Potty Training—ditching the diapers

Is it time to ditch the diapers? It probably seems like just yesterday you were changing your toddler’s first diaper, and now you are wondering if it is time to start potty training.  Potty training is a big step, and it can be a difficult and frustrating process for both children and parents alike.  No child is alike, so mothers, new or experienced, may be wary about where and when to start and unsure about how to tackle the daunting task. These basic tips will get you started on the right track and help you and your little one find potty training success.

Wait until your child is ready.
There is no magic age to start potty training, however, most children are ready between 2 ½ to 3½ years old.  It is a process, so start slow, and to pique interest, place the potty chair you’ve chosen in the bathroom, make it part of your regular routine at bath time, bedtime, or even before leaving the house, and encourage good hand washing afterward.

Look for the signs.
When is it time to start potty training?  It is different for every child, so it is important to look for signs that may indicate your child is ready.  Some good indicators are:

  • You’re changing fewer diapers which may be dry after a nap, or even overnight
  • Your child’s bowel movements are predictable or regular
  • Your child understands bathroom lingo
  • Your child can perform simple undressing

Choose the right toilet-training potty.
Here is how to pick one to guarantee toilet-training success:

  • Shop for a potty in person and take your child with you
  • Perouse the store’s stock, let your child sit in any that they seem interested in, and look for one’s that fit them comfortably
  • Check for features like a removable bowl and splash guard
  • Let your child decorate the potty with markers or stickers—let them make it their own

Be patient—every child is different.
Potty training is a normal process that is different for each child.  It is important to begin when you believe your child is ready, be active and aware throughout the process, and be patient.  If you push the process too hard, you may end up back at square one.

Motivate with rewards.
For most kids, kisses, hugs, tickles, and praise is motivation enough, but some toddlers may need a little extra incentive.  Some parents swear by sticker charts, while others use other small treats for motivation, but whatever road you take, be sure to emphasize what the child accomplished rather than the reward.

Understand accidents.
A few toddlers start using the potty and never look back; however, for most, accidents are bound to happen.  At such a delicate phase of development, there are many things that can be an obstacle or cause a setback.  Chances are your toddler will be upset after an accident, so the more subdued your reaction, the better.  Offer comfort and reassurance, and help restore your child’s sense of control.  Dealing with the causes of such accidents is instrumental to putting potty training back on the road to success, so be aware of the common triggers such as stress, fatigue, parental pressure, excitement, and other major changes.

For more information about toilet training, consult with your Fort HealthCare family physician, visit forthealthcare.com, or check out this video about toilet training your toddler.

Laurie Runte, PNP

About Laurie Runte, PNP

Education
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Certification
Pediatric Nursing Certification Board: Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
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