Potty Training For Dummies

( 4 )


If you could remember your own potty training, you’d probably recall a time filled with anxiety and glee, frustration and a sense of accomplishment, triumphal joy and shamed remorse. You’d remember wanting so much to make mommy and daddy happy, and at the same time to make them pay for being so darned unreasonable. And you’d recall feeling incredibly grown up once you got it right. Maybe if we could remember our own potty training, it wouldn’t be so tough when it came our turn to be the trainers. But as it is, ...

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If you could remember your own potty training, you’d probably recall a time filled with anxiety and glee, frustration and a sense of accomplishment, triumphal joy and shamed remorse. You’d remember wanting so much to make mommy and daddy happy, and at the same time to make them pay for being so darned unreasonable. And you’d recall feeling incredibly grown up once you got it right. Maybe if we could remember our own potty training, it wouldn’t be so tough when it came our turn to be the trainers. But as it is, most of us feel like we can use all the expert advice and guidance we can get.

Potty Training For Dummies is your total guide to the mother of all toddler challenges. Packed with painless solutions and lots of stress-reducing humor, it helps you help your little pooper make a smooth and trauma-free transition from diapers to potty. You’ll discover how to:

  • Read the signs that your tot is ready
  • Motivate your toddler to want to give up diapers
  • Kick off potty training on the right foot
  • Foster a team approach
  • Deal with setbacks and pee and poop pranks
  • Make potty training a loving game rather than a maddening ordeal

Mother and daughter team, Diane Stafford and Jennifer Shoquist, MD separate potty-training fact from fiction and tell you what to expect, what equipment you’ll need, and how to set the stage for the big event. They offer expert advice on how to:

  • Choose the right time
  • Use a doll to help model behavior
  • Say the right things the right way
  • Reinforce success with praise and rewards
  • Switch to training pants
  • Get support from relatives
  • Cope with special cases
  • Train kids with disabilities

And they offer this guarantee: “If your child is still in diapers when he makes the football team or gets her college degree, you can send him or her off to us for a weekend remedial course—and ask for a refund of the cost of this book.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764554179
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/12/2002
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 361,541
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane Stafford has written extensively on health issues.

Jennifer Shoquist, M.D., Stafford s daughter, is a family practicephysician.

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Table of Contents


Part I: Setting Up for Success.

Chapter 1: Launching the Potty-Training Adventure.

Chapter 2: Assembling Your Team.

Chapter 3: Using the Tools of the Trade and Dressing forSuccess.

Part II: It's All in the Timing.

Chapter 4: Recognizing Readiness Signs.

Chapter 5: Choosing the Right Time.

Part III: Surefire Steps for Ditching Diapers.

Chapter 6: Prepping for the Big Game.

Chapter 7: Dancing the Potty Mambo.

Chapter 8: Keeping a Good Thing Going.

Chapter 9: Training Outside the Home.

Part IV: Using Psych-Up Skills.

Chapter 10: Staying on Message.

Chapter 11: Understanding Your Trainee.

Chapter 12: Getting By with a Little Help.

Part V: Coping with Special Cases.

Chapter 13: Managing Major-League Backsliding.

Chapter 14: Dealing with Day-Slippers and Bed-Wetters.

Chapter 15: Handling a Hardcore Balker.

Chapter 16: Soiling Beyond Toddler Years.

Chapter 17: Training Children with Disabilities.

Part VI: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 18: Ten Answers from the Expert.

Chapter 19: Ten Ways to Pump Up Potty Prowess.

Chapter 20: Ten Reasons to Let Your Child Lead.

Chapter 21: Ten Woulda-Couldas If You Got Do-Overs.


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First Chapter

Potty Training For Dummies

By Diane Stafford Jennifer Shoquist

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-5417-4

Chapter One

Launching the Potty-Training Adventure

In This Chapter

* Setting up a Potty-Mambo team

* Watching for signs of your child's readiness

* Getting everyone involved

* Making sure everyone knows the steps

* Becoming a mambo master

* Putting the finishing touches on your routine

You've toted that barge (diaper bag) and lifted that bale (evil poop) long enough! After changing thousands of diapers, you probably have major issues relating to small-fry output. Still, the fact remains that you can't send your child away to potty-training boot camp and get her back when all the work's done. What you can do, though, is pull off a truly bang-up job of helping her fine-tune her potty skills - without ever feeling as if you've moved into some kind of frightening, feces-filled parallel universe.

