Potty training

Potty training is so individual. My approach is that using the toilet is such an intimate part of a person’s life (like getting a diaper changed), that I handle it with the deepest respect. I try to make the child comfortable. Like diapering, nothing you do should feel distressful. Keep it light-hearted and joyful. Make lots of soothing comments, such as “it’s okay.” Share stories of other people you know who started using a potty, or share a story of yourself if you have one. I always have the story of my grandsons ages three and one. The three-year-old did NOT want to use the potty. But my daughter tried to get him to anyway. The younger brother had this attitude of, “oh, is that what we’re doing now?” and he potty-trained himself at age one, by observing his mom and brother. Isn’t that funny? But then, he’s an all-together different child. It does show that exposure helps, and suggesting, and making a potty available, and knowing it will happen eventually.

For some, it goes quickly, for others more slowly. For some, it will be early, and for others, it will be late.

You could tell your child the story about a child who would only use a blue potty and another child who would only use a green one. Imagine that! You could ask your child what their favorite potty would look like. If your child doesn’t like their potty, try to get to the bottom of why. I had one student who learned to use an adult toilet by sitting on it, facing the rear, where he could hold on to the tank and lean forward. It was more secure. (I decided I wished all boys were trained that way.) Some children learn best outdoors with their diaper off. Another of my young grandsons won’t pee outdoors. I told him “tree pee, best pee,” but he doesn’t care.

About the Author

Kimberley Lewis

Kimberley is a birth-to-three teacher, consultant and writer. She received her master's degree in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH. She is a RIE® Associate and avid Pikler student. She has been teaching nursery, preschool, kindergarten and parent-child classes in Waldorf schools since 2007.

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