Oh, the joys of potty training. Let’s face it- it can be extremely hard and challenging. There is really no right or wrong way to do it and every child is ready at different times. If your child isn’t ready or isn’t catching on as quickly as you’d like, don’t beat yourself up about it. Your child WILL be potty trained before Kindergarten. In the meantime, here are some tips that I hope will help each and every one of you currently potty training!
- Potty train when your child is ready. If your child is showing signs that they are ready, like realizing they are going to the bathroom, wanting their diapers off, or showing interest in the toilet, run with it!
- Harmless bribery. Offer prizes like stickers or candy treats when your child uses the toilet. Associating the potty with good things will make them want to use it more and more.
- The Cheerio game. Put cheerios in the toilet and have your son “target practice.” I have heard this worked for several of my friends little boys.
- Potty training shouldn’t be a huge struggle. If your child resists using the toilet every single time for multiple days in a row, they probably aren’t ready. Give them a break and try again in a month.
- Start with using a floor potty. Floor potties are easier for children to access, so let them begin training on one.
- Always use positive and encouraging words. Even when your child has an accident, don’t discipline or use negative words, and do your best not to make it a big deal. Nobody wants to feel shame or guilt for making a genuine mistake. Kids feel embarrassed too, so make it a happy experience for them.
- Be consistent.
- When you first begin potty training, offer as many fluids as your child wants. Lots of popsicles, too. This gives you plenty of opportunities to have them use the toilet throughout the day.
- Ask your child to tell you when they have to go ALL THE TIME. Children like to be in control and if you constantly ask them to tell you when they have to go, you are giving them the opportunity to be in control of the situation.
- Identifying behaviors. When your child is going to the bathroom in their diaper, explain to them that they are going pee or poop. They need to understand when they are going so they can start to tell you before they go.
- Set aside lots of time. When you first decide to potty train, understand that it is a process and it’s going to take a lot of time. You may very well need to set aside a few weeks of not really doing much at all but potty train. Some kids pick it up in just a number of days, and if that was your child, count yourself lucky. Some kids take weeks to learn, and that’s perfectly okay too.
- Don’t make your child sit on the toilet against their will.
- Show them how YOU sit on the toilet and explain what you’re doing. Children learn from watching us.
- Catch them in the act. Our kids often give clear cues that they need to use the restroom- their face turns red, they squat, etc. Catch them in the act and run to the toilet!
- Have your child sit on the potty within 15 to 30 minutes after meals to take advantage of the body’s natural tendency to have a bowel movement after eating.
- Remove a bowel movement from your child’s diaper, put it in the toilet, and tell your child that poop goes in the potty.
- Make sure all of your child’s caregivers- including dad, grandparents, and babysitters, are all on the same page as you and follow the same routine so your child won’t become confused.
- Praise all attempts to use the toilet, even if nothing happens! Accidents will happen, it is important not to punish potty training children or show disappointment when they wet themselves. Instead, tell your child that it was an accident and offer support!
Have you potty trained recently or are you currently potty training your little one? What tips have worked for you? Leave us a comment and let us know!