Start Early : that does not mean that right away your toddler should just sit on the potty and voila success! It simply means you should introduce the idea early. By 14 months, start talking about the potty and reading books about going potty. I know some parents think they should not use the word "potty" and only reference the word "toilet" because it might be confusing later. That is not true at all. By the time they are 2 or 3 years old, trust me, they know the difference so I would not worry about this when they are younger. I think toddlers like the idea of having their own potty. Just make it special for them, by talking about what a big kid they are and the rest should fall into place.
Pull-ups are not required: Yes, the idea of them is great and may be convenient at times, but I think just putting on underwear is best. Choose times or on the weekend where you will do some serious potty-training and just put on some fun undies (like Diego or Dora). They will be so excited because they have their big kid underwear on! You want to make sure to tell them not to get their special underwear dirty. In my opinion, pull-ups make it too comfortable for them to pee in them. You want it to be uncomfortable and if they pee in their undies, it will be. You could always use pull-ups when you are out of the house, but I think at home undies or even nothing is better. In the beginning, there is not much time between "mommy, pee-pee," and an accident happening.
Prizes: Oh yes, make sure you have plenty of these. "I'll give you a prize if you go pee pee in the potty." That will be your famous line. It can be anything from stickers to candy. Warning: if you use candy then good luck trying to give any other prizes again! One technique with prizes is to say, you get one sticker if you go pee and 2 stickers if you go poop. Try to make it fun, or else they will feel forced and it will make it much harder on them, and you! Make sure you follow through, like you would with anything else. If they do not go potty then they do not get a prize.
The Method: I think the way you go about potty training, all depends on your child. For some, it will work to do potty training boot camp, where you potty train for 3 days straight. During this time, they should only wear a diaper to bed. When they are awake, no diaper and prepare for lots of accidents! For others, just being patient and letting your child let you know when they are ready will work. Sometimes, a toddler really wants to go in the potty and feel like a big kid, so that just might be enough to get them to go. In the end, just relax – it is not like your toddler will be 10 (at least I hope not) and wearing a diaper !!
Outside the house: Make sure to be prepared! If you drive an SUV or Minivan, bring a potty with you. It can be very convenient and easier for you, rather than finding a bathroom. Have an extra change of clothes in the car and ask your child constantly if they have to go potty. Look for signs like the infamous pee pee dance. If an accident happens, just try to relax because you do not want your child to feel embarrassed about it.
Night time: The most stressful part of potty training can be bedtime. You may think: how could your child possibly get through the whole night? Just leave this part for the very last stage to worry about. Focus on during the day and just have your toddler wear a pull-up or diaper at night. When you are finally ready for this stage, make sure a potty is close to the bed. Have a new sheet and pajamas nearby, just in case they wake up from wetting the bed. If it does not happen at first, it could also be that they just are not ready to hold their pee through the night. Be patient and eventually your child will be fully potty trained.
Boys: The best tip for a boy is to have them sit for peeing, when you first start potty training. Just make sure their peepee is pointed down! He has enough to think about and you do not want to overwhelm him with lots of information. As time goes on, you can introduce the idea of standing up to go pee. The best thing to do is for him to see daddy go pee in the bathroom. What ?! Yes, it makes perfect sense. We lead by example and now he can be just like daddy. It will work!
Girls: I have heard that girls are easier to potty train than boys. I'm not sure if that is true, but maybe it has to do with the fact that usually mom is the one doing the potty training. Something to pay attention to with girls is proper wiping. Yes, we all know "front to back," but introduce this early on, before she wanted to do it herself (do not want any infections).
If you follow the advice above and try not to stress yourself out about potty training, it will just happen. Try to be consistent and remember that toddlers are smart and at this age want to feel like a big kid. Make it special and before you know it, you will have a toddler that is potty trained.