Potty coaching strategies and strategies

Doing analysis on potty coaching strategies? This text describes the most important strategies and (the place such info is accessible) opinions the scientific proof in favor of every one.

As you’ll see beneath, some approaches depend upon parent-led observe runs. Others depend on child-initiated trial-and-error. However all fashionable strategies share a number of essential factors:

  • all strategies use reward and affection;
  • all strategies are suitable with utilizing rewards (or instance, giving your youngster a sticker for every profitable use of the potty);
  • not one of the strategies use punishment (consultants warn that is detrimental); and
  • all coaching processes ought to observe sure well being and security tips.
child sitting on potty chair alongside toy bear sitting on tiny potty chair

The final of those — well being and security tips — are described in my article on the way to keep away from rest room coaching resistance, infections, and different issues. The remainder of this text gives you the knowledge you want to create your personal, private potty coaching plan. The choices embody:

  • Toddler potty coaching
  • Little one-oriented potty coaching
  • Rest room coaching in lower than a day and different “quick observe” strategies
  • Gradual, parent-led rest room coaching
  • The “bare-bottom” technique

At current, there isn’t any consensus amongst researchers about which is greatest. It is dependent upon the targets and preferences of the caregiver (de Carvalho Mrad et al 2021). So, as you contemplate your choices, keep in mind that every youngster is totally different. Select potty coaching strategies that you simply really feel comfy with, and don’t hesitate to drop strategies that appear to upset your youngster.

Toddler potty coaching strategies

In lots of elements of the non-Western world, toddler coaching is the norm. The targets differ. Infants are clearly incapable of toileting independently. However, with vigilance and supervision, dad and mom and infants can study to work collectively, studying one another’s alerts, in order that the household doesn’t should depend on diapers.

Dubbed “elimination communication” (or, alternatively, “Assisted Toddler Rest room Coaching”), this conventional strategy is secure and delicate, and, lately, it has been efficiently employed in Western settings. For instance, in a examine that included households dwelling in the USA, researchers tracked 87 infants over the course of their first 12 months postpartum. By the tip of the examine, roughly one-third of households had eradicated diapers altogether, and using coaching pants and underwear elevated by 200-300{942d213758e362662cf232a6c9339b0f49e7dab03bc391b28fe19fb74e1b14db}. Caregiver satisfaction was excessive (Bender et al 2021).

For extra details about elimination communication, see my article on conventional toddler potty coaching. As well as, in case your child is sufficiently old to take a seat up unassisted, you additionally would possibly wish to take a look at this text about self-initiated toddler rest room coaching.

The kid-oriented strategy to rest room coaching

Brazelton TB and Sparrow JD. 2004. Rest room coaching the Brazelton manner. Cambridge, MA: De Capo Press.

T. Berry Brazelton launched his child-oriented strategy in 1962. A training pediatrician, Brazelton had noticed a rise in rest room coaching failures, together with rest room refusal, extreme constipation, and (shudder!) stool smearing (Brazelton and Sparrow 2004). He reasoned that the prevailing potty coaching strategies — which emphasised parent-led observe drills — have been pushing toddlers earlier than they have been prepared. As a treatment, Brazelton designed an strategy that’s gradual and delicate.

Overview of the strategy

Brazelton’s potty coaching strategies are outlined in his e-book, Rest room coaching the Brazelton manner (2004). He recommends that folks delay rest room coaching till kids present spontaneous indicators of being prepared (for a listing of promising indicators, see this Parenting Science article). As soon as dad and mom observe the indicators, they’ll observe a collection of steps, however the exact timing is dependent upon the kid.

You need to by no means push ahead with a step in case your youngster doesn’t present curiosity. For those who youngster is reacts negatively, you pull again and wait. There is no such thing as a schedule or timeline to observe. The kid units the tempo.

Step one is taking your youngster to the shop to pick a potty. Subsequent, you encourage your youngster to take a seat, totally clothed, on the potty. Then, after one or two weeks (at which level your youngster ought to have change into comfy with often sitting on the potty), you possibly can attempt eradicating your youngster’s diaper and asking her or him to attempt sitting on it. However don’t insist. You too can begin demonstrating the perform of the potty: After eradicating a dirty diaper, ask your youngster to look at as you empty the contents into the potty.

