The most successful strategies for potty-training include showing and talking them through each step. I take it even a step further: I role-play with my kids while I'm potty-training.
1. I will choose a time of the day when I am with my child and say out loud, "Oh no! I have to go potty!" I try to act like they would--concerned and worried. I even hop around!
2. I actually ask the child, "Abby, what should I do? I have potty! What do I do!?!"
3. I let the child tell me that I should go to the bathroom/potty.
4. I ask, "Will you help me find they potty? Will you take me?" And I put my hand out for them to lead me.
5. When we get to the bathroom, I ask the child, "Now what do I do? How do I go potty?"
6. I let the child instruct me to prepare to use the potty, and I follow their instructions. Then I let the child tell me to sit on the potty, and I follow their instructions and do it.
7. While I am using the potty, I talk about what is happening. I might say, "Oh, I don't need my potty any more, so I let it come out and go into the toilet. I feel so much better to let my potty out!" OR "Even though I was having fun, I'm glad that I took a break from playing to come and use the potty!" OR "Hey! I can hear my potty! I'm doing it!!"
8. I ask what to do now that my potty is out and let them tell me that I need to get tissue paper. I ask them to hand me some tissue. I take the tissue from them and I talk out loud as I wipe (for girls I say, "Front to back to keep myself clean!")
9. I say, "Now I am done, what do I do?" I let them direct me to stand and get re-dressed.
10. I act super happy, "Oh, I feel so good to have my potty out. THANK YOU for helping me!! Can I have a hug??" I give the child a big hug.
11. At this point, I might casually ask if they would like to go. If they say no, then it's not big deal, we get on with our day. If they say yes, then I stay and ask them questions about what they are doing and have the child explain out loud to me the process of going potty.
I KNOW that many parents will find this just unthinkable to do with their child. And I have obviously shared a very embarrassing toilet-training method that I use! But I really do believe in it--enough to publicly tell-all!!
But after having three little girls, I have found that this method dispels fears, shows children that even Mommy goes potty, and lets the child practice the potty process by having them direct the parent to use the potty.
This method also worked when one of my girls became afraid to use the potty--I allowed her to help and direct me in using the potty and I showed her that it's an easy process with nothing to fear.