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Potty Training

By Jodie Lynn


We are desperately trying to potty train our three-year-old son. His preschool is also trying to help. He seems to do fairly well there but not once he gets home. What are some things we could try to get him to cooperate at home?


Our daughter was easy to potty train. However, our son was not so easy. Our daughter had an older sister that helped to potty train her but by the time our son was born, they were both quite a bit older. Although they loved their little brother, they wanted nothing to do with helping to potty train him. In fact, they more or less babied him in every way possible. This mothering instinct that they insisted on pursuing kept him from walking and talking at a normal age as well. The only help we got was from his dad. He could watch dad in the bathroom and learn what big boys do. My husband took off for a couple of weeks for vacation when our son was around three and devoted the entire time to potty training him. He not only learned to go to the potty but also built a stronger bond with his dad. I don't know if you have older children who can help, but most definitely, let his dad be a role model for the training process, if possible. - R. B. in Springfield, MO


Three-year-olds respond well to repetition, similar environments, non-stressful situations and lots of patience and praise. Ask his preschool teacher if you might visit the classroom to get a clearer view of his/her regiments revolving around your son's day at school, especially now that potty training has become a part of it. This will help you to possibly set up and implement a similar routine at home. For example, maybe there is certain music played or an activity before each trip to the bathroom at school and perhaps something after. If so, you can try to mimic these at home and bring some familiarity from the school environment. Some teachers will use a reward system, like clapping hands or saying or singing a specific phrase in celebration when the children go to the bathroom. You can make up a response or phrase of your own using the same tune or just use the one he's used to hearing. Again, patience and lots of praise will be of the utmost importance during this learning adventure.

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To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email direct2contact, or go to which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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