Potty training is one of the significant milestones for your child. It is also an essential time for parents as it requires a lot of time, effort, and patience – which are the three most important things to have throughout parenthood. When a child shifts from using diapers to toilets, he or she might feel a sense of accomplishment. In this article, I will share some helpful tips on how to properly and successfully potty train a child.
How to potty train your child? It is crucial to know that time and timing is very important when planning to potty train a child. Usually, there is an age where a child is prepared to be potty trained. Even so, it might take weeks to months before your child can learn it. Sometimes, certain issues and setbacks also happen. That is why it is important to have patience and to be calm, encouraging, and positive towards your child.
Potty training can only be successful if both parent and child are in sync and working together. Below are some helpful top tips and advice for parents who are potty training their child.
When should you potty train your child?
Typically, most children are not yet prepared to potty train before 2 years old. For some, the ideal age to start training is 3 years old. Still, children might not be fully taught to use the toilet until age 4.
But, there is no one fit all age when it comes to potty training. Do not rush or force your child if you think he/she is not yet ready.
Aside from the child’s age, you can also consider looking out for any of the following signs to determine whether your child is prepared to be potty trained. Some of the telltale signs that the child might be prepared to be potty trained include:
- The child can stay dry for up to two hours and/or after naps.
- The child is aware when the diaper is wet or soiled.
- The child can tell you when he/she needs to go pee or poop.
- The child shows interest in wearing underpants and if they can pull pants up and down.
- He or she can follow simple verbal instructions.
- The child can walk towards the toilet.
- The child is not very anxious about sitting on a toilet or potty chair.
- When you replace diapers less frequently compared to previous years.
- If the child has a regular bowel movement.
What to prepare before you start potty training?
Pick the right period for the potty training
Set a week or days that you can watch and support your child for potty training. As much as possible, do not choose days or times when you have other urgent appointments. Moreover, avoid scheduling potty training when you are already stressed or exhausted.
You may also consider using the following equipment and things that can help with potty training.
Potty chair or toilet seat
Potty chair, usually made with plastic materials, are more child friendly. Since it is portable and it matches the child’s height, it is easier for the child to get accustomed to sitting on it. Moreover, potty chairs are often colorful and designed with cartoon characters or drawings. It can help the child to be interested in using it.
Some parents opt to use the toilet they have in the bathroom. It can also be good since you can familiarize your child right away with the toilet he/she will use when she grows older. But, you should remember this method requires closer guidance. Aside from using a small toilet seat, you should hold your child or assist them to prevent possible accidents. Also, add a step or footstool if you can.
Underpants and pull ups
Once your child is potty trained, they can move from diapers or nappies to underpants. You can let children try wearing underpants so they can feel motivated to potty train.
Another alternative are pull-ups or washable potty training pants. This makes it easier for the child to tell when they are wet or the pants are soaked. “Training pants should be a step towards normal pants, rather than a replacement for nappies. Encourage your child to keep their training pants dry by using the potty,” United Kingdom’s (UK) National Health Service (NHS) stated on its website.
Fun books or videos about potty training
Some children might get excited to potty train when they read or watch something about it on a children’s book or show. Also, these materials can help make potty training fun for your child. Just think about it, as adults, we often bring our phones to entertain ourselves while using the bathroom. It might be the same as children. It can help ease their fears, especially if you are planning to potty train using your own toilet.
What to do when potty training a child?
Schedule and make it a routine
When scheduling potty training, try to make it a part of your child’s daily routine. Habituate your child to sit on the potty chair or toilet in the morning or after naps. You can also do it within the day for a few minutes at two-hour intervals. Or you can have your child sit on the potty toilet after meals or on times when they tend to have a bowel movement.
Demonstrate how you or other family members sit on toilet
Some children learn while imitating the actions of other people. Showing and explaining to them how to use the toilet might help. It might also allow your child to be comfortable in sitting on a potty chair or toilet.
Another way to demonstrate the use of toilets is through their used diapers. Empty the poop from your child’s diapers into the toilet. Teach them that their poop should go to the potty.
Teach them to check for dryness
Make your child aware with the difference between dry and wet or soiled diapers. Teach them to tell you whenever they feel like their diaper is not dry.
Use bathroom terms
Teach them terms such as “poop” or “pee” and allow them to use it when communicating with you. These words can help them easily express whenever they need to use the toilet.
Place the potty chair in the bathroom
Putting the potty chair in the bathroom will help the child feel at ease. It can also help them to transition easier from potty chair to the toilet.
However, you can also place your child’s potty chair elsewhere in the house. At nighttime, it can be helpful to place it near the child’s bed so they can use it without going all the way to the bathroom.
Motivate and praise your child
To encourage your child to use the potty chair or toilet, motivate him/her with positive reinforcements. Explain to them that using a potty chair or toilet means that he or she is turning into a grown up. Praise your child whenever they attempt to use the toilet. You may also offer small rewards such as cute badges, additional play time, or snacks.
Be more alert and aware of some non-verbal cues
For the first few days or weeks, your child will rely more on body signals rather than words. Observe them and assess if they are making movements or facial expressions which show that need to use the toilet. Ask them questions like “would you like to pee or poo?” whenever you think that they’re showing unusual body signals.
Teach proper hygiene
Instruct and assist them how to properly wipe their private areas. Also, make sure that they always wash their hands after using the toilet.
Setbacks happen during potty training
Sometimes, the child will not pee or poop for a long time. They might also find themselves sitting in the potty chair or toilet for minutes. At some point during the training, the child might also wet or soil his/her underpants or bed sheets (if you’re completely ditching the diapers). Be calm and patient when these kinds of setbacks happen. Assure your child and let him/her know it is okay.
It takes a lot of time, effort, and patience
You might be unable to see positive results overnight or immediately. It takes days or weeks for a child to learn and be used to the potty chair or toilet. During this period, be more understanding to your child. Do not force, punish, scold, or shame your child for their unsuccessful attempts.
How can I lessen my child’s bedwetting at night? Nighttime potty training is harder and longer to achieve. Still, you can start by making a bedtime routine for your child. Discipline them to pee or use the toilet before they sleep. Do not ditch diapers right away. Observe if your child is staying dry throughout the night while implementing the bedtime routine. If it works, you can let go of the nighttime diapers.