Parent-led potty training for toddlers

A look at Parent- led potty training method by psychologists Azrin and Fox.

The Comprehensive Guide To Potty Training  detailed the crucial steps to potty training starting with when to start training. After determining a child is ready to start the process, the next step is to determine the particular method to use. In The Comprehensive Guide To Potty Training, several different methods were presented that have gained traction over the years. One such method that has garnered a substantial amount of praise over the years from successful parents is the Azrin and Fox method or parent-led potty training.

What is the Azrin and Fox Method or Parent-Led Potty Training?

Also known as The Potty Training In Less Than a Day Method, Nathan Azrin and Richard Foxx, two behavioral psychologists who championed this parent-led potty- training method, which emphasizes a personalized approach that hinges on the readiness of the child rather than a predetermined schedule.

Breaking the Mold: The parent-led method kicks tradition to the curb. Forget about waiting for a specific age or adhering to a strict timetable. Azrin and Fox encourage parents to be the captains of the ship, steering the course based on their child’s unique cues and signals of readiness.

Key Principles of Parent-Led Potty Training

  • Watch for Readiness Signs: Rather than following a one-size-fits-all timeline, the parent-led method places a premium on parental observation. Look for signs that your little one might be ready – from showing interest in the potty to keeping their diapers dry for longer stretches.
  • Positive Reinforcement is the Star: If positive reinforcement were a superhero, it would be the star of the parent-led show. Azrin and Fox advocate for heaps of praise and rewards whenever your little one successfully uses the potty. It’s all about creating positive associations with the process.
  • Active Parental Involvement: In the parent-led approach, parents aren’t mere spectators. They're active participants in the journey. From introducing the potty to celebrating victories, parents play a crucial role in making the process a collaborative and positive experience.

Insights from Jen Lumanlan's Research Paper

Who is Jen Lumanlan? Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let's give a nod to Jen Lumanlan, the brains behind the research paper "How to Potty Train a Child." Her work, released in 2017, provides an insightful lens into the world of potty training, adding depth to the principles of Azrin and Fox.

Observation as a Power Tool: Lumanlan echoes the importance of keen observation in potty training. Her research suggests that parents should be attuned to their child's behaviors, noting cues and signs of readiness. It's not a race against the clock but a dance to the rhythm of your child's development.

Personalized Approach: Lumanlan's research underlines the significance of a personalized approach. Every child is unique, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Flexibility is key, adapting the method to suit the pace and preferences of the child.

Communication and Understanding: Effective communication is a cornerstone of successful potty training, according to Lumanlan. Verbal communication and understanding your child's cues create a strong foundation for a smoother transition from diapers to the potty.

What is A Day in the Life of Parent-Led Potty Training Like?

Morning Wake-Up: The parent-led journey often begins with a morning routine. Parents check if the diaper is dry, a potential sign that the child might be ready for the next step.

Introduction to the Potty: As the day unfolds, parents introduce the concept of the potty. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Some children may be curious and eager, while others might need a gentle introduction. Part one of the Azrin-Fox Method utilizes a doll sitting on the potty with the child guiding the child in potty training and offering a reward to the doll for using the potty. The child then checks their diaper to make sure it is dry and gets a reward if it is. Then the child checks the dolls diaper and reprimands the doll for going in it's diaper and corrects the behavior. Then the child checks his pants and sits on the toilet every 15 minutes.

Celebrating Small Wins: Positive reinforcement is the engine that propels parent-led potty training. Every small success, from sitting on the potty to using it successfully, is met with celebration, praise, and perhaps a small reward.

Accidents Happen: Embracing accidents is a fundamental principle. Rather than viewing them as setbacks, parents are encouraged to respond with patience and encouragement, understanding that they are part of the learning process.

Consistency is Key: While flexibility is prized, consistency is equally important. Establishing a routine and maintaining a positive atmosphere around potty time helps children feel secure and supported.

Addressing Common Concerns

When Should I Start?

Parent-led potty training isn't about a specific age. It's more about recognizing signs of readiness. Lumanlan suggests starting when your child is showing curiosity and awareness. Azrin-Fox maintain that around 20 months of age parents should look for the following readiness signs: staying dry for several hours at a time, being able to walk from spot to spot and the ability to follow simple directions.

What If My Child Resists?

Resistance is normal. Lumanlan’s research suggests that initial resistance is common but often dissipates with consistent positive reinforcement.

How Long Will It Take?

Duration varies. Lumanlan emphasizes that each child progresses at their own pace, and comparing timelines is not productive. Complete potty training is unlikely to occur in 24 hours under any circumstances.

Final Thoughts

The parent-led potty training method, as championed by Azrin and Fox, provides a refreshing perspective that places parents in the driver's seat. Coupled with insights from Jen Lumanlan's research paper, it becomes a valuable tool in the parenting toolkit. Remember, every child is on their unique journey, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. So, here’s to celebrating the small wins, embracing the occasional mishap, and navigating the potty training adventure with a sense of humor and a whole lot of love. Happy potty training!


Sure, here's a presentation based on the information provided:

The Comprehensive Guide To Potty Training


  • Key Steps: When to start, selecting a method
  • Focus: Azrin and Fox Method (Parent-Led Potty Training)

The Azrin and Fox Method

  • Also Known As: Potty Training in Less Than a Day
  • Developed By: Nathan Azrin and Richard Foxx, behavioral psychologists
  • Approach: Personalized, based on child's readiness rather than a fixed schedule

Breaking the Mold

  • Traditional vs. Parent-Led:
    • Traditional: Fixed age and strict timetable
    • Parent-Led: Based on child's unique cues and readiness

Key Principles

  1. Watch for Readiness Signs:

    • Interest in the potty
    • Keeping diapers dry longer
  2. Positive Reinforcement:

    • Praise and rewards for successes
    • Creating positive associations
  3. Active Parental Involvement:

    • Parents guide and celebrate each step

Insights from Jen Lumanlan's Research

  • Who is Jen Lumanlan?
    • Author of "How to Potty Train a Child" (2017)
  • Key Insights:
    • Observation: Key to recognizing readiness
    • Personalized Approach: Adapt methods to suit each child
    • Communication: Essential for understanding cues and fostering cooperation

A Day in the Life of Parent-Led Potty Training

  1. Morning Routine:

    • Check if diaper is dry
  2. Introduction to the Potty:

    • Use a doll to demonstrate and reward behaviors
  3. Celebrating Small Wins:

    • Praise and small rewards for each success
  4. Handling Accidents:

    • Patience and encouragement
  5. Consistency:

    • Maintain a routine and positive atmosphere

Addressing Common Concerns

  • When Should I Start?

    • Look for readiness signs around 20 months
  • What If My Child Resists?

    • Normal resistance can be managed with positive reinforcement
  • How Long Will It Take?

    • Varies by child; no fixed timeline

Final Thoughts

  • Parent-Led Method: Empowers parents to tailor the process
  • Individual Journeys: Each child is unique, no one-size-fits-all
  • Celebrate and Support: Focus on small wins and handle mishaps with humor and love

Happy Potty Training!

  • Embrace the journey with patience, consistency, and positivity


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