1 Watch for signs. A child is probably ready to start toilet training when you notice he stays dry for 1 1/2 hours, stops play to have a bowel movement, and shows an interest in the toilet and how others go to the bathroom.

2 Be alert to schedules. Note the times of day when a child has bowel movements. Help her to be successful with her training by reminding her in advance that she may need to go to the bathroom. Provide extra toileting time before naps, outdoor play, or field trips.

3 Make the process relaxing. To help a child relax, try soft music and reading a book while initiating the toileting process.

4 Eliminate clothing obstacles. Make sure children don't have accidents because of clothes with complicated fasteners (overall buckles, tough snaps, tiny buttons) they cannot undo independently. Ask parents to dress their children in outfits that slip off easily.

5 Expect accidents! When accidents happen, treat them matter-of-factly and calmly suggest the child might feel more comfortable in a dry change of clothes. Praise children when they are successful with their toileting. However, be careful of using rewards, as this can become a problem when accidents occur.

6 Use familiar language. Learn and use whatever toileting words the child is comfortable with ("tinkle," "BM," "pee") so you can quickly respond to his urgent request.

7 Accommodate flushing fascination. Some children wish to see their bowel movements and want to watch where they go when they flush. Other children are frightened by the loud sound. Let them flush with you there for security.

8 Illustrate toileting steps. Use posters with sequential drawings to show children the proper steps in toileting procedures.

9 Teach handwashing. Carefully supervise these handwashing procedures: Rinse hands under warm running water, then lather with liquid soap, rubbing vigorously. Rub soap lather between fingers, around the nails, and on the backs of hands. Rinse under running water while holding hands lower than wrists to prevent recontamination. Dry with a paper towel, then use it to turn off the faucets to avoid recontamination. Dispose of the paper towel properly.

10 Sing a handwashing song. For thorough handwashing, hands should be rubbed together for at least 10 seconds. To make these 10 seconds fun, try singing this to the tune of "Row-Row-Row Your Boat": Lather, lather, lather, the soap. Rub your hands together. Scrub them, scrub them, scrub them, scrub them. Wash the germs away!