Using the Potty on Their Own

Young children are generally eager to learn and grow, and will move naturally toward new stages of development with the support of the adults in their environment. Parents can best help children between the ages of three and five by providing the memory cues necessary to learn a new skill, while still allowing for the strong urge to “do it myself.”

Your four-year-old may resist being placed physically on the potty, for example—a technique that works well for many younger toddlers—but respond to a verbal reminder (“Lunch is over. Now, what’s next?”) that offers her a chance to respond successfully (“Potty time!”) and go to the bathroom on her own.

By helping your child picture what she wants to do, plan how to accomplish her goal, and carry through successfully, you can allow her to teach herself to use the potty. In the process, she will learn that she can achieve the goals she sets for herself, and her self-confidence will increase accordingly.

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