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Parenting Q&A: Child Needs to Be Potty Trained For Preschool!

Parenting Q&A: Child Needs to Be Potty Trained For Preschool!

Q. My two and a half year old daughter has to be out of diapers by September when she starts preschool. So far she
has shown no interest in being potty trained. Do you have any tips on how I can get her engaged in the process?

A. How to Excite, Engage and Succeed in Potty Training Your Toddler With 100% Success. If I could write that book I would have enough money to end our current economic crisis. Sleeping, eating, tantruming and pooping are the most often asked questions of any early childhood expert. While not everyone agrees, I think pushing a child toward a deadline; school or impending baby sister causes undue stress around a bodily function. While I’m not a therapist or a doctor, that can’t ever be good.

Having said that, there are some steps that can move toddlers in the right direction in a clear yet serendipitous manner. To see Lonna's specific instructions,


1. Remove the changing table, change toddlers standing up in the bathroom. Yes, even those hard to clean messy diapers. This makes changing a function rather than a passive playtime or punishment.
2. Certainly try to read signs that your child needs to eliminate and ask them if they need to go on the potty. I do not get caught up on the potty itself, I think a child insert on the regular toilet is best, with a stool, but if the Pretty Potty that sings “Ta Da” makes you happy, I won’t judge. The important point is that going to the bathroom goes on in the bathroom.
3. Over spending on panties, expecting fashion to push the progress forward as well as bribes can work, however, I think this can cause a level of expectation of rewards for all of life's little necessities. I encourage spending a long weekend with a lot of liquids and no diaper so your child can run to the bathroom as the urge occurs. When, not if, accidents happen, the child helps clean up without drama or upset. After a long weekend of Potty Boot camp, have the child wear underwear and keep close to home for another week.

— Lonna Corder

Parenting expert and Montessori school director, Lonna Corder has been doling out advice for 25 years as a teacher, parent/child consultant and on television. For more information, visit

If you're at your wit's end about an issue and want another take on the situation, private message your question to lilsugar. We'll be running this feature all week!


Join The Conversation
Aacoa Aacoa 7 years
absolutely nothing wrong with it. some kids need to be around other kids before they "get it" anyway and the teachers are trained and paid to handle "accidents" dealing with pre-schoolers, If this was the only way for my toddler, then so it would be. Fortunately she was ready to go just shy of her second birthday. But she loves to flush and wash her hands with all the pretty soaps I keep in her bathroom.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
i'd like to think i wouldn't do that, but like i said, i didn't need my kids to be potty trained by a certain date. the one woman told be sort of by accident. her oldest and my middle child were in the same preschool class and her youngest was getting ready to go. he was still in diapers a couple of weeks before school was starting and i asked her, what are you going to do? her reply "the same thing i did last time", and the story came out. i think the school needs a different license for kids that aren't potty trained, so that may be the reason for the rule. if i worked there i would want extra pay for diaper duty, that's for sure.
ladyr ladyr 8 years
lickety, that is pretty messed up of your friends to put that on the preschool. That is not their job!!
skigurl skigurl 8 years
lickity - that seems kinda rude and sneaky, no? i would never admit to other people that i lie and decieve my daycare so i didn't have to train my child myself
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
i have 2 friends who needed to go back to work before their children were potty trained. in their situations the kids were only about 2. both of the moms just packed an extra outfit everyday in the child's backpack, and when the preschool told them about their child's "accident" they said "wow, he never does that at home". basically, the preschool ended up doing the potty training. i wouldn't push on the potty training, but then i didn't need to.
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