Potty training is a major milestone, for both parents and children. Using a potty is a new skill that will take your child some time to learn, for this reason, patience is the name of the game. This article will focus on children who are not disabled and who are able to dress themselves and find their own way to the bathroom. Here are some tips to effectively potty train your child, including how to know its time.
When to start potty training
You cannot force your child to use a potty. You have to wait until they’re ready and there’s no perfect time so resist the impulse to pressure your child. You know your child is ready if they:
- Communicate when they are about to go potty or have already gone potty in their diaper.
- Cross their legs before peeing, touch their diaper, or bend down.
- Can walk on their own.
- Express an interest in the toilet or wearing big child underwear.
- Recognize when their diaper is soiled and don’t like the feeling of a dirty diaper.
- Keep their diaper dry for longer periods.
- Are physically able to pull their pants up and down.
Potty training tips
If you have determined that your child is ready, here are some things to keep in mind as you begin.
Choose your words and talk about using the potty a lot
You need to decide how you will refer to the child’s bodily fluids. The idea is to avoid negative words like dirty or stinky and start the potty training on a positive note with simple words. Talk about using the potty frequently and talk it up so that they are excited to do it. Play pretend with dolls or other toys to re-enact it with familiar items.
Pick a potty together
Consider going with the child to pick out a potty so that they feel a sense of ownership and control about the potty training process. This may also get help them excited about it. Keep the potty in the bathroom and let them practice sitting in it. Encourage them to sit on the new potty in their clothes to start.
Allow the child to choose their own underwear at the beginning of the potty training process. Buy and let them choose underwear they really like such as ones bearing their favourite cartoon characters. Let them associate keeping it clean with using the potty.
Show don’t just tell
Allow the child to go into the bathroom with you to make it a familiar place to frequent. Children learn by mimicking and imitation so seeing you go to the bathroom will encourage them to do the same. You can also dump the contents of a dirty diaper into the potty or toilet to demonstrate its purpose then let the child flush the contents away. Showing when potty training is highly effective.
Schedule potty breaks
Consistently encourage the child to use the potty. Set up established times to use the potty even if it’s just sitting on it, such as after waking up, before a meal, before leaving the house, and before going to bed. Consistency is key when it comes to potty training.
Schedule potty breaks every two hours or so where you take the child to the potty and let them sit and try using it. Keep it short, for about two to three minutes. You don’t want them sitting there for too long. You want it to be a light-hearted, stress-free experience so consider taking a toy or two with you to occupy them. Even if they just sit there, praise them for trying and do it again, two hours later.
Drink plenty of water
Have the child drink lots of fluids during the potty training period. This helps keep the bowel and bladder healthy and increases the frequency of urination which increases the likelihood of successfully using the potty. It should go without saying that the fluids should not include fizzy and sugary drinks.
Get there fast
Even with scheduled potty breaks, you need to look out for signs that your child may need to use the potty. These signs include squirming, squatting, holding the genital area and you should respond fast by leading the child to the potty or carrying them there. This will help the child become familiar with the signs they need to go themselves, supporting the potty training process.
Keep the child in loose, easy to remove clothing that’s easy to remove and pull on. This makes potty training easier for both you and the child.
Don’t punish or scold them when accidents happen as they are wont to do. Potty training is a new, potentially complex skill for them. Prepare for potential accidents in advance. Instead, you should reward them with lots of praise simply for trying. Also, consider rewarding them with things like stickers of you know they’d appreciate.
Teach them the importance of wiping, flushing, and washing their hands immediately before leaving the toilet. For girls, it’s important to teach them to wipe from front to back. This prevents bringing germs from the rectum to the vagina or bladder.
Ditch the diapers
After a few weeks of successful potty use, you can ditch the diapers entirely. Allow the child to return to diapers in part if they are unable to stay dry. Potty training is a process that requires constant recalibration.
It’s okay to stop trying
In the event that you and your child are just getting progressively frustrated, it’s okay to take a break and try potty training again after some time.
Staying dry overnight takes longer to achieve. Most children are able to do it between ages 5 and 7. In the meantime, a mattress cover, and disposable training pants will do. Stay calm and patient through it all while offering encouragement throughout the potty training process.
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