Now that your toddler has shown signs that he/she is ready to start potty training, it is time for parents to lay the groundwork for success. It is important throughout this process to remember that accidents will happen but to remain patient, positive and to always encourage your little ones. Keep in mind that all children learn at a different pace and there is no concrete rule that potty training should be achieved by a certain age or within a specific time frame. The following are tips to help smooth the transition from diapers to “big kid” underpants.
Purchase a potty chair or a removable trainer seat that attaches to your regular toilet along with a step stool. Figure out which option would work best for your child. Some children are timid of using the toilet from fear of falling in or dislike the loud noise of the flush. Have your little ones sit on the potty or trainer seat from time to time to get accustomed to it and let them flush the toilet to get used to the sound.
Because children learn by imitation, allowing them to watch you or an older sibling use the bathroom is a natural way to teach them proper potty use. It is also helpful to discuss the steps of going to the bathroom such as how you know when it is time to go, what happens on the toilet, how to wipe with toilet paper, how to pull up your underwear, flush the toilet and wash your hands. You may also want to read potty-themed books together to facilitate your child absorbing all this new information and get familiar with the process.
Have your child sit on the potty or the toilet without a diaper for a couple minutes at 2-hour intervals as well as first thing in the morning and following nap time. Keep your child company by talking, reading to him/her or giving a toy to play with. But allow your child to get up if he or she wants to. Encouragement and patience are key and when your little ones use the potty successfully, shower them with praise.
Small prizes such as a sticker or pennies to put in their piggy banks keeps children motivated to use the potty. They will start to understand that going on the potty is an accomplishment and relish the positive reinforcement.
Be sure to alert your child’s teacher, caregiver and babysitter that you have embarked on the potty-training journey. Inform them of your established routine, what visual cues to be on the lookout for and your reward system.
Potty training is not easy by any means for both parents and children so throughout the process, keep in mind that setbacks are completely normal. When they happen, don’t get angry or discouraged and punish your child. Instead, reduce the chances of accidents by dressing them in attire that can be removed quickly, remind them to go sit on the toilet every few hours and watch for visual cues that may indicate they have to go to the bathroom.
Always remember that potty training takes time and patience. No matter how long it takes for your little one to master this skill, just know that it will happen eventually. Don’t give up, handle setbacks gracefully and most importantly, stay positive. One day you will be able to pat yourself on the back and say goodbye to diapers!