It is a bit daunting to figure out how to approach potty training your child, especially if you have never done it before. There are so many things to consider, which may leave you feeling confused, not knowing where to begin. However, with a few tips and tricks, you will be able to train your little one, without causing too many headaches for yourself.
When to start
Although many children are ready to learn starting at two and half years old, others are not. There are no absolutes in potty training to help you tell the exact minute your child will be ready to start learning. However, there are some concrete things that you can look out for, which will let you know that your toddler is ready to ditch the diapers and move on to the next step in using the bathroom.
Signs to watch out for
A child must be emotionally as well as physically ready to use the bathroom, even though both types will probably not happen at the same time. Here are signs to watch for concerning each of these aspects.
- Talking about being big
- Asking about underwear
- Interested in using the toilet
- Complaining about diapers
- Going in their diaper at the same time each day
- Dry diapers after a nap
- Can remove clothes
- Can climb onto toilet
- Can say when they need to go
The physical changes are extremely important because a child should be able to remove their clothes and climb onto the toilet or their chair to use the potty correctly. It is too frustrating for them and you if they cannot do these things. It is also very important that they are able to verbalize that they need to potty and what they have to do, because there is no way they are going to be able to tell you if and when they need to potty, if they can’t understand when they have to go.
After noticing your child doing some of these things or asking questions about the bathroom, start asking them if they would like to use the bathroom, instead of going in their diaper. If your child is interested and says yes, you have started the process. If they are uninterested, try asking them once a week to see when they become interested. You never know when they will change their mind. Meanwhile, don’t push them; they will most likely give you a sign when they are ready.
The First Steps
The first thing you must remember when you are potty training your baby is that you need to be positive and upbeat. Celebrate every time you have a success, so you can reinforce that they are doing a great job and will want to continue.
To start the actual training, you will need to help your little one understand what happens on the toilet. You can start small here, and go as quickly or slowly as it takes. There also are many different products on the market that can help with this step, including potty chairs, books, and more.
Initially, you will need to have your child sit on the toilet or their potty chair each day to get used to it. They don’t have to use it right away, but they should be sitting on it instead of wearing a diaper, so they can understand the process. It is also important to inform them of what else they need to do in the bathroom after they use the potty, which is the next step.
After your child understands the steps, it’s time to practice. Even if they aren’t using their potty right away, get them used to the steps of wiping, flushing the toilet, and cleaning their hands. This way, when the time comes, they will already know everything they need to do when they go to the bathroom.
If your child doesn’t seem interested in sitting on their chair or the toilet, then they are probably not ready to be trained. At this point it would be a good idea to buy some books or videos for some extra pointers, and allow your child to watch these videos and read them the books while they are getting used to the fact that they will have to use the big potty pretty soon.
If they are interested, you should check with them a lot throughout the day. If you see signs that they need to go to the bathroom, such as squirming or holding themselves, take them right away. You may also want to check with them sporadically every few hours and ask them if they want to go. When they tell you or indicate they need to go, inform them they have done a good job.
Always vocalize when they have done something correctly, so they are encouraged to keep going. Additionally, you may also want to institute other rewards for a job well done. This can include stickers, candy, or small presents to achieve the desired results.
The best thing to remember while training is that you may not see results overnight. Girls often get potty trained quicker than boys, but it still could take at least 3 months. Be as patient as you can, even if every trip to the bathroom isn’t a success.
Other things to keep in mind
There are other things that can hinder success when you are trying to teach your child about the potty. As a rule, you should not try to teach them if they aren’t feeling their best, such as when they are getting over a sickness. You should also wait if there has been a big change recently in the family, such as a new move, or a new baby. Make sure you set your child up to succeed first before introducing something new into their lives. Potty training is a difficult process to learn at first, but it is a skill that will last them their whole lives.