You will soon discover when you start talking to your family and friends about potty training your child everyone will have advice. Potty training a child is not as scary as some people make it sound and each child is different. Some methods that worked for your friend may not help you at all. There are some basic things to keep in mind if you want potty training to be successful and a positive experience for the both of you.
The first and most important thing to keep in mind is do not force your child to potty train. The more you force a child the more they will resist. Potty training is a big task for a little one to learn and you have to have patience!
How do you know when your child is ready to potty train? The average age most children are ready to start is 2 1/2 years old. Often they will want to see you go potty (which is a great way to show them how) and will ask questions. Also another sign is when they soil their diaper and your child immediately wants you to change them. This shows they are making the connection of being uncomfortable after soiling their diaper; the best way to prevent the uncomfortable feeling is going potty.
Your child is showing interest in potty training, what do you do next? First you have to decide if you want a potty chair (remember they have to be cleaned out after each use) or you want them to learn on the toilet. There are little seats available that will attach to your existing toilet seat so your child doesn’t fall in! Then if you have a male child you have to decide whether you want them to sit or stand. This is a choice you have to make because consistency is very important with potty training. After you have made those two decisions you are on your way!
First you have to talk to your child about potty training. Bring them into the bathroom and show them what you expect. Explain for example when they have to go potty they sit down on the toilet, go potty and then clean up using toilet paper. They are going to need support, encouragement and help putting these steps together. Do not wait for your child to ask to go potty offer them every half an hour or so. Often children get wrapped up in what they are doing and they forget about going potty.
Going poop will be the hardest for most children because it can be a little scary. If your child has an accident, if possible put the poop in the toilet to show your child. Telling them that it is gross and disgusting (if they have a poop accident) will only make them feel ashamed. This can lead them to actually holding it in and becoming constipated. In order to poop a child has to feel safe, comfortable and relaxed; just like adults do.
Make sure if you’re heading out to the store or your child goes to childcare that you pack plenty of extra clothes and plastic bags. If your child does go to childcare let them know when you start potty training and how so they can continue the routine at childcare. Having extra clothes is important because you do not want your child to be embarrassed about an accident. This will keep you from becoming frustrated because you are somewhere stranded with no extra clothes. Be discreet when asking your child if they had an accident (they get embarrassed too), bring them into the bathroom and ask if they are done, then help them change while letting them know accidents are okay. The less of a big deal you make about it the less your child will feel bad.
Celebrate your child’s success when they do go potty on the toilet! Have a potty song you sing, stickers or what ever you chose to reinforce that behavior in a positive manner. If they see you are happy, they will try to make you happy again.
Last but not least potty training can take a couple of months to a year. The key is to find a system that works for your family not someone else’s. Be positive, don’t give up, have patience and it will be a successful!