The problem is that when you start potty training, you throw open the door to confusing advice if you puzzle out loud about toddler training; and then you're knocked over by a rapid-fire barrage of answers: "I stuck my kid on the washing machine till she got the idea." "I waited to start training until my kids were real old!" "When your kid hands you a dirty diaper, she's ready." Ask and you will be given at least fifty million ideas on how to potty train. But, use the Potty Training For Dummies approach, and you won't have to ponder which tales are right and which ones are wrong. You'll have the snug comfort of a bona fide plan that works.

With Potty Training For Dummies, you'll enchant your child by tucking brass-tacks skills into a package wrapped with pretty bows (games) and cute paper (rewards). As chief dance-master, you will provide oodles of patience, soft-voiced tips, and readiness for quirky behaviors.

No matter what you encounter, you're good with it. Have no doubt - you can teach your child how to use the potty with ease, as long as you wait until your wee one shows she's geared up for the challenge.

Starting Potty-Mambo Dance Class

Imagine that you're going to take a mambo class, but you've never even done a square-dance do-si-do, a tango swoop, or a tap dance shuffle-ball-change combination. What would you need to start out? Who would you bring along for help and comfort? You'd want warm supporters, and you'd want the right stuff. Don't ask me to do a cha-cha with no castanets, please! (For those of you that don't know, castanets are the little wooden cymbals you click together with your fingers in beat to the music!)

Promising plenty of help

Your toddler will definitely need some cool people on her team for moral support - the same ones who totally flipped out when she took her first steps.

On her first day out, let your child know she's going to have lots of supporters cheering her on - to help her feel warm-and-fuzzy while she's learning this brand-new potty dance. Mommy. Daddy. Teacher-at-daycare Miss Allison. Nana. Gran and Gramps. Aunt Christina. And big sister, Jenny.

Tell your tot that you'll be her main teacher in the Potty Mambo, but she'll be the star. Early on - before you've even pinpointed the time for Potty-Training Weekend, start some pre-potty-training pep talks. Talk up how much everyone will applaud her success when she's a full-fledged potty user.

Providing the right stuff

Get ready by buying the right stuff - from potty chair to hotsy-totsy videos to pants that are easy to pull up and down. See Chapter 3 for suggestions.

Your toddler will like the excitement of knowing she's equipped for this new challenge. And the pleasure of those new things will carry her past any nagging fears that may be flitting by.

A well-dressed potty trainee will need both training-pant pullups and big-kid underwear (to look forward to). You have lots of options here - so many, in fact, that you may need help in sorting what's what and what works best in certain circumstances. (See info on training-pant options in Chapter 3.)

Keeping an Eye Out for Your Window of Opportunity

The biggest key to success in potty training is: starting it at the right time! Get a good feel for when your child is really ready - both her mind and body are in gear - and you're halfway home.

Do it too soon, and you may end up staring at each other like a couple of zombies. If she's unready, she'll potty-sit in a trance just because she knows you want her to. As long as she's hanging out in that spot, you can't make her do stupid stuff like put up toys or go to bed. While she's working on potty deeds, she's queen-for-the-half-hour.

So work hard to leap on readiness signs (we put a list of them on the Cheat Sheet at the front of the book), and soon you'll be entering that twilight zone of tinkle talk, toilet-paper clogs, and mega-emphasis on making safe deposits in a small innocent bowl that's ready-and-waiting to be called to the front line for action.

Noting her approach to the dance floor

For potty training to work, your child must be at the point when bowel and bladder control are within her reach. Otherwise, if her body refuses to help, she'll only get frustrated. (Talk about feeling like a klutz with two left feet!)

So keep your eyes peeled for signs that your child is now peeing and pooping on a more regular schedule - less often, bigger amounts. Other things that signal all-clear-ahead are when she's acting like a neat freak and complains of wet/dirty pants. See Chapter 4 or the Cheat Sheet for these signs. If you're training a child with disabilities, read both Chapter 4 and Chapter 17 to check for potty-training startup signs.


