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Are you struggling to potty train your child or are thinking about it but don’t know where to start? Use these best potty training techniques for success.
I have been potty training kids for the past 28 years. I have helped potty train all kinds of kids and I’ve collected the knowledge I’ve learned together and am sharing it here to help you find success with your child.
Best potty training techniques
The first and foremost thing of the most importance in success with potty training is making sure your child is ready. You cannot force a child to use the potty. It’s not a battle of wills. You might think it can be, but that child can control their body and they will NOT potty train if they don’t want to.
What are the signs that your child is ready to potty train?
- They are talking enough to signal to you they need to go.
- They have enough motor skills to pull their pants up and down.
- They show interest in what you are doing in the bathroom and in the potty.
Start out with lots of potty talk. You can talk about using the potty like mommy or daddy. You can talk about how big boys and girls use the potty instead of diapers. You can say poo poo and pee pee go in the potty when you are changing diapers. Just make potty talk part of our daily dialogue. No pressure, just facts.
When you are bigger you will use the potty. Big boys and girls use the potty like mommy and daddy. Things like that. I do this from the time I meet a child and begin caring for them, so it can go on for months. It’s just part of our normal conversation when I am care taking.
What is the correct age to potty train a child?
There is no exact age. Some children are ready and able as young as 18 months and others are nearly 4 when they start showing interest. It’s nothing to worry about if your child is not ready early. The longer you wait, the easier it is and the less mess and frustration you’ll have. Be patient and let the child decide.
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Best potty training books
The next step in the potty training process is to get some books about it. For several weeks before you start actually training, you can read about it daily. This will reinforce what you’ve already been talking about with the child. There are even videos you can watch with your child. Check them out on YouTube.
Potty training kit
Once a lot of interest is shown, now you need to put together the supplies you need for potty training. Your child is showing lots of interest, so you can put together a kit to use. You’ll need some new undies. I like the thicker training underwear but they are harder to find. Whatever you choose, make sure your child is excited about the choice of undies to wear. This can be a great incentive.
You also need some pull-ups to use when you go out or overnight.
You’ll need to choose a potty seat that works for you. I personally hate potty chairs because they are a mess to clean out. My job is hard enough, I don’t need another toilet to clean. So, I use a potty seat that fits on the big potty but holds the child steady so they won’t fall in. You don’t even have to add a seat, you can just let the child use the regular seat.
Do whatever is comfortable for you and your child.
Potty training rewards
Decide what you will use for potty training rewards. I don’t like the idea of using candy or food as a reward for anything, so I wouldn’t recommend that. But I love the idea of a sticker chart or prizes. Get a nice chart with some spaces you can fill in and use a fun marker or some stickers to fill in when the child finds success.
You could make a commitment to your child to get them a prize when they fill it all up or to call grandma and tell her. Whatever you think motivates the child.
How to begin potty training
Now you have everything in order and are ready to start. Wait until you have 2-3 days in a row that you’ll be at home. Put the child in their new undies. They can just wear that and nothing else, or wear clothes. Whatever works for your family. Set a timer and once an hour or so take them to the potty. This isn’t something you’ll continue for a long time, but you do need to catch them peeing in the potty and not in their pants to get started.
Talk to the child about the sensation of letting pee come out and how you can feel that you need to go. Maybe you can sing a song or read a book while you wait. Don’t spend more than 5 or so minutes. Making them sit there for 20 minutes is not productive and can even be harmful to the process.
Let the child sit with you when you are going potty. This way they can feel a part of something.
Once they pee in the potty for you, make a big deal about it and celebrate. Let them call dad or whoever they would be proud to tell and tell them on the phone.
Continue the timer for the rest of the day. Hopefully, by the second day, they will have had some successes. When they pee in their pants, don’t get upset, just say, we’ll try again, next time get it in the potty.
This process may just take one day for the child, but for some, it takes a few weeks. They have to learn to listen to their body’s signals and that can take practice. Once you’ve used the timer for a day or two, just take them when you think of it and keep setting the routine. I like to take them every time I have to go, but I go a lot. If you don’t, that might not be often enough.
Talk excitedly about them telling you when they have to go. They will catch on and start doing it. The most important part of potty training is not to get upset. It takes some patience, but like eating, if you put too much pressure on, they will regress.
Night time potty training
Once you master staying dry all day, you will probably want to keep a pull-up on them at night. This will prevent a lot of cleaning for you because it’s a lot tougher to wake yourself up to go. You can let them sleep in pull-ups for as long as you want but at least until they wake up dry every day for several weeks.
Speaking of waking up dry, when they first wake up in the morning and from nap are great times to catch them needing to pee, so make sure to run right to the potty any time they wake up.
Remember that pooping in the potty takes a lot longer to learn. It can even be scary for some kids, so don’t lose hope if they get the peeing down but pooping is harder. They will get it, just be patient. Make them proud of each accomplishment, and keep encouraging and it will come. Some kids take months longer to learn to poop in the potty and it can seem like forever. But they will learn. They aren’t going to attend college in pull-ups or diaper. You will get there.
Remember that all the other moms and dads thought it would never happen to, but there are a whole lot of adults walking around successfully potty trained. Your sweet little angel will get there.
For more ideas like what portion sizes kids should be eating or what to expect in your child’s first year of school, click these links.
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