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The scoop on poop: Potty training myths revealed

Naomi de la Torre is freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom with two delightful boys, ages three and six. Naomi has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, is a self-proclaimed salsa diva, and can make a killer octopus ...

The truth about potty training

No, you don't have to be the Potty Whisperer to get your stubborn toddler to stop peeing on your kitchen floor. And your son will still get into college even if he doesn't train until he's 3 1/2. Get the down and dirty scoop on all the popular potty training myths.


Your child is a potty dropout if he doesn't train by age 2

Believe it or not, there is no magical age for potty training. Some kids are ready to train before the age of 2, others won't even go near a potty until they are almost 4. Trying to force your stubborn toddler to be interested in the potty before he is ready is a waste of time. The best way you can interest your child in using the toilet is simply by modeling the behavior yourself. Little kids love to do everything they see grown-ups doing. Just take your child into the bathroom with you, and before you know it, he will show interest all on his own.

How to tell when your child is ready for potty training >>

You need Pull-Ups to potty train

While disposable training pants can be convenient when you are taking your toddler on more trips to the bathroom each hour than you can count on your hand, they are not a requirement. In fact, because they feel like diapers and absorb accidents easily, your toddler may not feel the need to go to the bathroom to do his business. If you want to speed up the process, try training your little one in underwear covered in plastic pants. This way, he will feel the uncomfortable wetness when he goes and be more motivated to use the potty next time.

Oops! I had an accident. Dealing with potty training regressions >>

There is a right way to potty train

It doesn't matter whether it's your mother-in-law, your best friend or the Potty Whisperer doling out advice. The simple truth is: There is no right way to potty train. As with everything in parenting, you have to experiment and discover what works with your child. While little Billy from next door might have trained overnight because his mom started offering him jelly beans as a reward, your daughter might hate jelly beans with a passion and use them to overflow the toilet. Same goes for watching potty videos, finding the perfect potty seat, planning hourly potty appointments and so forth. Sure, they work for some kids, but sadly, there is no magic bullet for potty training. So take your time, try different things and, most of all, be patient.

Best-kept potty training secrets >>

Nighttime potty training coincides with daytime training

Wouldn't it be nice if nighttime and daytime potty training happened naturally at the same time for all children? Unfortunately, they are not the same. This is because controlling your bladder while you are awake and controlling your bladder while sleeping are two completely different situations. In fact, even at the age of 5,
16 percent of kids still have trouble staying dry at night. You can help your children stay dry overnight by making sure they don't fill up on too many liquids before bed, keeping a clear well-lit path -- a night light will do the trick! -- to the bathroom and waking up to take them to the potty once in the middle of the night.

Help your child stay dry
through the night >>

More on potty training

Potty training challenges solved
5 Best potty training bribes
Differences between potty training and poopy training

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