As your child grows up, there are a few things that he or she has to be weaned off. What’s an example? Diapers! Your child can’t be wearing diapers forever. But how do you know when to start transitioning your child from diapers to the toilet? And are there particular steps that you have to follow? We’re answering all these questions and more, below!
The most important thing you need to know about potty training is that you can’t force it. Going to the bathroom and using the toilet is a natural thing, and if you force your child to use one when he or she isn’t ready, chances are you’ll only prolong the diaper phase. Don’t worry, they’ll be ready eventually. (You don’t see elementary kids in diapers, right?) So what are signs of readiness? How will you know when it’s time to start potty training? Here are some questions to help guide you.
If you can answer ‘Yes’ to most of these questions, then your child is most likely ready to be potty trained. If not, then you might want to wait a little longer.
When you go to the bathroom, let your child tag along. Show them how you pull down your pants and do your business. (For boys, it might be better to get the hubby to be the example.) This is also a good time to teach your child proper hygiene too–like wiping the toilet seat, putting the lid down, and washing hands afterwards.
While getting a potty or a kiddie toilet seat isn’t necessary, it’s still a big help when it comes to toilet training. That way, you don’t have to lift your child every time he or she needs to go, and you don’t have to worry about them falling halfway in the toilet. If you do decide to get a potty, you don’t necessarily have to place it in the bathroom. You can start by placing it in the room where your child spends the most time. That way, when your child needs to go, he or she doesn’t need to run all the way to the bathroom. Once your child gets used to sitting on the potty, then you can start moving it farther and farther away. (P.S. – Getting your child a potty also makes him or her feel special, having a toilet just for him or herself! You can even have him or her choose one!)
Now that you have a potty (or even if you don’t have one), take some time aside to make your child accustomed to it. You can start out by putting your child on the potty every thirty or sixty minutes, just so that he or she gets used to it, and it becomes a part of your child’s daily routine. You can also coordinate with your child’s teacher and caretakers, just to make sure there’s a consistent schedule. If you plan on going out of town, you can bring the potty with you too!
As risky as this might sound, letting your child spend some time without diapers will get him or her used to being without them. And if your child tells you that he or she needs to go, direct your child to the potty. Whether you choose to let them wear underwear (some kids also take time adjusting to this) or nothing at all, having them practice not wearing diapers brings your child one step closer to being fully potty trained.
Get your child underwear with his or her favorite TV characters, and you might be surprised at how much he or she will want to keep it on. Or better yet, bring them along, and have them pick out their favorite designs. Your child won’t want to get his or her new and cool underwear wet or dirty!
Potty training can be frustrating for both you and your child. Accidents are inevitable, and the only way to help the both of you is patience. Potty training is not going to happen overnight. While some kids pick it up after just a few days, others take weeks or even months. One of the easiest and simplest things you can to help your child is to offer praise. Praise your child every time he or she remembers to go to the potty–you can even give your child a sticker every time he or she has a successful potty run. You don’t necessarily have to make a big deal out of every successful potty run, but little words of praise here and there will really help your child, and hopefully motivate him or her to keep on trying.
- Mayo Clinic. “Potty training: How to get the job done.” Infant and toddler health. Last updated November 15, 2014.
- WebMD. “Potty Training Tips: How and When to Toilet Train Your Child.” Parenting. Date accessed July 12, 2017.