The massive breakthrough — the day your youngster sits on the potty chair with a unadorned backside and really eliminates — is meant to occur spontaneously. However dad and mom want to put the groundwork. They need to go away potty chairs out the place kids can freely entry them, and encourage their kids roam across the house with out diapers on. If children are sluggish to make use of the potty, dad and mom can ask their kids in the event that they wish to assist. However the objective is to let children suppose that potty coaching is their very own thought — not one thing being pushed on them by others. The ultimate steps (reminiscent of emptying the potty chair into the bathroom, and flushing the bathroom) ought to wait till your youngster exhibits curiosity in them.


As a result of every youngster units his or her personal tempo, coaching occasions differ. Nevertheless, it’s secure to say that the Brazelton strategy is related to comparatively late coaching. In response to information that Brazelton analyzed in 1962, the common age for beginning coaching was 24 months. Greater than 50{942d213758e362662cf232a6c9339b0f49e7dab03bc391b28fe19fb74e1b14db} of his trainees accomplished coaching by 27 months, however some children have been a lot older. The common (imply) age of competion was 33 months (Brazelton 1962). A newer examine (Taubman et al 2003) reported even later completion occasions — round 34-38 months.

Does age matter? It’d. A potential examine of 8000 kids discovered that youngsters who began coaching (of any type) after 24 months have been at greater threat for experiencing sluggish progress and setbacks (Joinson et al 2009). Maybe kids who begin later are extra probably to withstand change. As well as, at the least 7 research have reported that completion of bathroom coaching after 24 months is linked with greater charges of wetting the mattress later in life (Carvalho et al 2022).

However maintain age fixed, and your selection of bathroom coaching strategies won’t matter. When a retrospective examine in contrast child-led coaching and gradual, parent-led coaching, researchers discovered no variations with respect to long-term outcomes in dysfunctional voiding (Colaco et al 2013).

Rest room coaching in “lower than a day” and different “fast-track” potty coaching strategies

Azrin NH and Foxx RM. 1974. Rest room coaching in lower than a day.

One-day potty coaching strategies have been first launched in 1974 by psychologists Nathan H. Azrin and Richard M. Foxx. The strategies have been designed for teenagers who’re 20 months or older and who’ve had no earlier rest room coaching experiences. Different, newer strategies draw on the identical potty coaching strategies, which embody

  • instructing via faux play (with a doll that simulates urination);
  • optimistic reinforcement (meals rewards);
  • observe drills; and
  • over-correcting for accidents (making children carry out faux, observe runs instantly after she or he has peed in her pants).

Overview of the strategy

For particulars, see my Parenting Science article about “quick observe” potty coaching strategies.


Do these strategies work? Scientific research recommend that the majority dad and mom who try fast-track potty coaching strategies will probably be fairly profitable…if the father or mother follows the directions intently AND everybody — father or mother and youngster — is comfy with the method. However for some households, this strategy might really feel too regimented. For particulars, take a look at the hyperlink (above) to my article about coaching children on the “quick observe”.

Gradual, parent-led rest room coaching

This strategy combines a number of potty coaching strategies. Like Azrin and Foxx’s strategy, the strategy is parent-led. Like Brazelton’s strategy, this technique is light and gradual. There are a number of variants of this strategy. Right here I describe Barton Schmidt’s model. Dr. Schmidt is professor of pediatrics on the College of Colorado Faculty of Medication (Schmidt 2004b).

Overview of the strategy

Schmidt encourages dad and mom to plan forward. Months earlier than you propose to start coaching, assist your youngster prepare (see my article, “The right way to put together your youngster for potty coaching”). Take your youngster to the shop to pick a potty chair. At house, go away the chair wherever your youngster spends most of his or her time. Encourage your youngster to take a seat and play on it whereas totally clothed. After a few weeks—when your youngster is accustomed and cozy with the potty chair—you possibly can start coaching.

