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How to Potty Train a 20-Month-Old

author image Erin Carson
A former children's librarian and teacher living in Dallas, Erin Carson loves to share her knowledge of both literature and parenting through her writing. Carson has a master's degree in library science and a bachelor's degree in English literature. As a freelance writer, Carson has published numerous articles on various websites.
How to Potty Train a 20-Month-Old
Mother teaching daughter to use a potty Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Children often begin to exhibit signs that they are ready to undertake the process of potty training somewhere between 18 to 24 months, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. These signs include staying dry for two or more hours, displaying an interest in using the toilet and communicating that they need a diaper change. Due to her young age, potty training a 20-month-old will require dedication and commitment on both of your parts. Proceed slowly and prepare to back off if your child exhibits strong signs of reluctance or unwillingness.

Step 1

Take your child shopping for a potty chair and training pants or underwear. Dr. William Sears, pediatrician and author of “The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two,“ suggests that a toddler is more likely to use a potty he chooses himself.

Step 2

Spend some time helping her become familiar with the potty training process. Toddlers often resist change of any type -- and the move from using a diaper to using the toilet is a big one. Read books about the potty, sing songs and watch movies. Teri Crane, the author of “Potty Train your Child in Just ONE Day,“ advises letting her watch you or a playmate use the toilet so she can become more familiar with the process.

Step 3

Remove his clothing from the waist down while he plays in the backyard or around the home. This can help him make the connection between “feeling and going“ according to Sears. When you notice signs he needs to go, gently ask him “Go peepee?“ or “Go poop?“ to give him the words he can use to describe what he feels.

Step 4

Take your child to the bathroom at regular intervals to sit on her potty. You can make the most of these breaks by planning them at times when your child normally moves her bowels or urinates. After a few successful potty deposits, children often start to understand the concept of using the potty.

Step 5

Graduate him from diapers. Once your toddler gets the hang of using the potty, he can start wearing loose clothing and underwear or training pants. Accidents will happen and cloth training pants can help absorb some of the mess while still letting your child feel a sensation of wetness.

Step 6

Reinforce her training. Remind your toddler throughout the day to use the potty, especially after meals and before leaving the house. Peter Stavinoha, author and clinical neuropsychologist at Children‘s Medical Center of Dallas, urges parents to tell children to use the potty -- not to ask -- since toddlers usually say “no.“

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