There is no specific age for potty training. Successful potty training depends on kid’s physical and developmental milestones. Kids are different and may reach those milestones at different pace. Most children gain necessary skills and are ready to start potty training when they are between 1.5 and 3 years old. Boys are usually few months behind girls. Night-time potty training may come several months after day-time training. In this article, we will discuss the most important aspects of potty training to answer your questions on how to potty train your child without stress.
Is my child ready for potty training?
Kids are developmentally ready for potty training when their bowel movements become formed and predictable, they can signal about them, i.e. announce or communicate through less-verbal means, understand some bathroom lingo like “poop” and “pee”, and are able to perform some simple undressing – pull down trousers or underwear. Some other signs of readiness may include:
- No poo during the night.
- Dry periods of at least one or two hours, or a dry diaper after a nap.
- Signs of discomfort when diaper is wet or dirty.
- An interest when you go to the bathroom.
- Reaction to praising.
- Understanding and following simple instructions and requests.
You don’t need to wait until your child performs all above-mentioned signs of readiness. What you need to spot is your child’s general trend towards understanding what going to toilet is all about.
How should I get prepared for potty training?
Buy a potty chair or a potty seat. A toddler-size potty chair is more accessible for kid, i.e. can be easily placed in those areas of your home where he or she usually plays. Some potty chairs have a bowl that can be taken off and emptied into the toilet. The second option is to by a toddler-size seat to place on the top of a toilet, so your child feels more convenient and secure. If you chose a seat, think about buying a stepping tool to help your baby reach the seat. If you travel with your kid frequently, consider keeping one additional potty chair or seat in your car.
New pants or special potty-training pants. Training pants have an absorbent pad that helps avoid emergency accidents. They are also easy to pull down. Nevertheless, parents have different opinion whether those special training pants are helpful for the overall training process. Some moms, including me, think they don’t differ much from diapers. In regular underwear, kids feel the discomfort from a pee or a poo better and are more motivated to use a potty.
How to potty train your toddler
- Be patient. Depending on your baby’s readiness, things may flow slowly. Start with encouraging your child to sit on the potty once or few times a day. Sit your child whenever she or he is likely to have a pee, for example, about 30-45 minutes after drinking liquids, or immediately after having a wet or dirty diaper or pant. This will help your child see a connection between potty and a pee or a poo.
- Timing is important. Potty training means a lot of laundry. If you start training in summer, there will be fewer cloths to take off and wash.
- Praise, praise, praise. Praise all positive actions that your kid performs, even if he or she only attempted to use the potty without any results. Do not push and to not punish for accidents.
- Serve as a model. Children learn by copying. Seeing you using the toilet will help your toddler to understand the purpose. Some kids prefer copying other kids. Use other siblings or kids of friends who are well potty-trained.
- Show the entire sequence of actions. Show your kid the entire process step-by-step, starting from going to toilet and ending with turning off the light of the bathroom. Though your kid will need some more time to start wiping herself or washing her hands, knowing the entire sequence of actions will help her to learn quickly.
Verbalize the process
Use exact words to describe what you expect from your baby – pee, poo, potty, etc. Explain your baby when the diaper is dry and when it is wet or dirty. Ask your baby whether he or she has an urge to pee or poo. Explain your baby how a bowel movement should feel.
- Yes, you can. You can even double the bribe when your baby performs more than expected, for example, two M&M’s for going potty, four M&M’s for wiping afterwards.
- Be consistent. Parents, babysitters, grandparents, nursery staff at preschool – all must use the same approach. Do not forget to talk about your potty training plans and strategy with other persons involved in your kid’s daily care.
- Potty-training boys. Since bowel movement and urinating often happen at the same time, teach your son to sit first. Once your son is potty trained, he can try it standing up. Men role models can be extremely helpful at this point.
Toilet or potty training may become a two step forward and one step back process. At some point you may feel your child has succeeded only to regress later. This step-back may be due to life or routine changes – new sibling, an illness, or home change. Don’t get frustrated. Your child isn’t deliberately trying to annoy you. Continue supporting them in their efforts to grow-up.
Dear mommies, share with us your experience on how to potty train your child without stress.