How to Potty Train a 15-Month-Old

Mother potty training son (15-18 months)
Potty training requires patience. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

No parent or expert will deny the fact that potty training is difficult and requires patience and flexibility. Dr. Alan Greene explains that parents should be prepared for setbacks. Training a 15-month-old toddler to use the toilet may be possible if she exhibits several of the necessary readiness indicators. Dr. Greene identifies these flags as mimicking Mom or Dad, exhibiting frustration when things are not in their place, undressing herself, showing signs of pride in accomplishments, exhibiting curiosity about the toilet and genitals, talking about "pee and poop," or showing a hint of awareness before pee or poop occur. Some children aren't ready as soon though. While most show an interest between 18 and 24 months, some children are 2 1/2 before they are ready to potty train, according to HealthyChildren.org.

Step 1

Demonstrate proper use of the toilet for your toddler. Take him with you every time you use the bathroom. The more comfortable you are with him watching you, the more comfortable he will feel regarding the use of the toilet. As uncomfortable as it may be at first, it is helpful to tell your toddler that you "pee pee" in the toilet and that you’re doing a "good job." Show him every step of the process, and talk him through it. Tell him you are taking off your pants, going potty, flushing the toilet and now washing your hands like a big kid does.

Step 2

Watch for signs that your child may need to use the toilet. She may strain, tug on clothes, retreat to a private area, shift from foot to foot or become perfectly still as if she were concentrating on something. Point these signs out to your child. Tell her she must need to use the big girl toilet. Dr. Greene warns against asking if your child needs to go to the toilet and instead recommends that you tell her it is time to use it. This approach prevents any denial of needing to eliminate, as a child may be ashamed or shy about the act at first.

Step 3

Take your child to the toilet, and ask him if he wants to pee pee or poo poo in the toilet. If he is receptive, then allow him to try. He may not produce anything, but the act of trying will help him understand what is going on.

Step 4

Dress your child in training pants when you begin the act of taking her to the toilet to make the process resemble your demonstration more closely.

Step 5

Throw the waste found in diapers into the toilet, and tell your child what you’re doing. This act can help him understand where poop and pee belong. Never reprimand your child for soiling his diaper or training pants, because this only teaches your child to be ashamed of the act of eliminating waste. Instead, cheer him on with each success or attempt, and encourage positive behavior.

Step 6

Allow your child to run around naked often. Dr. Greene explains that this behavior can improve your child’s awareness of the act of eliminating waste.

Step 7

Keep reinforcing positive behaviors and demonstrating the proper use of the toilet. A 15-month-old is still very young and may require longer to potty train than an older child. As long as your child is exhibiting the signs of readiness, she will eventually succeed in potty training.

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