I have just successfully potty trained my second child, so I think this means I have enough experience under my belt to offer you a few helpful hints. Potty training Bug was an experiment in terror. He is a very fast learner, so the fact that I had no clue what I was doing may have had something to do with it.
I decided that Bug was ready to be trained as soon as he showed an interest in using the toilet. I purchased a big pack of Pull-ups and told everybody about how my boy was so smart that he was already going in the potty. Then I got pregnant and spent the next four months so nauseous I could barely remain in an upright position.
Right about this same time my husband had to go away for a week and Bug decided that he would scream every time he approached the potty. I gave up and had to tell everyone in our family who inquired about his progress that he was back in Luvs.
After less than three weeks of potty-training, Grumpy is now going like a champ and hasn't had a single accident at night. Here are some tips on accomplishing this feat:
1. Don't tell anyone, other than your spouse and close relatives who need the knowledge in order to care for your child, that you are attempting to potty train. Even if another mom starts to brag about how her six month old flushes and wipes himself.
2. Encourage an interest in using the toilet, but don't attempt training the first time your little one successfully goes in the potty.
3. Make a big deal about (clap, dance about like an idiot, tell daddy) every No. 1 or No. 2 that winds up where its supposed to. Cookies, stickers and toy giraffes are unnecessary, however.
4. Let your child lead. Once your little one figures out that diapers are uncomfortable, he will probably opt for going like a big boy without a struggle.
5. Don't spank or yell, no matter how many accidents your child has. If he repeatedly goes in his clothes, he's not ready for this potty training thing. Just put the diaper back on and wait until he shows an interest again.
6. Use a potty ring if instead of a chair, unless your child is terrified of the toilet. Not only is the chair messy to clean up, you may end up having to go through a second round of training to convince your child to use the big potty.
7. Don't expect little ones to sit on the potty like you do. Both of my boys preferred to hunch over the toilet like crabs, with their legs pulled up. As long as they're not making an awful mess or in danger of falling in, let them choose how to sit.
8. If you have boys and they want to "go like daddy" provide a stool so they can accomplish this amazing feat.
9. Keep using Pull-ups until you notice that your little one is consistently dry each morning for a week. Once this happens, remind your child to use the potty right before bed and try putting him to bed sans Pull-up.
10. Use a Pull-up when you leave the house for more than 30 minutes, unless there is an easy-to-access bathroom. Continue to do this until your child is 7. Okay, maybe not quite that long.
Try to keep it lighthearted and remember that your little one will eventually potty train and, if my experience is any indication, it will probably happen a lot faster if you don't stress about it.