No matter what the age, a child who's unfazed when she pees and poops is not going to be ready to cooperate with potty training or understand why it's necessary.

Knowing when the timing's cool

Try some high-drama thinking to conjure up what your tiny tot could be feeling right now. So far, in her two short years, she has found the world a whirlwind of color and smell and texture and sound. And you've been her right-hand guide in sorting through the maze of wonders.

But this time she's trying to learn something that goes against the grain of what she has done naturally since emerging into the world. Dumping her bodily goods in her diapers was so easy, so stress-free, and from what she can tell, it sounds like you're asking her to crank up her brain and body to some strange new sophistication level that doesn't yet make a lick of sense.

Be wise and avoid high-stress periods for your startup of potty training. Also, look for a time when she has passed the "terrible twos" and is moving on to a sweeter, gentler stage. (See Chapter 5 for timing tips.)

Giving the Potty Mambo a Good Beat

The caregiver or parent who's potty training for the first time can see clearly that this process can go bad in fifty-jillion ways. Why? Because completing potty deeds takes a whole bunch of skills: Your toddler must

  •   Be able to control her impulses
  •   Have motor skills that are really cooking
  •   Like the idea of being a tiny bit self-propelled
  •   "See me hold back my pee or poop till I reach the potty. See me walk, tug down clothes, wipe myself, pull up clothes, flush the toilet. See me even want to do these things alone." And, besides self-control, walking, undressing, and climbing onto the potty, she may need to run the hundred-yard dash in order to get to the bathroom on time!

Believe us, from your child's point of view, all of this probably seems freaky-scary, which is why you must pretty-up the whole dance with a friendly approach.

You, you world-wise pottyologist, must entice this sweet-and-sassy kiddo by chatting up the time set aside for her to learn the Potty Mambo. To engage your child fully, you'll stage a special launch weekend, when you declare an embargo on distractions and start writing a first-draft diaper-eulogy. The Potty Monologues are under way. Get her swaying to the beat!

Prepping for the real training time - Potty-Training Weekend - calls for some subtle and warm persuasion. (See Chapter 6 for more.)

Kids can really get moving when you get them in the right mood - so take time to flaunt the role models ("See your big sister Monique - how cool is that? She uses the potty - but I can remember years ago when she was in diapers and then had to learn to use the potty herself.") Notice that you're not saying, "Why can't you be more like her?" You're just pointing out that Monique uses the toilet in a big-person way.


You're in a partnership here, assisting your child in achieving success as a natural offshoot of the adventure. Your trainee has to forge ahead, but you can certainly give a lot of hands-on guidance.

As you nudge your little pip toward the weekend of her magical coup, help get her jazzed about what's coming up. Let her sit clothed on her potty chair and bask in the newness of her spiffy seat. Coach her on buzzwords that she'll use to dazzle when she Potty-Mambos.

Make the most of psych-up talks. You're letting bathroom words become commonplace to her - in a "by the way you'll soon be doing this" kind of way. Encourage her anticipation - this will be a special time with you, one of her favorite people. But don't create dread by outlining great expectations for Potty-Training Weekend. (See Chapter 6 on prepping.)

If she looks worried and says, "no go potty," that means one thing: She's afraid that when the time comes, she'll fail to deliver what you want. So reassure, reassure, reassure. "Whatever you do, Potty-Training Weekend will be fine - you're a beginner. You're just learning, little gal. We'll play and sing and have fun together. You'll learn how to use the potty, but if you have a little trouble remembering, no problem!" High-five - let her know that it's a joint enterprise, and you're her number-one supporter.

Making Sure Everyone Enjoys the Big Dance

Ah, the chaperone. That's you - the one with the power to make Potty-Training Weekend fun - or a big fat washout. So, go into it with your sense of humor tucked under one arm and a passel of patience under the other. Only good things can happen because the main outcome you're shooting for is this: Both of you should walk away with good feelings and memories of toddler/grown-up bonding at its best. You'll make sure that little potty trainee feels like she did something really good.

