If any of you have ever potty trained a child (or 2 or 3) you know this: Potty Training Stinks! And to make it even worse, there are SO many different options in potty seats and methods to use to try and coerce your child into doing the deed on the toilet. From potty chairs, to potty seats, children’s books to a ‘potty party’… this stage in your child’s life can be exciting but it can also be frustrating and stressful as they make the transition from diapers to underpants. As a mom of four I’m sharing my 6 tips for easy potty training so you can have a stress free experience.
I have successfully NOT potty trained three children over the years.
Now I say NOT potty trained because if there is one thing I have learned it is that children do things on their own time, when they are ready. Pushing the issue too soon, results in you training yourself to take them to the potty, or they may have a relapse six months down the road. Many children start showing signs of potty training as early as 18 months but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready to drop the pull ups.
6 Tips for Easy Potty Training
So how do you know if they’re truly ready? My personal rule of thumb is waiting for two distinct skills to develop. One is physical and the other verbal. The physical skill is being able to pull their pants on and off themselves and sit down on the potty by themselves. This is typically around 2 1/2 but could be sooner or later depending on the child. And the verbal skill is being able to articulate to their parent that they need to use the potty. Why do I wait for these skills to develop? It’s simple. If the child cannot do these things for themselves then it involves the parent undressing and redressing the child and placing them on the potty every so often to see if they need to go. If you wait for these skills to develop it will make your training time a lot less stressful and and you will have an increased rate of success in a shorter period of time.
Once your child is truly ready to start using the potty, using these tips will make it a simple, stress free process. After making mistakes with my oldest child, starting too soon, and not giving her the control she needed, I implemented these with my other children and saw great success – using the potty full time in as little as two days!
Give them Control
Control is a huge issue when it comes to potty training. This is one thing, no matter how hard mom and dad may try, that only the child can control. You can’t force them to empty their bladder or their bowels – as much as you may sometimes want to – and giving them full control from the beginning will be empowering. Let the child know that they are in control and don’t try to take the control away from them. Trying to force the child, or getting frustrated or upset with them can result in the child using toilet training to attempt to control other situations – and having accidents.
Make it Fun
Take your child to the store to pick out his or her very own potty. Sing Songs (make them up if you have to) and make it a positive experience for everyone. A favorite in our house is “pee pee in the potty!” sung while dancing around doing a conga line! And the Hand washing song: “top and bottom, top and bottom, in between, in between, rinse them of and dry them, rinse them off and dry them, now they’re clean!” to the tune of Frere Jaques.
Give Small Rewards
You may choose to use candy such as M & M’s or mini-marshmallows as rewards. Another, non-food idea is a sticker chart. Give one candy or sticker for a successful pee pee and two for a poo poo. Set up the sticker chart right next tot he toilet so that it is an instant reward and the child can see their progress immediately. Do what works with your child. For some children external rewards will not work and you may need to get creative.
Reduce stress in the bathroom and make sitting on the potty relaxing. Reading books or even playing a game can help accomplish this
Lots and Lots of Praise
When your child DOES finally make it in the potty make a HUGE deal out of it. Sing, Dance, Clap, call Grandma and Granpa…
Don’t push it
They are all ready on there own time. Don’t force them or they will REFUSE to go and then you have a much bigger problem on your hands. And remember…none of them go to Kindergarten in diapers so don’t stress about it!