back to the table.


2- Child-led potty training method:

As the name suggests, this approach depends upon the wants of the child.

Of course! You will start the process when your child will show the signs that she is ready to be trained, but still, the parent will first try to develop the interest of the kid.

Process:

In the process of the child-led potty training method, you have to take the kid to the potty seat several times a day and frequently ask her if she wants to use the toilet on her own.

The parent will take the child to the Potty seat, remove the diaper and encourage her to pee in the pot. You have to try several times until the child agrees to do so.

With time she will understand the need to go to the toilet and you will find empty diapers more often.

The process will seem to be successful when the kid will ask to go to the toilet instead of peeing in the diaper.

Pros:Cons:
The process is very child-friendly, You are very less likely to face any regression.The process is very long, It may take up to a year to completely potty train your child
You do not need enough time to focus only on the potty training of the kid.You will have to spend a lot on diapers than other methods of potty training.
The process is gradual and smooth.

When you can choose this method?

You can choose this method of toilet training when you have enough time and you are not in a rush to train your child. And you have enough money to spend on the diapers.

Go back to the table.


3- Parent-led potty training  

This approach is also called Gradual toilet training. This is because of the fact that the parents initiate the process with a properly set schedule. The process is gradual and takes time.

The child doesn’t become completely diaper-free. The training continues for months.

Process:

With this approach, the parents will start to plan, even before months of actually starting the training.

Step 1– Familiarity with the seat:

In this process, you have to let your child choose a potty seat and place that in your child’s access. Let your child sit on it with clothes and diapers, (without actually urinating). The child will develop a familiarity with the seat.

Step 2– Getting comfortable

Then gradually start the process. Only a few times a day, encourage your child to pee on the seat. If she does, that is great.

Praise and reward her for what she just did. Even if she doesn’t, you still have to praise her for trying.

Step 3– Diaper-free time

When the child becomes comfortable with peeing on the seat, this is the time for her to become diaper-free.

Here start the runs to the toilet. You can take her to the toilet after fixed intervals or whenever she shows the need to go. When a few runs become successful, this is the time to take the next step.

Step 4– Runs turns into instructions

Now, your child knows how to go to the seat and what is the time to run towards the pot.

You can convert the runs into instructions. Whenever, she needs to go to the toilet, instead of running with her, you just need to instruct her to go.

Tips to make the process even more successful:

  • Don’t forget to praise and reward.
  • Increase fluid consumption to encourage visits to the potty seat.
  • Use more than 1 seat, preferably of different colors and shapes, to make the child excited to go to the toilet.
  • Make sure to dress her in clothes that are easy to pull down and up.
  • Praise your child’s cooperation
  • Have patience! The process may take up to 6 months to completely train a child to use the toilet.
ProsCons
The process is gradual and smoothTakes a lot of time
Encourages the child to take a decisionThe child may not take the process seriously.
No need to change the schedule

When you can choose this method?

This method is considered the best. You can choose this method when your child shows the signal that she’s ready to be trained.

This method is suitable for you if you are consistent have a fixed schedule and you are not in a rush to train the child.

Go back to the table.


4- Bare-Bottom method

The bare bottom method is sometimes referred to as the “Diaper-free” or “pants-free” method. This method is best suited to toddlers of at least age 2.5 years old because at this age the children have had many trips to the bathroom with the parents and are able to understand the need to potty.

The method is based on the fact that the kid won’t like the pee or poo to run through the legs.

He/she will feel disgusted and with time he/she will start understanding him/her body signals to go to the toilet. With time he/she will learn to use the toilet seat.

Process:

In this method, you have to plan ahead and fix a specific time frame of the day. You better choose a very easy to clean place, such as a backyard or car porch because you are going to have so many accidents. Follow this simple process which I have broken down in steps:

Step 1 – Getting Ready:

Set a time frame such as a week with no other chores and no other trips to the grocery store.

Make sure that no guests are coming on the weekend and you don’t have to attend any wedding either.

Gather the important supplies such as a long T-shirt to cover the private parts, single or multiple potty seats of your child’s choice, and a place where the child will spend time without any pants.

The most important part of getting ready is to have open communication with the child.

Talk to him/her about your planning and let him/her choose the favorite potty seat.

Let him/her know the things he/she is going to follow in the next few days.

A ready child will make the process easier.