Hey, wait a minute, you say. She didn't pee or poop in the potty a single time! No matter. You still heap praise on her for the big T - Trying. In potty training, effort is good - very good - and gets rewarded. Enough little efforts, and she'll actually be using the potty on a regular basis. (See Chapter 7.)

Toting an emergency kit

Going into Potty-Training Weekend, you're excited. Plus, you're armed with an "emergency kit," so you're ready for accidents, surprises, and attitudes.


Just like getting ready for her first dance recital, do what you can to make things go smoothly. The more groundwork you lay, the better her potty training will go.

Make available all the props and supplies your child will need for potty training. (Get your child really into the idea by letting her be your shopping-trip sidekick.) See Chapter 3 for more ideas.

To be prepared, gather startup info on training problems, smart responses to relapses, guidelines on special-needs children, and savvy ways to handle sparring with a spouse or relative who may have a different philosophy on potty training. (See Chapters 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17.)

Warming her up for the big time

As Potty-Training Weekend starts, you'll go through a whole lot of shenanigans to get your child cooking: You'll help her teach her doll to use the potty chair for peeing. You'll take your toddler to her potty chair every hour (and after meals) all Potty-Training Weekend (except during the night). Together, you'll set up an exciting Success Chart. And, finally, you'll switch her to training pants after a few successes during the weekend. (See Chapter 7 for details on dancing the Potty Mambo.)

Then, when the weekend is over, you'll help her mesh the new skills into the framework of everyday life: You'll give any outside caregivers the poop on her potty program. And, you'll spend time every day reinforcing her brand-new tricks.

Knowing Your Place as Mentor

You have to stifle all great expectations during potty days. Simply stay on message: Be calm and patient. Laugh often. Smile a lot.

Be prepared for taking your child's act on the road. You have to get ready for outings. And, ensure that outside caregivers are following your lead.

You can keep your child in step by staying enthusiastic about her progress, not overreacting to odd behavior, and handling speed bumps with ultimate cool.

Biting your tongue

During potty-training days, you may learn a lot about yourself. Maybe you never knew you were such a control freak. Or maybe you suddenly turned into one of the neatness police. All kinds of "I told you so" things seem to fly to your lips, uninvited.

So you must do absolutely anything (short of gagging yourself) to keep from nagging your little chum, who's probably chugging along about as ably as a two-year-old can be expected to. This just could be the perfect time to learn how to tie a knot in a cherry stem with the end of your tongue. (You know you've always wanted to do that.)

Covering the A B Cs of car trips

Help your child feel safe and secure by making sure she's got all sorts of situations covered.

Staying potty trained at home is one thing - out in a spooky bathroom at a sports arena is something entirely different. (See tips in Chapter 9.)

Keeping her in step

Do three things to keep your child in step while she's doing the Potty Mambo. Provide loads of theatrical enthusiasm. Use lots of motivating lines. And troubleshoot when funky snags show up - things like pee accidents, mondo-modesty, or freak-show moments (pooping in her toy box, streaking when friends visit, and so on). See Chapters 8 and 11 for more.

Benefiting from Others' Cool Moves

Don't get the feeling you're out there on the stage all by yourself - far from it. Lots of people like to get in on promoting Potty Mambo moves.

Just figure they're out to help. Invite them inside the loop. From doctors and Web sites, to ex-mates and relatives, you'll find support everywhere you turn. (If you're divorced, see the tips in Chapter 12 for snaring good potty-training results when your child goes from dad's house to mom's house.)


Excerpted from Potty Training For Dummies by Diane Stafford Jennifer Shoquist Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012


    This book is nothing but jokes. There was some weird jokes in there, but how does that help my child learn to get potty trained. I am very dissapointed and you shouldn't buy this.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2006

    Dummies is accurate

    I couldn't get past the effort at clever jokes, witty remarks, and cute made-up phrases in this book on every single page. Tidbits of information clutter every page is a truly random fashion. Not only that, the real information is hidden somewhere in between. Also, is is really a topic that warrants such a thick and complicated book?

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2007

    A reviewer

    The Potty Training Weekend was a great idea. We deceided to do it while we were camping with my family. Everyone was encouraging him and cheering him on every hour when the timer went off.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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