Of all the issues parents face, one of the most challenging is potty training. No matter how many articles you read or how many other moms you talk to, each child handles potty training differently and brings a new set of headaches. It can take six weeks—or it can take six months.

No matter how long it takes to toilet train your child, there will be times when you feel like your toddler will be the only kid in high school still wearing diapers! Don’t despair, because your child really will get potty trained eventually. Here are a few toilet training tips to make it less painful for both of you.

1. Don’t push too early

Some parents turn toilet training into a competition, with bragging rights going to the mom who gets her child out of diapers at the earliest age. Refuse to enter this race, because you can’t win. Your child will get toilet trained when s/he is ready, and pushing for potty use too early is likely to incite rebellion.

2. Start small

Don’t expect a two-year-old to climb up on the toilet right away. Start out with a kid-size potty that sits low to the ground and put it where the child spends most of his/her time. Gradually move the potty closer and closer to the bathroom, then work up to a seat on top of the toilet.

3. Bribes work

Some mums have managed to get their offspring to use the potty by offering rewards, like lollies or money—one for pee, two for poop, three if they wipe. Little boys can get extra credit for aiming at the potty rather than the wall. While this ploy is likely to offer immediate rewards, it can also set you up to have an older (and more devious) child demanded rewards for doing homework or eating vegetables.

4. So does praise. Lots of it

Toileting isn’t easy for your kid, either. When he or she succeeds in using the potty, bring on the praise. Act as thrilled as if the child won an Olympic gold medal or the lottery. Clap your hands and cheer. Give the toddler your undivided attention and reward this accomplishment with hugs and kisses.

5. If at first you don’t succeed…

Try putting the child on the potty every 10 minutes until something happens. Sooner or later, your child will have to go. Then go to 15, then 20. With time, your toddler will develop a predictable rhythm. Soon, your potty training days will be over!

What are your best potty training tips?