Prepare for the big day by using potty language and playing with a favorite doll to demonstrate what the process will be. Choose a doll with pants that pull up and down. You can use the potty chair or the potty seat, whatever you will be starting your daughter on.
Be very specific in your instructions. For example:
Dolly has to go potty now.
Let’s first pull down her pants.
Then help her sit on the potty and read the potty book.
Let’s clap when she pee-pees.
Help her wipe.
Now pull up her pants.
Help flush (or empty) the potty.
Time to wash hands.
Now she gets a sticker (or the reward you have chosen, which could be a great, big hug).
Have your child repeat the scenario back to you.
How to Dress
No clothes or easily removed clothes make learning easier. If your home is warm enough, on “potty training day”, let her walk around without any bottoms on. Wearing dresses works well. Expect there will be some accidents but she will also get the feeling of urine running down her legs and making a mess on the floor. Wipe it up together and let her know that she will do better next time.
Have her sit on the potty every hour and drink plenty of fluids. If you (or she) prefer clothing, choose baggy bottoms that are easy to pull up and down. You will need a lot of these, so start with a supply of 10 or so padded underwear. Allow her to take her time getting her underwear in place and resist the urge to do it for her. This is part of the toilet training process and she doesn’t have to be perfect.
Teaching the Whole Process
There is more to toilet training than urinating in the toilet. From anticipating the need to urinate to finishing up by washing hands, there are many steps along the way. Do not expect that your daughter will automatically know what to do. When your daughter begins to be interested in imitating you, bring her into the bathroom when you go, and talk her through what you do when you go potty.
In the beginning, the steps of sitting on the potty, wiping, flushing and washing hands can be carried out even if no urine comes out in the potty. Praise her for doing these things correctly. Her self-esteem will rise as she conquers these steps that don’t require the brain-bladder connection that releasing urine into a potty takes.
Rewards and Praise
Meaningful rewards are so different from child to child. You will have to decide what your child will value most. It could be something as silly as mommy or daddy doing a “silly potty dance”, receiving a big bear hug, or stickers on a chart. One little girl was rewarded by getting to wear her sparkly shoes in the house.
Reward completing the different steps, not just urine in the toilet. Rewards can be given for:
Telling parents she needs to go
Sitting on potty
Washing and drying hands
Pulling pants up and down
Urine or stool in the potty can be an additional or special reward. Kids love praise from their parents, so feel free to over-do it!
Potty Training Princess
Going out and buying special pretty underwear can take place as an incentive or as a reward after mastery. Let your daughter pick the ones she likes best. Make sure daddy and grandparents can admire the new “big girl” pants. There are even cartoon and princess themed potty seats that make her feel like a princess on her throne. You can make a tiara out of foil and cardboard to complete the theme. Know that there will be accidents along the way, but once she can put most of her urine in the toilet, you can celebrate success.