Having a potty trained child is a milestone all parents look forward to, but getting started can seem daunting and intimidating at first. Take a deep breath and arm yourself with patience and consistency! In just a few years you will look back at the potty training days and smile thinking of all the memorable incidents and funny situations you experienced with your little one.
Potty Training Advice
You are going to find tons of material and hear differing opinions from well-meaning relatives regarding potty training. Keep in mind that there is no one “perfect” method out there and the same system may not work for all children. Get yourself familiar with the information you find, take notes, and talk to your child’s pediatrician for recommendations. Come up with your own system of how you would like to train your child. It may take some tweaks to get to what works for him/her; so be prepared to make adjustments along the way.
Many parents wonder about what age to potty train. Average potty training age for many kids is around two and a half. Ideally you want to prepare your child months in advance to the actual training, making them feel comfortable in the bathroom and pointing out often that everyone uses the potty.
Before you begin buying cute potty training seats and undergarments you may want to assess if your child is truly ready to be trained. Ask yourself:
- Is my child waiting longer intervals between wetting his/her diapers?
- Does he/she seem comfortable in the bathroom?
- Is my child curious about using the potty like a big boy/girl?
Answering yes to these questions may indicate that your child is ready. As you prepare to get started, try to be as relaxed as possible. If your child picks up on you being extra anxious and nervous, that could cause him/her not to cooperate as much. Remember it’s a big adjustment for them, so aim at getting your child excited about this new stage.
How to Potty Train Your Child
Testing it Out
One evening or weekend when you know you will be at home with no interruptions, take off your child’s diaper. Ask often if they need to go and take them to the bathroom several times to see what happens. Ideally they can at least sit on the potty for a few minutes without melting down and can pay attention to their bodies. If your child acts terrified or is wetting their undergarments (or the floor) over 10 times in an hour, you may need to take a break for a few days or weeks and attempt it again some time later. You may be surprised how just by waiting a few weeks, the training can go much easier and a child can transition more smoothly. Trust your instincts; you will know when your child is ready.
Potty Training Faster
One sure way to help your child potty train faster is to enroll them in a comfortable and caring child care setting. Knowing that their classmates use the potty will usually encourage children and have a positive effect on their willingness to try. The teachers’ experience and patience will also encourage kids to train way faster. You may be surprised when your child comes home asking about using the potty on their own, just wanting to continue what he/she is doing at the daycare center. While it may not work for every child, most will be positively influenced by training with peers who are going through the same phase.
Your Child is an Individual
The main thing to remember when training your little one is that they are an individual:
- What worked for your friend’s son, their sibling or the neighbor’s child may not work for yours and that is ok
- Some children may benefit from a reward chart system
- Your child may want a big celebration each time they go or have a parent sing or count with them while in the bathroom
- Some kids prefer having privacy and silence while they go and afterwards
Help with Potty Training
We all experience toilet training problems with children occasionally. If you are having a tough time after a few weeks or are making little progress, consider getting external help from your pediatrician or another health professional to complete the transition. Do not wait until your child is 4 or 5 to start. Some children may develop negative attitudes about going potty that are hard to break as they get older. If potty training is taking longer than expected or you are too stressed out to help your child, please reach out for help sooner rather than later. You and your child will get through it together!
A potty trained child is something most parents look forward to, yet get stressed out about when taking action to make it happen. You can help your child get ready by making them feel comfortable in the bathroom months before you actually begin training. You may also be able to accelerate their transition working hand-in-hand with your child care program’s teacher. Remember that your little one is an individual; you know them best and can tweak the process to encourage him/her to get comfortable faster. It may be stressful at first, but you will make it and build fun memories along the way to talk about when your child gets older. Go for it!