Potty Training Your Toddler
Potty training can be a confusing time for both parents and children, from knowing when it’s time to begin potty training to how to go about it. This article will cover what you need to know from signs your child is ready for potty training to tried and true potty training basics.
Signs Your Child is ready for Potty Training
Just because little Jonny next door was all potty trained by 20 months doesn’t mean that your toddler will be. Successful potty training depends on the child being physically and emotionally ready. Rather than focusing on the age of the child, look for these signs your child is ready for potty training:
- Your child stays dry for periods of two hours or more throughout the day
- Your child stays dry during naps
- He/she complains about their soiled diaper
- They let you know, either through words, posture, or facial expressions that they need to go
- They show interest in the toilet or potty chair
- They express interest in wearing “big kid” underwear
- Your child understands and follows basic direction
- They are able to pull their pants down and back up on their own
If most of these signs apply to your child, then it’s a good time to start potty training.
How to Potty Train Your Toddler
Once your child appears to be ready, it’s up to you to have what you need in order to get started. You’ll need to put a potty chair in the bathroom or where your child spends most of their time.
Use these potty training tips to help you throughout the entire process:
- Make potty training fun. You can do this by keeping a positive attitude throughout the process and by letting your child decorate the chair and the space around it with stickers.
- Show them how it’s done. Emptying a dirty diaper into the potty to show them what it’s for is a great visual tool. You can also allow your child to watch a family member go to the washroom to show them how to do it. Also be sure to talk to them about how and when to tell you they need to go.
- Use rewards. Praising your child for telling you they need to go and for using the potty is a must. Incentives are also a great way to keep them interested .The rewards needn’t be extravagant; a new coloring book, a cookie or other treat, or even just a visit to the park will help keep your child excited about potty training. Potty training charts are also great.
- Be consistent. Consistency is one of the most important potty training basics. Schedule regular potty breaks throughout the day even if they don’t need to go and keep any incentives and rewards consistent throughout the process. Be sure to tell other caregivers what to do as well. If you’re going away, be it for a day or a vacation, take your child’s potty seat or chair along for consistency while away.
- When they have to go – let them go fast. The moment your child shows signs they need to go, it’s important to head to the toilet quickly. Remember to praise your child for telling you they need to go.
- Teach them about cleanliness. Teach girls to wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from the rectum from getting to the vagina and bladder. Teach your child to flush by letting them flush if using a potty seat or after dumping the contents of the potty chair into the toilet. Also, get your child into the habit of washing their hands afterwards.
- Stop using diapers after a few successful weeks. Once your child has had a few successful weeks of potty training, it’s time to switch to training pants or underwear. This is a big moment for your child so celebrate it by making them a part of the shopping for their new underwear or training pants. Let them know how proud you are of their accomplishment too!
- Avoid clothing that’s hard to get off. At least for the first few weeks out of diapers, you’ll want to avoid clothing like overalls, leotards, and belts so they can go quickly and easily when they need to.
How to Handle Setbacks
If your child continues to have accidents and doesn’t seem to be getting the hang of potty training, or even if they’re simply resisting using the potty, then it’s best to take a break. Don’t get upset because the last thing you want is to have your child associate potty training with stress. Instead, take a break for a few months and then try again.
Learning how to potty train your toddler is all a matter of being patient, encouraging, and consistent. Keep this in mind and potty training will be easier on both you and your child.
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