I think if I were to share some of my favorite potty training tips that work for me, they would be,
1.) Wait until your child can communicate with you. Not even necessarily verbally, just so long as it is effective. I've found that it's usually around 18-24 months.
2.) When you begin to wonder if you should start training, begin by taking a few months and train yourself to learn their signals and what foods cause them to go. For my children it's always bananas. Pay particular attention to how soon they go after ingesting it so you can time it properly after you begin training to catch it the first few times. You really want to set them up for success. The more accidents they have, the longer it will take.
3.) Spend those months talking to your child while diaper changing about where it's supposed to go. Not in a condemning way, but like it's something exciting.
4.) If you can afford both, get a little potty chair. There's something intimidating about learning the new skill and sitting on the big potty. Ultimately, the goal is to graduate them to it as quickly as possible since it's a cleaner disposal method. The little chair is nice for taking while traveling too.
After going through cheap plastic seat after cheap plastic seat and cleaning the nasty "spills" that accumulate in all of the seams, I must bring your attention to this wonderful seat that I consider a "must-have" especially if you'll be training several young ones through the years.
Not mine- my bathroom floor is NOT that clean
The family seat with built-in potty training seat from One Step Ahead, has potty seat that is seamless and can lock into the lid. I kid you not, it has been a conversation piece when I have guests.
5.) I let them run around without any bottoms for the first day or so. Something about having an accident outside of any clothing really draws attention to what is going on. Plus, I actually had this little guy I'm working with go sit on the potty without assistance already and we didn't even know it. He couldn't have done that if he had to mess with removing his bottoms. At the very least, don't put them in pants.
6.) Don't cover the bottom with anything that even resembles a diaper. Training pants by diaper companies are a gimmick. Do an extra load of laundry or two and just use little undies. You'll save a ton of money and even more time in the process in the end because the transition will be made sooner. (And don't buy the thick centered training underwear!! Good grief those are even so expensive and won't do too much to provide additional protection for the clothes.
7.) Pick a week to start when you won't be heading out too much. You'll want to be near a potty at all times. I've no gas in the van, it's 10 degrees outside, and I've got nowhere to go anyway. A great week to start. This week of consistent training will teach them to hold it and you how long they can do it for, then you'll have more confidence when you do head out.
8.) Reward successes! Make a big production and give a little incentive. A couple dark chocolate chips are keeping my little man motivated. Number two, gets double as a reflection of our deep gratitude. Don't scold for accidents.
9.) If they don't seem like they're going to get it quickly or if the idea of it is terrifying to them (I'm not talking temper tantrum, but actual fear), take a break and come back to it in a couple of months. That time will make a difference in maturity and they will probably have forgotten the fear because it isn't being reinforced.
10.) Begin teaching proper hygiene now. Toddlers love hand washing anyway, but this is my favorite way to make sure they do it long enough.
Do you have any potty-training words of wisdom to share with us?