According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, it can take 3 to 6 months to toilet train your child during the daytime, but popular techniques, such as Julie Fellom’s Diaper Free Toddlers Program, suggest parents can have a potty-trained child in much less time. The key to successful potty training is to make sure your child is ready and let potty training receive intense attention for one week, followed by a period of reinforcement.
Is Your Child Ready?
Before you begin potty training, you need to determine that your child is ready. When your child signals that his diaper is wet, does not enjoy sitting in a dirty diaper, stays dry for 2 hours or longer during the day, poops in his diaper around the same time each day or shows interest in using the potty, he is displaying signs of readiness. Children who are able to follow simple directions and can pull their pants up and down are also likely ready for potty training; most children around 18 to 24 months are ready.
Before you start your week of intense potty training, you should take a week to prepare your child for it. Show him a stack of diapers and tell him that starting next week, he will not need to use them anymore; since most kids love to be naked, present this information in an excited way and let your child know he gets to be naked and without diapers. Put a potty chair in the room in which your child spends the most time; let him explore the chair to prevent him playing with it when he is training. Show your child the chair and let him sit on it both fully clothed and without pants. Stock up on cleaning rags to prepare for accidents. Let your child see you use the toilet and all the components of the process, including pulling down your pants, sitting, toileting, wiping, pulling up your pants, flushing and washing your hands. Do a “potty dance” or give high fives to show toileting successfully is something to celebrate.
Fellom’s method is perhaps the most popular of quick potty training methods, and it does require some dedication to keep your child naked below the waist. When you see your child showing signs that he is toileting, bring him to the nearest potty immediately. Give your child plenty of water to drink to ensure he needs to pee, and give praise anytime he gets anything in the toilet. Stay with your child while he is on the potty and read or talk to him to help him relax. If your child has an accident, tell him that it is okay but remind him that poop and pee go in the toilet. Request that your child use the toilet at the same time each day, such as before a nap or after dinner. Continue this process for the week, and if your child must leave the house, put on loose fitting pants but without underwear.
Your child might not be “perfectly” potty trained by the end of the week; your child might still have accidents, but he should be using the toilet rather than diapers. The Diaper Free Toddlers method does require you to leave your child naked below the waist for the first three months of potty training, so while the initial potty training happens over a weekend, you need a few months afterward to reinforce toileting skills and help your child use the toilet independently and comfortably. After a few months with no accidents, your child can use underpants. If your week of intense toilet training doesn’t do the trick, try again in six to eight weeks.