Timing and patience: those are the two keys to potty training success. Since it’s a big step for both parents and children alike, both are needed to ensure potty training is successful. How do you start the whole daunting process? By taking a step back, arming yourself with lots of patience-building techniques (like the old standby’s: deep breaths and counting slowly backwards from 10) and making certain you and your little one are ready to embark on this journey. Let’s look at the two key factors in successful training and examine them:
How can tell if it’s the right time to start? Is your child ready? What age is appropriate? Well, first of all, there is no ‘magic’ age. Children are ready at different times. It’s up to parents to check for the ‘cues’ that let them know it’s a good time to begin training. For some children, it may be as young as one year, for others, it could be over two. What are you looking for? Here are some cues:
– Does your child seem interested in the potty or wearing ‘big’ kid underwear?
– Does your child tell you when he/she needs to go?
– Does your child stay dry most of the day?
– Can your child pull his or her own pants up and down?
– Does your child tell you when his or her diaper is wet or soiled?
If you answered ‘yes’ to most of the above, your child is likely ready to begin training. It’s important to remember that any major life change, like a new sibling, starting a new pre-school or even taking a trip would be a poor time to start training. Wait until your child is in a steady routine and you have the time to dedicate to training.
There are many different ways to start training. Some parents go ‘cold turkey’ and simply begin dressing their children in underwear. This is one way to do it – but be prepared for quite a few accidents and messes. This, however, is generally considered the quickest way. Another option is to simply set a potty chair in areas where you child spends most of their time, such as a play room. Encouraging your child to discover the potty on their own and rewarding them for using the potty is another option. Whichever method you choose, remember to be patient with the process. Even when your child has ‘accidents,’ be encouraging and tell them ‘there’s always next time.’ Use books and videos to help them understand their bodies and the elimination process.
In the wise words of one sage pediatrician, “No child has ever gone off to college in a diaper.” Remember that is a journey for you and your child!
Potty training book recommendations:
The New Potty, by Gina and Mercer Mayer
Once Upon a Potty, by Alana Frankel
Going to the Potty, by Fred Rogers (yes, Mr. Rogers)
You Can Go to the Potty, Dr. William Sears