Potty Training Tips
No matter how ready you are to kiss those endless diaper changes goodbye, every child learns to use the potty at their own pace and in their own time. It’s most important not to rush your little one. If they aren’t ready the entire event may be much more stressful than it needs to be.
If your child can identify when they need to go to the bathroom, or they tell you when it is time for a new diaper, this is a good indicator that they might be ready (or almost ready) for potty training.
Ask yourself the following questions to determine if your child is ready for potty training:
- Does your child follow directions well?
- Are changings becoming more and more infrequent? Is their diaper dry for several hours at time?
- Have they asked any questions about the toilet or have they showed interest in it?
- Can they pull their pants up and down all by themselves?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then it’s probably an appropriate time to attempt potty training. If you begin to introduce the toilet and they resist, it’s important not to force them to go. All associations with the bathroom should be as positive as possible. You don’t want your child to avoid the bathroom, or avoid urinating or voiding, because this can be harmful.
Try not to set deadlines. This can be setting your child up for failure, because you stress and actually delay the entire process. Every child is unique and having expectations or rigidly meeting the time requirements of a program will be difficult for everyone involved. If there are setbacks or accidents, don’t focus on them. Bringing attention to accidents can actually have the reverse effect of what you want; it may reinforce the behavior, increasing the likelihood that it will happen again. Consider accidents a standard part of the process and address them as such. Have your child help with the cleanup and focus on the next opportunity for success which may only be a few short hours away!
And finally, try to pick appropriate clothing for your little one during this important time. Avoid clothes that are difficult to take off quickly or get back on. Multiple snaps or buttons and overalls should be avoided. Instead, opt for elastic waistbands. This can greatly reduce the number of “accidents” that may occur. Some experts even suggest waiting to potty train until the weather is warm to reduce the amount of layers your child will have to contend with in the bathroom.