No more diapers, wipes or lugging around a giant diaper bag with all the necessities! It's potty training time and one step closer to your toddler's independence. Once mastered, you can expect a confidence boost in your youngster as they learn a vital life skill. While the road to potty training isn't simple, there will be accidents, tears, and frustration - but the outcome is worth it!
Take a look at our tips to help you on this very important journey.
Often times, children are excited to learn something new, especially if it makes them feel older, stronger or smarter. They like to mimic their favorite adults, and what better to mimic than going to the potty? Familiarize your child with the bathroom and how the toilet works. Judging their readiness for potty training depends on their behavior. Are they telling you when they need to use the bathroom? Are they excited about using a "big kid" potty? Are they bothered by a dirty diaper?
Choose a time period when you will have more option to spend encouraging and teaching your child to use the potty. Three days in a row works best to start to cement the process in their minds. Try a long weekend if that works with your schedule.
Once you've determined that your child is ready to move forward with potty training, get them psyched up. Shop for their new "big kid" underwear and let them pick out what they like so they can get excited about it. Purchase Pull-Up type diapers for nighttime wear if you feel inclined to in the beginning.
Let them anticipate the training as they would some other thrilling event such as a birthday party.
The Big Day
On the first day, let your child wear the new underwear so that they can become accustomed to the feel of it. Have the potty set up in the most convenient bathroom possible. Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids to inspire the need to urinate. Keep an eye out for signals that they need to use the potty.
When you receive your first signal, take them to the bathroom immediately. If they do not urinate or defecate, set a timer for 20 minutes and try again. Continue this pattern so the child can get used to the system. Ensure your child washes their hands appropriately after every attempt.
If you child isn't interested in training at that moment, let them know that you will be headed to the bathroom to try again after a task of your choosing. For example, if your child is fussy and doesn't want to try to use the potty, let them know that after they are done playing with a toy or cleaning them up, they will be going to the potty again to try. Use this to become part of your routine every day. Great times to use are; before meals try the potty, before going outside to play or before leaving the house.
The Next Few Days
Ensure that the other adults in the home know what the program is and how to react appropriately to the child when they alert them to needing to use the bathroom.
Continue on the same plan, depending on which method works best for your child. Use various motivators such as stickers, gold stars or small treats. During this time it's important to remain emotionally neutral and to stay on task no matter how difficult it becomes. The frustration or anger you show your child can inhibit their ability to fully understand and learn this task.
Use Pull-Ups for naps or nighttime until your child can determine when they need to go and get the hang of using the bathroom.
A Few Final Notes
When preparing to leave the home, have your child use the bathroom.
Bring a change of clothes in case of accidents.
Make other caregivers aware of particular signals the child gives when they need to go.
Take the portable potty with you when you leave the house if appropriate.