Step 2– Start the training:

When everything is ready including the child then this is the time to start the training.

Go to that fixed place for the fixed time frame i.e. for 2 hours or 3 hours. Make sure the time frame is a minimum of 2 hours. Let your child remain without diapers and pants for that time and tell her that she should sit on this seat when she needs to pee.


In the beginning, you are more likely to face accidents. All you have to do is have patience and tell the child how disgusting it is to pee on your own legs.

After every accident, you have to show the “yuck” expressions and engage the child in cleaning, if possible.


With time you will see that the child is learning about her body signals to pee and running towards the potty seat, with every signal.

Step 2– Introducing loose pants:

After a few days of practicing, you will see that number of accidents are reduced to almost zero.

This is the time to introduce loose pants. Teach your child to pull the pants down and pull up back when he/she is done.

Step 3– Increase the time

Then gradually increase the timing of the training.

Extend the 2 hours to up to 6 hours. You don’t have to sit sparely in this time. You can do any other activity and sometimes you can also leave the child alone (but supervised), it will boost his/her confidence.

Step 4– Take the child inside

When you see that the child is fully trained to pull the pants up and down and there are no more accidents happening, you can now take the child inside the house (i.e. places other than the fixed ones).

But make sure that the potty seat remains near to the child.

Step 5– Put on the diaper at night

In this potty training method, you don’t have to work hard 24/7. You can pack the child in the diaper at night and start night training later on.

Congratulations! Your child is almost trained to use the potty seat but you should let her wear a diaper when going out or at other times when the potty seats are not available.

Gradually show her the way to the restroom and train her to go there instead of using the potty seat.

prosCons
The method is so gradual and smooth.The process may take a lot of time.
You don’t have to do a lot of hard work.
This potty training method doesn’t cause a mess
as compared to the other methods.
The method puts very less pressure on the child’s mind.
You can take a trip to the store or any other place
at night or when you are not training your child

When you can use this method?

You can use this potty training method when you don’t have any rush and you have enough time to spare everyday.

Go back to the table.


5- 3-days-potty training method

This method of potty training is also called as “fast track method” or “the train in days method”. Most parents consider this method at first because it is quick and the hard work of 3 days can benefit so many years.

This method can be used when the child is at least 20 months old and he/she is able to understand the instructions.

Process:

Fast track potty training method is the extended version of the bare-bottom method.

What you have to do is to gather all the necessary supplies and mentally prepare your child. Throw your child’s diapers in front of her and say that we are not wearing them anymore.     

Then follow the bare-bottom technique 24/7. Let your child be diaper-free every time and be prepared for a lot, I mean A LOT of accidents.

Have patience:

Don’t lose patience and use every accident as a new chance to teach the child to use the toilet.

A lot of pants should be available and don’t let your child keep wearing dirty pants because if you will do so, there are chances that the baby will start becoming easy on being dirty and will not run to the potty seat.

A lot of rewards should also be prepared and don’t forget to praise and give rewards with every successful attempt.

By the third day, with this method, your child is most likely to be potty trained.

ProsCons
The method is quick, the child will be trained within days.Requires a lot of hard work.
Lots of parents consider this method.Put the family schedule on hold.
Professional help is also available for this method.A lot of help from other family members is needed
Puts a lot of pressure on the kid’s mind.

When you can choose this method?

The method is suitable when the parents are not ready to spend a lot of time on the training. when you need professional help, this method is one of the favorites of professionals.

The 3-days-potty training method is suitable when the child needs quick training because he/she will be going to school in a few days.

Go back to the table.


My favorite method:

There are a lot of methods discussed above and everyone can choose the method which suits their lifestyle.

But when it comes to my choice. I like the combination of the parent-let approach and the bare bottom approach.

Because these techniques are gradual and easy on the child’s mind. This method doesn’t cause a lot of mess and you can save carpets and other sensitive furniture at home from the pee-pee!

I hope you have found the above information helpful. If so, read more articles on my website, and don’t forget to share with other mothers who might be interested in the information.

More of your interest:

Read the Potty training series:

1- Why you should potty train your child immediately?

2- When to Start Potty Training? | Read in detail

3- Potty training Methods | Best method by age

4- Potty training tips | 30+ points to keep in mind

5- Potty Training Essentials | Must-Have Things

or find my latest blog posts here

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