Although all parents anticipate the day when their child can use the toilet independently, many worry about the process of potty training. Most people like it because it represents their baby’s maturation. Not only that, but you can expect some frustrations and possibly even power struggles over which you have no control. It can also be quite messy! So here are useful strategies you can use for a smooth potty-training process.
Remember that potty training is a journey as unique as your child, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. When you notice your child doing one or more of the following, you will know they are ready to begin potty training.
- Staying dry for longer periods of time throughout the day, including naps and overnight.
- When his (or her) diaper is wet or dirty, ask for a clean one.
- Hiding to have a bowel movement.
- Having a general fascination with the bathroom.
- Impersonating the actions of adults.
- Being able to understand and follow simple instructions.
Your child should also be able to communicate effectively, either verbally or nonverbally. He should also be proficient in gross motor skills, such as sitting and walking. Of course, abilities vary with age, and other factors, such as developmental delays or disabilities, may also be present. Potty training typically begins between the ages of 22 and 28 months.
Of course, age is not the only factor. The importance of timing cannot be overstated. You’ll want to start potty training when life is as normal as possible, which means no major changes. Potty training should be avoided during a move, divorce, or the arrival of a new sibling. By avoiding these times, you can help prevent regression.
When you and your toddler are ready to begin potty training, there are some basic procedures to follow to ensure a successful experience.
Make yourself ready.
The first step, which many parents overlook, is to get yourself ready! It is equally important to prepare yourself for potty training as it is to prepare your child. Having a newly potty-trained child can be a significant adjustment, so take some time to mentally prepare for the upcoming changes. You should also be prepared to commit fully and maintain consistency.
If you decide to start potty training, you should keep some diapers on hand just in case, but you should avoid switching between diapers and underwear. It helps to avoid confusion and ensures that your child understands what is expected of him. You should also believe in your child and yourself! A positive attitude will get you far.
To select the optimal strategy for teaching your kid to use the toilet, you need to think about a few things. Gender, believe it or not, is not one of them! There is no difference between pottying boys and pottying girls. The personality type of your child will largely determine the outcome of your potty-training experience. Stubborn or resistant to change, children are more difficult to potty train.
They will need some extra preparation to get on board with the process. Potty training is easier with easygoing children. They can adjust to the changes that come with potty training much more quickly. So, before you begin potty training, you should determine your child’s personality type and the best way for him to learn.
Make sure your child is ready.
In addition to preparing yourself for the changes that potty training will bring, you should spend some time preparing your child rather than jumping in headfirst.
Plant the seed with your child by doing the following:
- Allowing him to accompany you to the restroom. Take him through the process of using the restroom. Begin with the sensation your body has when you need to go and work your way up to flushing and hand washing. You can gradually begin to ask your child what step to take next.
- Toy role-playing. Play can help children learn up to 40 times faster than other methods of instruction. Playing potty with their toys is a great way to get them ready to use the toilet on their own.
- I’m counting down the days on the calendar until I no longer need diapers. Start crossing off the days on the calendar with your child three to five days before you plan to start potty training. This gives your child time to mentally prepare for the upcoming change, as well as time for you to instill confidence in him.
Allowing your child to select some of his own potty-training supplies is another excellent way to involve him in the potty-training process and give him a sense of control over the situation. You might want to buy new big-kid underwear, flushable wipes, or bathroom décor. If your child is assisted in selecting some items, he will feel a stronger sense of ownership and responsibility. He’ll also be more likely to put them to good use.
Select a weekend.
After you’ve spent some time preparing yourself and your child for the potty-training process, pick a weekend or any two to three-day period to introduce the basics of potty use. Remember that this should be a relatively quiet period for your family, with no major events or changes taking place. You’ll need at least one parent who can concentrate solely on your child and his potty habits.
Because the majority of this time will be spent at home, having some fun activities planned for your child to do will help him stay engaged with you. It will also help to keep things light and enjoyable. Potty training will be top of mind for you as your child’s potty teacher and coach, but it will be more about spending special time with your mom or dad while learning how to use the potty for your child. If you put in the effort to make your child happy, he will be more likely to put in the effort to make you happy by using the potty correctly!
You can speed up the learning process by keeping your child bottomless or naked from the waist down, during this 3-day potty training method. This improves his awareness of his body and allows you to detect any accidents as soon as they occur. You might be able to catch some in the potty, turning the accident into a success and providing an excellent learning opportunity.
When your child uses the potty successfully, even if it begins as an accident, you should recognize his efforts with verbal and physical praise, as well as a small tangible reward.
Instead of a generic “Well done!” or “Good work!” when praising your child, use specific language such as, “Great job putting your pee in the potty!” or “It makes me so happy when you poop in the potty!” A treat or a small toy can also be used to reinforce your child’s toilet use. Potty sticker charts are a great visual representation of your child’s accomplishments and can also be very motivating.
Don’t let potty training hold you hostage.
After the first day or two at home, getting out of the house is excellent practice for your child to be diaper-free in more stimulating environments. After all, he needs to be potty trained both inside and outside the house! Because children thrive on routines and schedules, the more you change your lifestyle to accommodate potty training, the more uneasy your child will be with the process.
Keep your first outing brief and low-key, and avoid driving if at all possible. Instead, go for a walk around the block or have a picnic in the backyard. Make sure to compliment the dryness. As your child gains confidence in his potty use, you can go on longer trips as long as you plan for frequent potty breaks.
Even if you follow all of the best practices, your child may need more time to be ready for potty training. While some children exhibit physical and behavioral signs of readiness, yours may not be emotionally ready. If you don’t see any progress after a few days of hard work, it’s perfectly fine to take a break and come back later. This has nothing to do with your parenting abilities! Potty training can be difficult, but it will be worth it when you see how proud your child is as he masters this new skill.
Have fun pottying!
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