Begin with observe runs. Ensure your youngster is carrying minimal, easy-to-remove clothes. If it’s heat sufficient, have your youngster put on a diaper solely. Then watch your youngster for indicators that she or he must eradicate (grunting, making faces, squirming, pulling on the diaper, and many others.). When the time is true, take away your youngster’s diaper, and place her or him on the potty. Ask your youngster to make use of the potty (for instance, say “Attempt to go pee-pee within the potty…”).

Schmidt recommends that folks reward children (with reward, affection, or stickers) instantly after a succesfully use of the potty. If children don’t handle to pee or poop? You possibly can allow them to keep on the potty for some time (as much as 5 minutes, in the event that they wish to do that) earlier than ending the observe run. But when children wish to surrender, don’t drive them to take a seat. Reward them (“Good attempt!”), and try one other observe run later.

All through, you need to concentrate on being optimistic. Keep away from a show of detrimental feelings. Present affection, persistence, and an upbeat perspective.

What when you’ve got bother telling when your youngster must pee?

Catching your youngster throughout the suitable second is essential for this technique, so Schmidt suggests that you simply maintain observe runs about 45 minutes after your youngster has completed a big drink, or after two hours with out urinating. Likewise, when you’ve got bother detecting defecation, stage a observe run after a big meal or after 24 hours with out a bowel motion.

What about accidents?

When children moist or soil their pants, change them as quickly as potential. Schmidt needs children to get accustomed to carrying solely clear, dry pants.

What number of observe runs must you make?

Schmidt warns that folks ought to ration the variety of observe runs — maybe not more than 100 complete. Training quite a lot of occasions a day might immediate kids to withstand. As soon as your youngster appears to get the dangle of issues, cease observe runs and substitute them with light reminders. Like observe runs, reminders needs to be used sparingly. For those who push an excessive amount of, your youngster might begin to insurgent.

What else ought to dad and mom do?

Schmidt advises dad and mom to maintain up a gentle stream of reward — at any time when a toddler makes use of the potty. And, after a toddler has taken the initiative and peed within the potty at the least 10 occasions, he recommends that folks introduce “big-kid underwear.” Painting this as a reward for progress, and permit children to decide on underpants for themselves. Simply guarantee that the clothes are loose-fitting, so your youngster can them pull up and down with out your assist. As soon as your youngster begins carrying underpants, reserve diapers for sleeping and journey.

In response to Schmidt, observe runs and reminders needs to be pointless after 1-2 months. Youngsters needs to be utilizing the potty with out prompting. Nevertheless, it could take as much as 6 months to your youngster to finish coaching. If kids are sluggish to make the ultimate transition, Schmidt recommends making an attempt the naked backside technique (beneath). Different essential potty coaching strategies that Schmidt recommends embody:

  • A number of potty chairs. Your youngster is extra more likely to keep in mind to use the potty if he can see it. Put potty chairs in a number of areas.
  • Encourage fluid consumption. The extra your youngster drinks, the extra ceaselessly your youngster can observe potty abilities.
  • Time-ins. Be beneficiant with bodily affection and reassurance. Potty coaching could be discouraging. Let children know that you simply love them and believe that they’ll ultimately succeed.


As famous above, a retrospective examine evaluated the long-term well being outcomes related to this technique and with child-led coaching. The researchers that neither strategy was linked with long-term dysfunctional voiding issues (Colacco et al 2013).

The “naked backside” technique

toilet training child using potty chair outside

These potty coaching strategies are for youngsters over 30 months who’ve used the potty a number of occasions with parental help (Schmidt 2004a). The strategy relies on the premise that youngsters dislike wetting themselves. Allow them to run round bare for a number of hours, and they’ll determine by themselves when to make use of the potty.

Overview of the strategy

Earlier than you start, reserve at the least one six-hour block of time (or a weekend) for coaching. Some kids would possibly require a number of consecutive days.

Take away all distractions, strip your youngster beneath the waist and let her play. Supply her numerous fluids to create many alternatives to pee. Maintain her inside easy accessibility of a potty chair always. That is best should you confine your youngster to a room (and even higher, a yard if it’s heat outdoors). Keep together with your youngster, however don’t ask her to take a seat on the potty. Be cheerful, and let her work issues out for herself.

