notes on potty training

Lesson Plan


Topic:  Toilet Training


Instructor:  Helen Greenbergs


Age Range:  parents of 24-36 month olds


Time:  45 minutes


I.  Anticipatory Set


Toilet Training happens in stages.  Some children in the class may be completely potty trained, but most are probably in diapers, getting ready to potty train, or beginning potty training.


Whip around:  Parents answer:  Where are you now with potty training?


II.  Instruction


Avoid the power struggle! – can’t force a child to potty train, but (when they are ready) you can set up the environment to assist them

Wait until they are ready

Keep a positive attitude


Necessary circumstances – typically at age 2-3 years

            - Physical maturity – bladder capacity; muscle control and coordination to hold,

                        relax and push; to undress/redress

            - Cognitive maturity – to sense urge in time; to leave an activity in time; to cope

                        with sometimes scary toilets, flushing, etc.


Signs of readiness

            - Waking up dry and clean from naps (and eventually in the morning)

            -  Telling you they need to go potty BEFORE they go

            - Showing interest in the toilet (asking, paying attention to others using the toilet,

                        communicating when their diaper is wet or dirty


Encouraging the use of the toilet

            - pick the right time – when they show signs of readiness, you have the time and

energy, no other major changes are expected to occur

            - dress your child in clothing that is easily removed

            - take advantage of nature – take them to the toilet when they wake, right after

                        meals, and right before bath

            - take them to the toilet every 2 hours and when they ask/indicate

            - make it a positive experience – praise attempts, praise successes, reassure/be

                        neutral when they aren’t successful, sing/read/talk when they are on the

potty, never force them to sit, never punish/criticize them regarding toilet

- don’t make going potty TOO powerful (Disneyland trips, etc.)




Special Issues

            Boys and aim – toss a few cheerios or fruit loops in the water for them to aim at


            Girls and hygiene – be especially careful to help them learn to wipe front to back

to avoid urinary tract infections


            Accidents –     don’t be mad

they are part of the learning process

always have extra clothing


            Night time –    use diapers/pull ups until they are consistently dry

expect occasional accidents after that

pediatricians don’t suggest anything until a child is 7-8 and still

wetting the bed


III.  Guided Practice

            Parents are encouraged to share ideas they have found helpful in their efforts at potty training, and cooperatively problem solve issues they are struggling with currently (examples: using the bathroom away from home, problems with constipation, etc.).


IV.  Closure

Remember there aren’t very many 5-year-olds who aren’t trained – it WILL happen


V.  Independent Practice

            Parents are encouraged to implement the strategies discussed in class, at home with their child.