Every child potty-trains a little differently from the rest. There is no one way that will work for everyone. Most children are ready to potty-train between 18 months and 3 years old. The child should be able to pull their underwear up and down and have some recognition of when they have a dirty diaper. Often the child becomes very interested in the potty and even requests to use it. Although there are many products on the market to help facilitate the training, the most effective thing for many families is simply getting rid of the diapers. Allow the child to be naked on their bottom for a day, push fluids, and keep trying the potty every fifteen to twenty minutes throughout the day. Expect this to be a full day’s work. Offering praise, praise, and more praise when things go well, and staying calm and positive when they don’t will make the process easier along the way.
Using a small potty or the ring that attaches to a regular-sized toilet can be most helpful. Potties with bells and whistles can be difficult to clean, and often after a child has been potty-trained, he might then need help learning to use the toilet. Stay calm, positive, and be consistent. You will be out of diapers in no time. And to answer your question, yes, some children really do train in a day. Teri Crane wrote a book on the topic, Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day. It can work for some families, but for others, it just takes time.
Kelly LaChance-Guertin BA, CCE, CD (DONA), CLC, has been a birth and postpartum doula for the past five years. She is currently a certified birth doula through DONA (Doulas of North America) and a certified childbirth educator. As the co-owner of Bellani Maternity and the mother of two, she experiences first-hand the struggle of balancing work and family, as well as the realities of raising children. Visit to learn more about Kelly’s one-stop resource for pregnancy and parenting.