Published March 06, 2008
So its time to potty train your child, I know what your thinking! How am I ever going to do this? This is one of the great joys of parenthood; it can be a very difficult step in your child’s development. A child is ready to be potty trained anywhere between 1 1/2 to 3 years old and you will usually get clues as to when your child may be ready like showing an interest in the potty or wanting to wear "big kid" underwear. Everyone eventually gets the hang of it, it’s very unlikely that your child will go to high school with a diaper on so don’t worry too much, but if you need a little extra help here are some potty training tips to get you child on the road to going on his own. First let’s talk about the don'ts of potty training your child:
- Don’t force potty training on your child. Forcing your child to go will only create an atmosphere that he or she may be scared of and you will face more resistance.
- Don’t start potty training when a big life even is going on, stress, good or bad can be bad for potty training. Wait until life settles down so that your child will associate potty training with structure and routine. Don’t make accidents a big deal.
- Don’t get mad or upset, make sure they know that its natural and everyone does it and take the opportunity to show them the potty and explain to them that this is where they need to go next time. By getting angry or making it a big deal when your child ahs an accident it will actually reinforce it and may cause more accidents.
- Don’t expect your child to be trained to last through the night anytime soon. It is completely normal for bedwetting to happen up to age four.
- Don’t discount your child’s fears about potty training. Some children will be afraid of the sound of the toilet flushing, they might not understand where the toilet is going too, or they may be afraid to fall in. Explain and be patient with them no matter how silly the fear is.
- Don’t try to set a deadline, or a day that your child must be potty trained by. Each child is different and it may take some a week and others a year. Programs that promise your child will be trained in 7 days only leave the parents and children feeling as if they failed.
Ok now we can move on to what you should do:
- First you need to help your child recognize the signs of having to go to the bathroom. Usually your child will tell you after they have already done their business but this is a good sign that your child is starting to understand this bodily function. Make sure to praise your child for telling you and tell them to try and let you know next time before they go.
- Make trips to the potty a routine thing. If your child acts like he needs to go take him to the potty and let him sit but only for a few minutes at a time. If your child resists strongly do not force him to stay. Take your child at the same times everyday like first thing in the morning, after eating, after naps and before bed.
- Teach your child good hygiene and explain the purpose of bodily waste. Let your child know how to wipe properly (girls should wipe front to back to avoid bringing germs from the rectum to the vagina) and teach them to wash their hands after using the potty.
- Encourage the use of training pants and underwear.
- Consider rewarding success trips to the potty with a small children's gift.
It may seem impossible in the beginning but if you take it slow and pay attention to your child’s needs you should have no problem. Trust me this probably won’t be the biggest challenge you face with your child.