Forget What You Know: Realistic Potty Training Tips


Listen, I’ve said it before… even on television… I am a horrible potty trainer! Though I have three down and just two toddlers to go, I’m definitely always open to new tips. As I get ready to embark on yet another session (though I have learned the hard way to wait until age 3) Breezy Mama turned to Dana Obleman, Author, No-Sweat Potty Training to get her tips that break a lot of the typical potty training rules (hint: bribe away!).

We parents have always been told to “wait until our child is ready” to potty train — why do you disagree with this theory?

Children don’t have any real motivation to start potty training. They have worn a diaper their whole life and are very comfortable with that situation. They are not suddenly going to insist they want to learn something different– after all, they are not the ones who have to lug diapers around and clean them up when they are soiled. More often, kids have to wait for their parents to be ready for potty training, not the other way around.

What is the best age to get started potty training a child and how can
parents know when their child is ready?

If a child is 22 months or older, has been developing normally, and is not
experiencing any extra stresses like moving or a new sibling, he or she is
probably ready to go. Most importantly, the child must be able to go a few
hours without wetting his or her diaper, indicate when he or she has pooped
or peed in the diaper, have good motor control, and be able to accept simple instructions.

What is your favorite tip for getting started?

Before you begin, go out and buy your child at least 10 pairs of underwear,
get at least 10 to 15 plastic bags, and on the day you start, give away all
the diapers you have in the house, and get ready to be diaper-free forever!

What are some of the biggest mistakes parents make when potty training?

The biggest one is using pull-up-style training pants. I am so opposed to
these — they actually make it much harder to get a child potty trained. The second is that parents put it off too long because they worry it will be traumatic for their child. That’s nonsense! And it’s not actually that hard on parents, either, if they do it right.

Do you believe in “rewards” for going potty?

Yes. I’m a huge believer in rewards for potty training, as it’s part of
making the process fun. They don’t have to last long, and they don’t create

What if a child simply refuses to even sit on the potty?

I love timers. I use them with my own children for many things, but I
especially love them when potty training a reluctant toddler. Start by
setting it for just 10 seconds. Tell your child he or she needs to sit
on the potty until the bell goes and then can get off and have a small reward (like one jelly bean). If you start out small and gradually increase the time, your child will get comfortable with the idea, and go there happily.

What will parents learn from your No-Sweat Potty Training guide?

Parents will learn how to get their children to go diaper-free in one
weekend (seriously!). They will do this by preparing the child beforehand
through the comments they make while changing diapers and introducing the
child to the toilet in the right way. They will learn how to model toilet
behavior, and even how to get older siblings to voluntarily coach their
younger brothers and sisters. Most important, they will learn how and why to get through the potty training process without using pull-ups. Have I
mentioned I hate pull-ups? 😉

The ultimate goal is to help children achieve what I call “potty
independence.” That means the child can go to the bathroom without any
parental assistance, including undressing and dressing, wiping, flushing,
and hand washing.

Anything else you’d like to share when it comes to potty training?

Once a parent has decided to potty train, it is very important to be
consistent. You’ve made your decision and now you need to stick with it,
even if you get some resistance from the child. If you give in when he or
she pushes, then all you will do is teach your child that you don’t mean
what you say, and potty training will be left to the whims of a 3 year old.

breezy_deal1 For more tips, see Breezy Mama’s Potty Training: The Secrets for Success

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dana About Dana Obleman:
The creator of No-Sweat Potty Training, Dana has helped more than 30,000 parents over the last 8 years solve their biggest parenting challenges. Best-known as the creator of “The Sleep Sense Program,” which is the Internet’s #1 best-selling resource for solving children’s sleeping problems, Dana is also the author of “The Food Sense Program” (for those of you with fussy eaters) and “Kids: The Manual,” which is a no-nonsense guide to discipline and behavior management for kids aged 2 – 12.

To learn more about Dana, visit:

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  1. Very timely post!! We tried to potty train last week, it didn’t work out, lol. Definitely not my parenting forte! Thanks for these great tips. 🙂

  2. That potty is just too cute!

  3. Lol Kathy! Boys are notoriously harder than girls, too. I’m collecting all the info I can get before attempting twins -ha!

  4. So cheerful, right? It’s the Summer Infant Story Time Potty 🙂

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