If you’re questioning what occurs when your youngster has accidents, the reply is that you simply get a large number. Because of this, you’ll wish to stage your coaching session in a spot that’s straightforward to scrub. Ideally, you ought to maintain your coaching session outdoors on a heat day. In any other case, you would possibly attempt confining your youngster to the kitchen and different areas of the home which might be extra simply cleaned. If you do clear up, keep away from giving your youngster any lectures or classes. Be upbeat and affectionate.


I can’t discover any scientific research testing this technique. Dr. Barton Schmidt prescribes this potty coaching technique to sufferers who’ve had problem making the transition from observe runs to toileting independence. He studies excessive success fee (Schmidt 2004a).

Different potty coaching strategies

Elizabeth Pantley has printed her personal information to rest room coaching, The No-Cry Potty Coaching Resolution: Mild Methods to Assist Your Little one Say Good-Bye to Diapers. Like Brazelton, Pantley emphasizes the significance of ready till your youngster is prepared. However she additionally believes in parental reminders. Her really useful potty coaching strategies embody using rewards.

Extra studying

For those who’re in search of further details about rest room coaching, take a look at these Parenting Science articles:

References: Potty coaching strategies

Azrin NH and Foxx RM. 1974. Rest room coaching in lower than a day. New York: Pocket Books.

Baird DC, Bybel M, Kowalski AW. 2019. Rest room Coaching: Widespread Questions and Solutions. Am Fam Doctor. 100(8):468-474.

Bender JM, Lee Y, Ryoo JH, Boucke L, Solar M, Ball TS, Rugolotto S, She RC. 2021. A Longitudinal Examine of Assisted Toddler Rest room Coaching In the course of the First Yr of Life. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 42(8):648-655.

Brazelton TB 1962. A toddler oriented strategy to rest room coaching. Pediatrics, 29: 121-128.

Brazelton TB and Sparrow JD. 2004. Rest room coaching the Brazelton manner. Cambridge, MA: deCapo Press.

Colaco M, Johnson Ok, Schneider D, Barone J. 2013. Toilet training method is not related to dysfunctional voiding. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 52(1):49-53.

Crane, T. 2006. Potty Practice Your Little one in Simply One Day: Confirmed Secrets and techniques of the Potty Professional. Hearth.

Carvalho TA, Vasconcelos MMA, Guimarães ICO, Dutra MF, Lima EM, Bastos Netto JM, de Bessa Junior J, Simões E Silva AC, de Carvalho Mrad FC. 2022. Relationship between rest room coaching course of and first nocturnal enuresis in kids and adolescents – A scientific evaluation. J Pediatr Urol. S1477-5131(22)00339-4.

de Carvalho Mrad FC, da Silva ME, Moreira Lima E, Bessa AL, de Bessa Junior J, Netto JMB, de Almeida Vasconcelos MM. 2021. Rest room coaching strategies in kids with regular neuropsychomotor growth: A scientific evaluation. J Pediatr Urol. S1477-5131(21)00278-3.

Joinson C, Heron J, Von Gontard A, Butler U, Emond A, Golding J. 2009. A potential examine of age at initiation of bathroom coaching and subsequent daytime bladder management in school-age kids. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 30(5):385-93.

Pantley E. 2006. The No-Cry Potty Coaching Resolution: Mild Methods to Assist Your Little one Say Good-Bye to Diapers. New York: McGraw Hill.

Schmidt BA. 2004a. Rest room coaching: Getting it proper the primary time. Up to date Pediatrics, 21: 105-119.

Schmidt BA. 2004b. Rest room coaching issues: Underachievers, refusers, and stool holders. Up to date Pediatrics, 21: 71-82.

Taubman B. 1997. Rest room coaching and toileting refusal for stool solely: A potential examine. Pediatrics, 99: 54-58.Taubman B, Blum NJ, and Nemeth N. 2003. Stool toileting refusal: A potential intervention concentrating on parental conduct. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medication, 157: 1193-2003.

Content material final modified 10/22

Parts of this textual content derive from earlier variations of this text, written by the identical creator. Updates mirror new printed analysis.

Picture credit

picture of boy sitting alongside a toy bear on the potty by istock / EvgeniiAnd

picture of boy utilizing potty chair outdoors by istock / Saklakova