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Parenting Tips

Get on Board the Potty Train

Dear Janie:

My son is 29 months old. He is, for the most part, potty trained. He has been in underwear for quite some time both day and night. So what is the problem? He doesn’t tell us he has to go. If we take him every few hours, then he’s great, but otherwise he will wet himself. At night he gets out of bed to tell us he needs to go potty so it is primarily during the day that we have the issues. We have tried food rewards and stickers for the few times that he did tell us, and nothing has sunk in. I don’t know what to do next.


Dear Mom,

It sounds like your little guy is already on board the potty train. Teaching your son to notice the sensation in his tummy when he needs to go potty is the next step on his train trip. He is already halfway down the track because he tells you at night time that he has to use the toilet.

During the day, if you notice his “pre-potty dance,” start pointing out to him that his tummy is telling him he needs to go potty. Give him the same words to tell you each time (for example, “I go potty”). Even practice with him throughout the day to tell you these potty words. Then, he will relate that feeling to the next step and actually tell you independently.

Now, when he states, “I go potty,” give praise, small treats and/or lots of parent attention related to how happy you are that he said the words. Just remember at 2 and a half, it will take a train load of repetition and consistency, so don’t lose your steam. Very soon your little guy will be the conductor on the potty train!