Paging Rosie: Potty Training Tips
The really important thing to remember, as with many milestones for our children, is that toddlers are ready to be potty trained at different times. Please don’t try and do it because a friend is doing it with their child, or you feel pressure to. Potty training should be done only when your child is ready otherwise it will only make both of you miserable and go through unnecessary hurdles. Here are some tips I have put together that will hopefully take the mystery out of Potty training but remember as with all of these things, it’s a process, face it with smiles and enthusiasm, not stress and pressure….who likes to go to the potty after all in a stressful situation!
Potty training often happens sometime before a child’s third birthday although some do wait a little later than this. In my own personal experience we potty trained my eldest son literally days before his third birthday. He was ready, it wasn’t stressful and I am so glad I didn’t try and push him to do it earlier.
Signs of potty training readiness:
- Can walk steadily on their own
- Can pull his/her pants up and down
- Tells you when they have a dirty diaper
- Can sit quietly for 2-5 minutes
- Your child is interested in the bathroom
- Your child demonstrates independence
- Has words for pee and poop
- Can follow basic directions, like “pick up your toy”
- If you think your toddler is getting ready to be potty trained start talking about the process more. Books and DVDS can be a great tool to teach about the experience and make it fun. We used a hilarious DVD called “Potty Time” with Elmo….I still can’t get the jazzy song “Potty Time” out of my head, its one heck of a song…trust me on that one! You can also get your toddler to help their favorite animals sit on the potty to demonstrate how it is done.
- Buy a toddler toilet seat to attach to your toilet seat or purchase a free standing potty. You’ll have to work with you toddler to see what they prefer. Let you toddler be involved if you can in picking out the new seat or potty so they are excited about it.
- Also, if you can shop for some fun “big girl” or “big boy” underwear. My son loved the ones with the days of the week on them but others love their favorite action hero or color.
- Figure out a reward system, be it praise or a sticker chart. All kids are different so do what works best for your child and your parenting style. Remember though, never scold them if they have an accident and don’t get to the potty on time. Just tell them accidents happen and not to worry and next time we’ll try and get to the potty. Making a big deal about this will only increase their anxiety and delay the process.
- Find a time when you can commit to really focusing on it for at least 2 full days. Put your wee one in underwear and a t-shirt. Go to the potty every 30 minutes or every hour and make sure to ask them between these times if they need to use the potty. This is great to do on a weekend, just plan on being home, as outings can make this hard to accomplish
- Sometimes children are not completely sure where to stand. We put a box in front of the toilet to help them to climb up and drew around my eldest son’s feet so he could see where to place them. This seemed to take the anxiety out of the preparation for him.
- If you have a boy and he is having trouble aiming, you can throw a few cheerios into the toilet bowl and tell him to aim for them.
- It is important to remember that toddler’s learn by watching. If you have boy consider letting Daddy show him how he uses the toilet and vice-verse if you have a girl. Don’t be embarrassed, we all use the potty and it is important for them to see how it is done.
- Never go back. Once you start down the potty training road, don’t go back to diapers. Keep your toddler in underpants and be prepared with back-up clothes in case of a few accidents. The perseverance will pay off.
- Lots of parents (including myself) still use pull-ups for night time and while travelling for many toddlers as night time training can take longer and travelling can be tricky, especially if you are stuck in a car between rest stops.
Most importantly, stay positive and proud, this is a huge milestone for your wee one and you should be there every step of the way to help them make this transition. Good luck!