While almost all parents look forward to the day when their child no longer needs nappies, very few happily anticipate the process of potty training. Often, potty training begins just when the child is at an age to be rather opinionated and stubborn, which can create stress for both child and parent. With perseverance, though, you will get past this hurdle.
It is important to make every effort to make potty training a positive experience. Begin to prepare your child to use the potty in advance by reading books or watching videos about potty training and talking about how exciting it will be when they no longer need nappies.
Also, start to use the words that you plan to use for urination and bowel movements in advance so that your child understands what those words mean. Experienced parents will tell you that bribing works, so don’t be shy about using a reward system. Many kids respond well to a small sweet after each successful trip to the potty, while others look forward to purchasing some special ‘big kid’ undies.
Consistency is key when introducing the potty, so be sure that you have set aside ample time for this process. In the beginning, it is best if you have a few consecutive days in which you have very few other commitments so that you can dedicate yourself fully to the task at hand.
Be prepared to make numerous trips to the potty, especially in those first few days. Each time that your child arrives in the bathroom with dry pants, praise them and express your delight. Sit your child on the potty for just a few minutes and praise their efforts, even if they do not use the potty. Simply say in a cheerful voice, “That’s okay, we’ll try again in a little while!”
While every child is different, there are some things that seem to work well for most kids.
- Allow kids to ‘potty train’ their favourite toy. Put a nappy on a favourite doll or action figure, then help the toy to graduate to underwear.
- Talk about how all of the big people that your child knows use the potty. Children very much like to be considered, ‘big kids’.
- Go frequently and don’t always expect success.
- Let your child see you using the toilet, if you are comfortable to do so.
- Tell, don’t ask. Often the answer to, “Do you need to use the potty?” will be no, so instead simply say, “Time to go on the potty!”
- Teach your child to undress and dress themselves.
- Train boys to sit before teaching them to stand at the potty. This will help avoid a lot of unnecessary mess and will help with Toilet Hygiene!
- Expect some accidents and remain calm. Never tease or punish your child for a mistake.
Once your child has mastered daytime potty training, it is time to Combat Bedwetting. Establish calm evenings at your house since this not only helps kids to fall asleep easily but also helps them to stay dry at night. Studies show that when children are excited, they produce more urine.
Limit drinking in the hour or so before bedtime and encourage your child to use the potty one last time before heading off to bed. You may want to leave a nightlight on so that your child can easily find their way to the bathroom at night, if needed. Finally, invest in a waterproof mattress cover since overnight accidents are bound to happen.
While most children readily take to potty training, some simply object. Most often, they will begin to get the hang of potty training after a few attempts. There are few tricks that may help you to convince your resistant child that using the potty is a good idea:
- Back off for a few days. Sometimes, the child will then ask to use the potty.
- Run the tap while your child is on the potty. This will sometimes stimulate their urge to urinate.
- Read books or sing songs in the bathroom. Some children are a bit frightened when using the potty, so any means that you have to help them to relax is beneficial.
- Be sure that your child drinks plenty of fluids so that they have the need to urinate frequently.
- Offer rewards and praise, but don’t be pushy. Some kids become increasingly resistant the more that their parents insist. If this describes your little one, give them some space.
All too often, parents get very stressed over potty training. Yes, it must be done, but it doesn’t have to be done right this minute. Try to ignore the unsolicited advice that you are certain to get from well-meaning friends and relatives. Your child will get potty trained when the time is right for them and for you.