Potty training was a period in time that caused me so much stress. Part of the problem was me.
At the time, I was looking around at preschools and every one of them requires your child to be potty trained. And mine wasn’t!
I asked many women and patient’s a work for advice on how to get my son potty trained. I got so much advice and nothing seemed to help.
Then I talk to an old friend one day and he told me his wife potty trained their son over the weekend.
In desperation, I called his wife almost begging to get the information I needed to finally get my son potty trained.
After a week of consistency and a few tactics, I got my son potty trained!
Now, I wanted to share with you only in the information that you need to make potty training your toddler easy.
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Know When Your Child Is Ready
One of the most important things to consider in potty training is whether or not your toddler is ready for it.
I talked to some moms that said that they started potty training shortly after their little ones started walking. Then there are moms, like me, that wait much later.
Your toddler may be ready earlier or later than his siblings, cousins, or your friends’ kids. And that is okay. It’s hard. But try not to compare.
Some signs that your little one is ready for potty training are:
- Going two hours or more without wetting a diaper
- Awareness of urination and bowel movements, before or while they happen
- Being bothered by a dirty or wet diaper or telling you that he has one
- Expressing interest in using the potty
Two years is a common age when little ones are ready to start potty training. But some kids are ready earlier and some later.
Most experts agree that there is no need for concern unless your child is 4 years old and still expresses no interest in using the potty.
Preparing for Potty Training
When your child is approaching two years old, or sooner if they show interest in using the potty, there are some ways you can encourage their curiosity.
First, there are many books about potty training designed for toddlers that use pictures and fun rhymes to discuss learning to use the potty.
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Reading these books to your child can educate them about bathroom etiquette and encourage them to ask questions.
It’s also a good idea to let your child in when the parent of the same gender is using the bathroom. This lets the child see in person what is expected of him.
Once your child is ready, you can start encouraging them to use the potty.
You will probably want a potty chair, but there are also many other products to chose from.
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Don’t forget a stool if you are not using a stand-alone potty.
When to Go Potty
Looking for signs that your child is about to use his diaper can give you cues as to when you should try to get him to use the potty.
If it’s hard to tell with your little one but you can try taking him about every two hours. It’s important to be in the bathroom with him the whole time in the early stages.
I initially started this way. Every 2 hours I would take my son to the potty and have him try to pee.
Once your little one begins to let you know when he needs to use the potty, you can gradually begin to let him go in himself and come in to help as needed.
Potty Training Do’s and Don’ts
There are some things that might make the process easier regardless of how you anticipate potty training.
Here are some tips on what to avoid and how to be successful.
Go for the elimination of liquid waste first.
For little ones, having a bowel movement on the potty is often a much bigger deal than just urinating.
So you might try giving them extra liquids on a day when you are going to be hanging around the house, and see about encouraging them to go.
Try using a reward system.
Using candy or other food rewards for potty successes is a matter of some debate. But I honestly believe this is how I was able to potty train my son quickly.
My son LOVED fruit snacks at the time. As a dentist, I hated giving them to him.
I made a prize jar and placed some fruit snacks and small toy cars (two of his favorite things in the world).
Every time he went to the potty he got to take something out of the jar. Usually, it was the fruit snacks.
Once he realized that he would be able to get the fruit snacks he started going to the potty on his own.
I remember the first time that he went without me prompting him. I think I cried a little bit.
But he wasn’t concerned with my emotions because he just wanted his fruit snacks!
You could also try a reward system like a sticker chart.
Each time your child goes on the potty, let her put a sticker on her chart. You can make a big calendar with the days of the week so she can see how many times she’s used the potty that day or week.
Or you may just want to use a chart made up of blank squares.
There are also sticker charts that you can use to keep track of your child’s progress.
A small reward each time he gets a set number of stickers can provide an added incentive and encouragement.
Set your little one up for success.
Pay attention to your child’s usual elimination schedule and don’t schedule activities right in the middle of those times.
Think ahead during the potty training phase. Don’t get in the car for a long drive unless you know you can stop frequently or at key times.
I did take my son to the grocery store around the time that I knew he would have to go potty so that he would know what to do when we are in public. I wouldn’t recommend going out the entire day when your child is first learning.
Some children have a fear of public toilets or portable potties, and that can set things up for potty training setbacks if that’s the only thing available.
Give lots of praise
When your child goes to the potty, make sure that you make it a very big deal and get excited!
Give your little one lots of praise and high fives when they have gone to the potty, especially on their own.
Using positive reinforcement will help your little one continue on the right track.
Using shame as a way to keep your toddler from having accidents is not recommended by experts.
For one thing, mistakes are part of learning any new skill.
And shaming your child may produce anxiety and fear about using the toilet.
When your child has an accident don’t make a big fuss about it. Just quietly change their clothes and move on.
The potty is not a place of punishment.
Don’t use the potty as a place of punishment.
For example, don’t force your toddler to sit on the potty as punishment for soiling his clothes or going in his diaper.
Accidents will happen. So try not to make a big deal about the accident.
Try not to rush into potty training because you (or someone else) think it’s time.
You’ll know it’s time when your toddler shows interest in the potty, or when she tries to go herself, or other signs.
If you try to push things too early, it can have a negative effect if your toddler is not ready.
Potty training is one of the most important phases of a child’s development.
It is also a frequent source of stress for moms. I know all about it.
Following your child’s lead and giving rewards and encouragement can make the transition much smoother for both your toddler and you.
This post is a part of the series 31 Days of Parenting Tips for Busy Moms With Young Kids. Each day throughout the series I am discussing a different topic regarding parenting young kids. I’d love for you to follow along and share this series with moms who may need some support or just to hear that they aren’t alone in their journey of raising young kids.
Find all of the posts in one place on the series homepage: 31 Days of Parenting Tips for Busy Moms With Young Kids