There shouldn’t be a deadline when it comes to potty training and there is no such thing as the “best” age either. Some methods can help you jumpstart your child’s potty habits, but overall the best way to approach it is to wait until they show signs of readiness. Here we have collected some tips and advice to make the transition from diaper to toilet as smooth as possible.
Signs of readiness
It’s important not to pressure them into potty training. Keep an eye out for the signs that might suggest they are ready for the big step. They should be able to tell you when they need to go or realize when their diaper is dirty. Potty training will likely be more successful if your child is interested in the toilet and reaches the age when they want to be more independent and copy things you do. Make sure they can follow basic instructions and pull their diapers or pants up and down on their own. Another good sign of readiness is when they can keep their diaper dry for at least 2 hours.
Once you think your child is ready it is time to get them interested in doing so.
Make sure you are ready as well. Get a potty chair and a toilet seat reducer so they can get used to using the toilet quicker. You might need a step stool to make sure they can reach the toilet and the faucet comfortably. Get them underwear, potty training pants and don’t forget to stock up on some clothing that’s easy for them to remove. Last but not least have enough stickers or other reward items ready as well.
Swapping from diapers to underwear can work great for some children, however, this can be a bit of a messy transition for others. We only recommend this if your child can stay dry overnight and is aware when they need to go to the bathroom.
Likely there will be some accidents during their potty training journey. Make sure you always have enough wet wipes, sanitizer and a change of clothing for them available at all times. At home get some waterproof blankets, cover your sofas and any other surfaces you don’t want them to accidentally soil.
Make it exciting
The great thing about kids is that they can turn the most mundane tasks into the greatest adventures. You can use their imagination to your advantage. Make up stories or you can even get some kid’s books on this topic. Read it together and point out the connection between the story and their potty time. You can also read books while they are sitting on the toilet waiting for the magic to happen.
If you want to motivate them to use the potty, give them a small reward when they succeed. If you can get something that’s collectible like stickers it’s even better! It can help to keep them motivated. Make sure they get rewarded straightaway after using the potty successfully and explain the rules of their reward system clearly beforehand. You should also shower them in praise when they do well. They might not succeed at first but if they managed to sit on the toilet properly give them ample amounts of praise so they understand that they are doing well.
Show them how
Young children will try to copy everything you do. You can use this to your advantage as well. Let them follow you to the bathroom and show them the whole process a couple of times. You can also use dolls to reenact going to the toilet with them afterward as practice.
Make is accessible
Your child might not want to go straight for the toilet or even in the bathroom at all. If that’s the case consider putting their potty chair somewhere else outside your bathroom. Make sure it’s always available for them and try to make potty breaks as often as possible especially in the morning, after meals and before going to bed. Keep an eye on their usual schedule. After a while, you will be able to pinpoint roughly when they need to go and encourage them to use the potty when that happens.
Potty training is an important step towards your child’s independence. You should encourage this process by giving them many opportunities to make choices for themselves. Bring them along when shopping for a potty and let them choose. Ask them whether they want to go to the potty before or after getting ready for bed. Kids love to feel like they are in charge and this will get them more excited about using the potty as well.
Boys and Girls
Regardless of the gender of your child, it’s a good idea to teach them how to use the potty or toilet while seated. It takes time for some children to be able to tell the difference between needing numbers 1 and 2 so it’s easier for them if they are seated. Remember that girls tend to take to potty training a bit quicker than boys, so don’t worry if it takes some extra time for your little guy.
Your child was on top of it, doing really well and suddenly accidents started to happen again? Completely normal. Regression can happen for a multitude of reasons or even spontaneously. Most commonly they happen when there is a change in your child’s daily routine (New baby in the house, new babysitter, parent’s schedule changes, etc.) or if they are stressed. Patience is key here, keep in mind that if they have managed to master certain steps before they will be able to do it again. Make sure you don’t punish accidents, keep your reward system going and communicate your expectations clearly. If the regression is persistent make sure you tell your pediatrician to ensure there are no underlying issues.
Some children take to potty training easily while others take a long time. Sometimes it can get frustrating for both you and your child. Make sure you always keep your cool and never force them to sit on the potty. It’s extremely important to keep potty training fun and overall a positive experience otherwise it will likely take much longer.
Do you have any tips to add to our list? Let us know down in the comments!