Ah, potty-training. Those who find it easy are a happy minority. Those who find it horrifying are all too common. There is no easier way, only methods with different levels of work at different stages. So let’s go over what your options are.


Most work in infancy: Elimination Communication

Elimination Communication, or EC, is touted as the most natural and easiest method of potty-training. The proponents say that waiting until “the child is ready” is propaganda created by diaper manufacturers. And indeed, if you use EC, you don’t get any of the power struggles toddlers tend to put you through.

The way it works, basically, is that you learn while your child is an infant what their elimination habits are, and transition to using the toilet as soon as possible. This means that your child may not need more than a few weeks of diapers. The downside is that this can feel overwhelming.


Most Tenuous: Child-led

The way this works is you furnish the child with a potty seat or step-stool, and then wait and let them figure it out on their own. This is the least work for you, but unless you have a self-motivated child, this is a fairly slow and potentially ineffective method.


Most Tidy: Training Pants

Training pants have the distinct advantage of containing accidents, so you’ll have less work to do cleaning up after your child. The idea is that the child will feel themselves start to be wet, and then know to go to the toilet. The drawback is that they’ve had wet diapers their whole lives, and by the time they’re big enough for training pants, they’re pretty desensitized to the feeling.


Most Parents Cave to: The Reward System

In the reward system, any system is sweetened by the promise of a reward that the child may have for a successful potty.


Most Popular: The Three-Day Method

The three-day method’s main principle is focusing on keeping clothing dry. The child is put in underwear and taken to the toilet on a regular schedule, and given a reward if they have dry clothes at the scheduled time, or if they potty successfully. The goal of this method is to be intensive for a few days at once.

What you’ll end up using:

Probably some combination of the above, as you figure out what works for your circumstances and specific child.