One morning—perhaps after your child has had her potty chair for a few weeks—your little one announces, "No more diapers, Mommy." Now what?
The techniques and philosophies regarding toilet-learning techniques vary. Here are some of the more popular approaches:
All in a Day's Work: Dr. Phil McGraw, the licensed clinical psychologist who has become a household name in recent years, employs a six-step technique for one-day toilet training. His program leans heavily on the use of a drink-and-wet doll—something easily found at various toy stores. Parents use the anatomically correct doll to illustrate proper toilet use, as well as to introduce "big kid" underwear. After the doll uses her potty, Dr. Phil suggests throwing a "potty party," replete with party hats, streamers, and lots of loving attention. "Let your child know that when he goes potty, he will have a potty party, too," writes Dr. Phil on his website. After the party, have your child put on her new undies and offer her lots of fluids—the sooner your little one has to go, the sooner you begin toilet learning.
Parents should then gently encourage their child to use the potty several times in a row to establish muscle memory. After the first successful potty-chair trip, Dr. Phil suggests parents offer their child a phone call to their favorite "super hero" to share in the good news (enlist the help of a family member or friend to play the part ahead of time). This step can easily be substituted with just about anything—a special phone call to Grandma, picking out a new book or toy, or going on a special parent-child date.