A Simple Guide to Toilet Training
Tips and Tricks To Potty Training
Ask any veteran parent and they will tell potty training is one of the most difficult and trying times for both parents and kids. It’s a time filled with tears, frustration, and lots of accidents. Sadly it’s also a process for which there are no clear cut rules or directions. Potty training my first child was a nightmare. There were times I wondered if I would be sending her to high school still in diapers. Fortunately, things eventually clicked and my daughter started using the big girl potty the accidents decreased and it wasn’t long until I had a fully potty trained big girl. I learned some valuable lesson through that process and some simple tips and tricks that I used when it came time to potty train my son. The second time around was a breeze.
Pay Attention to Your Child's Cues
The first and probably most important lesson to learn when toilet training is to pay attention to your child cues, and don’t start toilet training until they are ready. Just because your neighbors kid was trained by 2 that doesn’t mean you should put that same time constraint on yourself or your child. This creates unnecessary stress and pressure for both you and your toddler. Every child is different, some children may begin to gain bladder control at 2 ½ where as other children may be 3 or even older before they gain control. Either way you should wait to introduce the potty until they are ready. Again every child is different but a few signs to look for include:
- Staying dry through out the night- with all of my kids this was one of the first signs they exhibited. If you get your child up in the morning and notice that they are often dry it’s a good indicator that they are beginning to gain bladder control.
- Having an interest in the toilet– take your child to the bathroom with you , do they ask questions about what your doing? Seem interested in sitting on the toilet themselves, or even just flushing it? If so nurture this enthusiasm . This shows their curious and that curiosity can be turned into excitement.
- Holding themselves or squatting when they need to go- For some kids they recognize the urge to go. This is a great sign that it’s time to begin training but often times this cue may come after training has already begun
- Letting you know they need a diaper change- For my son this was a big flag he was ready. He started letting me know right away when he was wet.
- Taking off their diaper when it’s been soiled- As toddlers mature they begin to recognize when their diaper is soiled and may take it off because they don’t like the feeling. This is yet another cue that it’s time to introduce the potty.
Getting Your Toddler Involved
Once you have determined that your child is ready start slow. This is a process and for a toddler it’s a big change it can seem overwhelming so don’t rush it. Let your child have some control over the situation. I promise you that a toddler who feels like an active participant in toilet training is going to do far better than one who feels like they are being forced. Try taking them to the bathroom with you and explain what your doing. Ask them if they want to sit on the potty but don’t force. Let them flush the toilet and make it fun to hear the noise of the potty flushing and watching the water to down. You can try taking them to the store and buying underwear with their favorite characters. Make it seem exciting their a big girl and this is what big girls do. You can try making up a silly song or dance to do when it’s time to sit on the potty or after they have finished.
Set an Alarm
Set an alarm. This was a great tool for my kids I would set an alarm for every two hours and when the alarm would go off that would signal it was time to sit on the potty. I would sing a silly song that we made up together about going to the potty and this would keep my kids interested and excited. It’s important to remember that kids at that age have a short attention span so having them sit on the toilet for long periods of time is probably not the best practice. I started with 2-3 mins at a time or until they said they had enough. If my kids lost interest after a few moments that was ok. There’s always next time. Try not to have unrealistic expectations. It’s perfectly normal for training to take some time.
Make it a big deal, if and when your child goes in the toilet or potty chair make a huge deal about it. Give them tons of praise this allows them to feel proud of themselves and gives you both something to celebrate. Nurture their confidence show them your proud. This boosts their self esteem and helps them feel accomplished. If they don’t go or they have an accident remember not to get frustrated or punish them. This will set you both backward and those negative feelings will keep them in diapers a lot longer.
Create a Schedule
Keep a routine and be consistent, kids thrive with routines this is true with pretty much everything that goes along with raising a toddler and It’s the same with toilet training. Try creating a routine around other daily events. For example first thing in the morning, before/after meals, before/ after nap time, etc… Having a routine like this will minimize the complaints and trials of using the bathroom. Something that happens every day at the same time allows your child to anticipate the activity and reduces the need to fight against it. Stay consistent you want your little one using the potty. Not keeping to your established routine, or failing to take them to the potty when they need to go creates confusion. The last thing you want is a partially trained child who reverts back to using diapers. Accidents are going to happen and that’s ok, but staying consistent with the routine will keep everyone moving toward achieving the ultimate goal.
Get Others Involved
Get relatives or your child care provider involved. If someone other than you will be caring for your little one during this time make sure they keep the same schedule and process your doing. Talk your plans over with your child care provider before you even begin that way you can both be on the same page. Consistency makes all the difference.
Finally Relax and Be Patient
Most important of all relax and be patient. Prepare yourself for lots of accidents , trial and error to find the right method for you and your little one, and a demand on your time It may seem difficult when your approaching potty training but remember it’s also a precious time. By the end of it your little one will be taking a huge step toward independence. This time should be fun, and a time to make important memories. It will also go along way in developing your child's self confidence if you show love support, and patience.