As a psychologist I am firm believer in positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is the strategy of rewarding someone for expected, good, and/or desired behavior. In the case of potty training and our daughter we praise and reward her after any elimination into the toilet.
If you're reading this blog post because youre looking for ideas know that there is nothing hard or magical about this strategy. Anyone can do it. All you need for this to be successful is a commitment to being 100% committed.
Before starting my recommendation is to choose a positive reinforcer or reward and make it sacred. Make this something your child only gets when successfully telling you, sitting on the toilet, and going potty in the toilet. In my house we have chosen Welch's fruit snacks. She never gets these as a snack and before starting training she had never had them.
As of today these are working beautifully. When our daughter goes #1 she gets two and #2 three. If she sits on the toilet without going I reward her for at least trying. To make the event even more rewarding myself and my husband do a little potty dance. It's extremely silly, but its so cute seeing her face light up that we get positively reinfoced also. :)
I cannot say this strategy will work for everyone, but it's working for us. There is also no magic age to begin. We began introducing the toilet when she would wake up dry from a nap. We knew her body was ready then. Never push a child too early that may lead to power struggles between child and parent. I have no specific research to back that up, Ive just read a lot about it. Finally, I would strongly recomend introducing the reinforcer when you start training. If you've already started it's okay. Look for a tasty treat and remember the key is to only give the treat for positive potty behavior.
I wish you all the luck in your potty training adventures. FYI: our daughter successfully wore potty training panties all day with no accidents. Our next step is to get her to tell us she needs go without us having to ask or take her every 30 to 60 minutes. Maybe I need to find a special treat for that. More on that later. ;)