Updated: Dec 11, 2022
The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and is not meant in any way to replace advice given by healthcare professionals.
To many new parents, potty training your child is definitely a big challenge. You may be a little nervous wondering if you are doing everything correctly to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Potty training is a natural part of a child's development and can be made easier just by understanding factors that indicate your child is ready to begin learning the task.
No specific age for potty training to take place
One important thing to stay away from is thinking that potty training has to take place at a specific age. Children develop different skills at different ages and every child is unique. Therefore you can not expect your child to lean how to potty train at the same age your best friend's child learned. Instead be patient and understanding.
Trying to potty train a child before they are ready could results in many setbacks. If the child does not understand what is happening and why you are taking them into the bathroom they may become discouraged and even afraid of the bathroom. This could add to the length of time it takes your child to learn how to use the potty. Therefore, you need to wait until your child is old enough to understand just what using the potty means.
Signs to start potty training
This would include things like knowing when your child is beginning to have better control over their bladder because they or staying dry more often. Also, when they show signs that they do not like having their pants wet or soiled then you can feel sure they are beginning to understand and its time to start potty training. They should also be coordinated enough to be able to pull their pants up and down.
After all, if they cannot perform this task it would be difficult to use the potty and may begin to discourage them. You can help in this area by providing clothing that is easier for the child to remove.
What you can do
Children are very curious and love to watch what you do, by allowing them to observe you in the bathroom they will begin to understand and want to imitate this action. Have a potty chair ready for your child and explain to them what it is and how to use it.
Keeping a light on in the bathroom can also help considering most light switches are too high for a child to reach. If they are spending too much time trying to get the light on then it may be too late to use the potty. One of the most important steps in potty training your child would be to never yell at them for accidents and always let them know you are proud of them.
If you find your little one is ready to have potty training to take place, here are some simple methods to help make it easier on both you and your child.
1. Start practicing using the toilet. Go out and purchase a small potty chair or a potty seat that fits over the regular sized toilet. If you are potty training a boy make it has a shield in front so they do not make a mess. Bring the potty chair into the room that your child spends most of their time in on a day or weekend when you have some free time. Let your child run around in just a shirt with their diaper off. If this nudity bothers you then have your son or daughter wear underwear. If you have them in a diaper they will never get the idea that when they urinate it will run down their legs and make a mess.
2. Clear your schedule before starting to potty train your child. Pick a time when you know that you and your family’s routine it least likely to be disturbed with vacations, guests, moving to a new house and so on. Long holiday weekends are a great time to start potty training your little one.
3. Decide what words you will use to describe body parts, urine and bowel movements. Try not to use words like “dirty”, “stinky,” or “naughty”. Using these negative terms can make your child feel self-conscience and ashamed. Talk about urination and bowel movements in a simple, matter-of-fact way.
4. Use your child’s favorite action figure or doll on a pretend potty, explaining “the baby is going pee in the potty.” Put diapers on their favorite stuffed bear and then eventually graduate the bear to underwear.
5. Discuss with your child the advantages of being potty trained. Talk to them about not having diaper rashes anymore, not having to take time away from playing to have their diaper changed and the wonderful feeling of being clean and dry. Help them understand that potty training is an important stage of growing up.
6. Use books and videos to help your child understand the process of potty training and see other children learning to use the potty. There are lots of books and videos available online or in your local bookstore. Let your child look at their favorite book while sitting on the potty to help the minutes pass by.
7. Get out your calendar and declare a potty day. This is the day that your child would like to start potty training. Use a bright color and circle that date. Keep reminding them that “potty day” is almost here.
8. Does your son or daughter like to unroll the toliet paper? Try squashing the roll so that the cardboard roll inside is no longer round. This way, it will not unroll as quickly. Also, little ones who are potty training will not get too much paper per pull on the roll.
Usually it takes several practice sessions for a child to understand what they are supposed to be doing and be totally potty trained. Just remember to keep trying, your child will eventually understand and be successful.
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