Potty training is an exciting milestone for both parents and children. Some toddlers are ready to begin training as early as 18 months while others have no interest until two years or even later. The key is to avoid rigidly enforcing bathroom skills at a specific age. Instead, wait until he or she shows several readiness signs. Even when your child is ready, the road to full potty independence can be long and rocky. Parents should arm themselves with a whole lot of patience and a few key strategies.
Your child may be ready to begin potty training if he or she shows an interest in all things potty related. Perhaps your child likes to watch others go to the bathroom, or maybe he or she can sign or speak the words for urinating and having a bowel movement. If your toddler keeps his or her diaper dry for two hours, he or she may be ready to sit on the potty and give it a go.
The ability to understand basic directions is also a plus when it comes to potty training. Finally, your toddler should physically be able to pull down his or her pants, take off the diaper and be able to get off and on the potty chair mostly by him or herself. It’s most important for parents to let their child take the lead in their own potty training. Talk about how big boys and girls use the potty and encourage your son or daughter to try, but never force them into it if they resist.
Use Positive Reinforcement
It’s crucial for parents to remain positive throughout the entire process. Girls tend to train faster than boys do, so it might seem easy. On the other hand, some kids will begin to show an interest, go on the potty, lose interest and go back to square one. Whatever your unique situation, keep reinforcing the positive.
Praise, celebrate, laugh, clap, sing and dance when your child is successful. Be prepared for accidents by bringing extra clothes when you are out and about. Do not punish your child for accidents, as it could cause them to push away the idea of going on the potty altogether. Some parents find that little rewards or sticker charts serve as good motivators for their little ones. Find what works for your child and do it. Parents must be patient and positive.
Get the Right Equipment
There are a couple of options when it comes to potty seats. You can get one that sits right on top of the regular toilet or a freestanding seat that you can empty into the toilet. Use the method that you find most convenient. Sometimes kids prefer the stand-alone potties because they are smaller and closer to the ground. The potty seat is convenient, because it doesn’t involve dumping the waste. Either way, introduce the new equipment with excitement and praise your child for showing interest in it or using it.
If your child is going through any big life changes, such as a move or a new sibling, it might be best to put potty training on the back burner for a while to avoid stressing out your little one.