Does your child shows signs of training preparedness but you aren't sure where to begin? Try this suggestion on getting started:
Make up a chart with the hours of the day written across the top and label a row for each day. Tape the chart near the diaper pail so you can note every time a diaper goes into the pail.
Leave a column on the side of the chart for "remarks" and use 1's and 2's for wet and dirty diapers in the other columns. Now you can get a clear notion of when is the best time for training. When the numbers collect at certain times of the day, you have an indication that training is likely to be successful - usually around ages 18 months to three years. If "accidents" are still happening at all times of the day, it's still too early to start.
Continue the chart during training. It will be a source of pride for the child, and you can note successes.
At first, just staying on the toilet may be a challenge for your child, and encouragements for that success can be noted under "remarks." Later, the praise can come for real successes. The best reward will be your reaction, but you may want to include a treat for success. One parent I know used "dinner mints" - they are small but special. It was obvious the child came to view the dinner mint with pride as an award more than as a reward.
If the training has become an emotional issue, and your child is resisting, you may need to start with a potty chair in a new situation and gradually move the training back to the bathroom. For example, you might begin by rewarding your child for sitting on a portable potty in another room, then the hall, then into the bathroom.
Keep the praise up, the emotion down, and the tolerance high. Remember that all the adults you know eventually learned this skill. You don't have to meet anybody's schedule. Other parents may leave out the frustrations and setbacks when telling you about their wonderful successes.
Good progress by the age of three should make both parent and child feel they are doing a good job.