How to Potty Train Your Child in Five Hours

By Andromeda Agnew
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Potty training usually takes place when a child is between 2 and 3 years old. As a parent, you may be looking forward to it with some trepidation, fearing weeks of hard work and frustration. Luckily, with some preparation and the right technique, it is possible to potty train a toddler in less than half a day. Although actual training can be accomplished in five hours or less, preparation for potty training can take two weeks or more, while subsequent work to ensure your child uses his potty automatically, without prompting, can take about the same amount of time, depending on the child.

Prepare your child for Potty Training Day for one or two weeks beforehand by talking to him about the toilet. Discuss older siblings or perhaps other children at day care who use the toilet, and ask him whether he would also like to try it. Get him excited about moving on to the next stage toward being a "big kid."

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Allow your child to choose her own "big girl" underwear for after the training is over. If she wears something she loves, she'll be less likely to get it dirty.

Show your child his potty on Potty Training Day and allow him to practice sitting on it a couple of times.

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Take off your child's diaper and all clothes on her bottom half, then place her in a long T-shirt that covers her private parts.

Explain to your child what he should do in the potty. To do this, psychologists such as Dr. Phil McGraw suggest buying and using a doll that "wets" to illustrate for your child how a person goes to the bathroom. Put child's underwear on the doll and have your child give the doll a drink. Make your child take down the doll's underwear and put it on the potty. Once the doll has "peed" in the potty, show what an accomplishment this was by making a happy fuss over the doll.

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Give your child a large glass of water to drink (the more water she has, the sooner she'll need to relieve herself)--explain that she is going to do what the doll did. Take her to the potty every 10 to 15 minutes to begin with; after two hours, take her to the potty every half-hour. When your child uses the potty successfully, celebrate her accomplishment, just as you did with the doll. When she has an accident, stay calm, clean the mess up together and sit her down on the potty to reinforce the association between the potty and going to the bathroom.

Introduce your child to his new, cool "big kid" underwear after five hours. Continue to take him to the toilet regularly, as some kids mistake their underwear for another kind of nappy. Once he has the new potty routine in his mind, relax a little and allow him to make the decision to go to the potty when he needs to use it.