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Cold Turkey Potty Training

There are many approaches to toilet training. At one end of the spectrum is the belief that “it will happen when it happens.” This camp believes that children are rarely not trained when they are in grade one. The peer pressure in kindergarten may be the final Waterloo. At the other end of the spectrum is the “cold turkey” toilet training approach. This school of thought goes straight from diapers to regular underwear, bypassing the
disposable training pants such as pull-ups altogether.

The cold turkey method aims to minimize confusion for toddlers. Training pants are used only for sleep or naps so that there is more awareness of the discomfort of a wet or dirty event and more motivation to use the potty. This method is messy and “accidents” are expected.

A recent article in the Toronto Star also cited another motivation for the cold turkey method. There is substantial cost saving, up to 100 dollars a month in pull-ups!


The time it takes to achieve training success is variable but the average is 2 to 4 weeks.

•One particular site “theunemployedmom.com” suggests the following tips:

  • Commit to staying home during the training process.
  • Be a parrot Your toddler has a million things on his or her mind and most likely, using the potty isn’t one of them. Constantly ask “do you have to go potty”. You will feel like a broken record, but trust me they need the reminder.
  • Use a process and stay consistent 
  • Use a potty that your child is comfortable with
  • Stay strong! 
  • Be patient and have a sense of humor. Remember, this too shall pass.
  • Keep it fun and positive! Go crazy and celebrate when your child has success.

Cold Turkey Potty training is indeed a labour of love and laundry!

Dr. Bhooma Bhayana is a family physician in London and the mother of two young men and proud grandmother of three! She continues to find wonder and enjoyment in family practice despite more than 30 years on the job!


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