Potty Training Tips from family consultant - *Bonus* Tip:
How to do the Toilet Training Doll method

In this article: Family Consultant Alona explains how to do the toilet training doll method.

(This page is a Bonus part of our series 'Potty Training Tips from experts'.)


Alona Oren:

Family Consultant certified by "Maagalim" Psychology Institute and the Ministry of Education (Israel) * Parenting Facilitator certified by Adler Institute and the Ministry of Education (Israel)

Alona bases her work widely on the Adlerian psychology school (see Adlerian psychology--Wikipedia), and combines other approaches such as behavioral - cognitive psychology and Imago Relationship Therapy.

The information presented in this page is based on a two-hours 'interview' I conducted with Alona on January 2012.

The toilet training doll method, Alona says, has been proven effective when:

  1. Child is 3 years old and above.
  2. Potty Training has been carried on for a while, and we need to "turn it up a notch": there isn’t a serious problem but the child is not “getting there” either.

The doll method is based on a simple principle that says - the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else.

How does it work?

Preparation steps:

  • First we buy a toilet training doll, which is any kind of doll that can pee water and comes with a potty.
  • We let the child pick up a name for the doll.
  • Then we say something like: “The dolly (use her name) has to be potty trained. Do you think you can teach her to how make pee in the potty? ... I think you can. ... Let’s see how we can teach her to do that.”
  • We give the child the ownership on teaching the doll, even though we are going to do it with him.


Now we start:

  • We give the doll some water to drink
  • We make sure the child drinks often throughout the day, whether it’s water or juice.
  • Together with the child, we teach the doll step-by-step how to make pee in the potty: walk her to the potty, take off diaper if she has one, tell her what she has to do, etc.
  • When the doll successfully makes pee in the potty, we get very excited: “Wow!! Did you see that?!”
    We throw a party: balloons, songs and dances… Anything goes.

    We talk about the doll’s success. For example, let's say the doll's name is Roberta. Say stuff like - "Yes! our Roberta rules!" ... “Roberta is awesome, isn’t she?” ... "We are proud of Roberta"
  • Now we do it a second time: “Let’s see if Roberta (the doll) can do that again!”. We give the doll water to drink, and make sure the child also drinks.
  • This time we ask the child if he wants to try too (to make pee in the potty like the doll just did).
  • If he says NO, we respect that and we don’t push him.

  • We do the “doll exercise” again, and we ask him - again.
  • Persistent "loop": We repeat the exercise, and we ask the child every time if he wants to try too (“What do you say? … Would you like to try?”)
  • When he finally says YES, we throw him a party like we did for the doll.

Around the 9th time, Alona says - even reluctant kids will agree to try it themselves.

More tips on toilet training doll method:

(Tips for after the child has said yes - and succeeded to make pee in the potty)

Question: How many parties should we have?

Alona: We can continue with the parties a few more times or until the end of the day even. We can have another party with dad when he comes home, or with another family member that wasn’t there for the first few times.

And here's a suggestion on how to make the “wow effect” even bigger:

Make a pretend phone call to your kid’s favorite superhero and let the child tell him about the good news. (Have an actual person pick up the phone and impersonate the superhero.)


Last but not least, Alona reminds us: As long as the child says NO (doesn't want to try going in the potty) - we have to respect that. Once he says YES – we can "go crazy".

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