Beginning the Process
Much like the parent-oriented approach in Chapter 4, your basic equipment is a potty chair or seat and optional snacks or treats. Since you will not be completing this in a single day or weekend, you do not need to over-purchase snacks, drinks, or underwear. The child-oriented method is a far more laid back approach and enlists the assistance of parents, grandparents, day care providers, and babysitters. One drawback is that parents will likely deal with accidents for an extended period of time and will be buying diapers or disposable briefs and wipes for a little longer. If you determine that you will have your potty-training tyke wear underwear, be prepared for increased laundry, hygiene challenges, and stains on carpeting and furniture. The practice of returning your toddler to diapers after several days of accidents has caused some concern over how this affects her self-esteem. In order to avoid this, consider either using disposable briefs or panties with a waterproof cover until she is accident-free for an extended period of time.
Once you have identified the readiness of your toddler, it is time to introduce the potty chair or potty seat. It is a good idea to take your toddler with you when you choose the potty accessory. In addition, let your toddler choose the underwear she would like to wear when she graduates to big girl pants. If your child has been following you or other family members to the bathroom, encourage her to sit on the new potty chair (fully clothed at first). Although keeping the potty chair in the restroom is strongly advised, it is not a requirement. In fact, if your toddler wants to sit on the potty chair to eat a snack at this point, it is okay. Don't require her to remain seated for an extended period of time; allow her to get up and down at will. While your child is seated, read her a story or talk to her to create a calm atmosphere in which she can associate a sense of comfort instead of stress.
After one to two weeks of having your toddler sit on the potty with all of her clothes on, ask her if she would like to try sitting on the chair without her diaper. Do not force her; remove her diaper only if she agrees with you. For now, do not require your child to actually use the potty. While you are preparing your toddler for the potty, encourage her by telling her that this is how Mommy and Daddy potty too. Once she is seated on her potty, you sit on the toilet. Your demonstration helps peak your child's natural instinct to act like you. She will attempt to mimic your behavior. Remember, if she is successful and urinates while practicing, you should give her lots of praise and positive reinforcement.
Your child is still in diapers at this point. After about one week of demonstrating sitting on the potty, take your child into the bathroom to change her soiled diaper. Remove the soiled diaper and empty the stool into the chair. While you are emptying the stool, explain what you are doing and why. Let her know that this is where stool goes. You will also demonstrate emptying the stool from the chair's receptacle into the toilet. Many toddlers will be fascinated by the sounds of the stool dropping into the toilet and the flush. Be aware that some toddlers will be scared by the flush of the commode. For this reason, you may find it best to allow your toddler to leave the bathroom before you flush. Explain to her that mommies and daddies use a toilet every day and their stool gets flushed away also. If your toddler is eager to help, allow her to do so. She may want to dump the stool into the toilet or flush the commode. This is a great way to engage her further in the potty-training process.