Potty training is sometimes difficult, but it is an essential developmental process, and it will happen. Every child is different and they will be ready at different ages. Some children may be ready to train when they are merely a year old and others may be as late as 3 years old. Whatever the age is, there are always little tricks to the trade. Here are some great ideas to get your child wanting to be potty training.
A good bribe is always the number 1 key in potty training. Bribes can vary from candy to ice cream to money. You have to try and see what work with your child. Usually children like to eat the food offered as a bribe; however some children have excellent “feel sorry for me” skills and convince their parent to give them the food before they use the potty. I really recommend a material award. Children love stickers and you could create a sticker board and even hang it in the bathroom. They can choose a sticker after they are finished going potty. My youngest child loved money. She has older siblings and would see them spending money at the store. You could offer change and keep it in a penny bank or you could get wild and use dollar bills. The bribe will be of your discretion but should match your child’s personality.
I strongly feel that the next most important step in potty training is consistency. Children are learning how to go and use the bathroom. It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure they take them and take them often. When children are first starting they need to go to the bathroom at least every 20 minutes. This may be hard for parents who do not stay at home, so the caregiver has to be willing to do this. This is one of the reasons that some children take much longer than others to learn. Once your child begins to get the hang of it, the time can change to every 35-45 minutes. You want to eventually reach an hour between potties.
Children need to be praised constantly. This not only keeps them honest, but it makes them feel great about themselves and proud of what they are doing. Children want to feel special and a few nice words of encouragement or praise can go very far. Reinforce that your child is doing a great job and that they are such a big boy or girl. Praise is verbal and but children also love high fives too. The point is to make them feel good and encourage them to want to do it again.
Rewards can vary as well. Have some sort of reward system in place where you give them something simple that they like. It could be a sticker, an ice cream, or a trip to the park. You might even let them play a favorite game such as blowing bubbles or playing with playdough. Another creative idea is to buy a bunch of gifts from the dollar store and put into some kind of treasure chest and they can pick one of their choice. The reward doesn’t have to be every time they use the potty. You could offer the reward at the end of the day or keep track on a chart and offer a bigger reward at the end of the week. The rewards should be a little more often in the beginning so that the children understand the concept of going to the bathroom to earn something in return.
Potty training takes a lot of time and patience, but it also takes love and understanding. Punishment should not be used when an accident happens, that could delay the learning process. Have fun with the process and try your best to make your child feel good. If you work at it, it will happen. Stay positive and good luck!