10 Steps to Successful Potty Trainingby Katlyn Joy | March 22, 2011
Hello potty training, goodbye diapers. Until you have had a toddler and faced the inevitable period that bridges the gap between diapers and toileting, you have missed a real parenting milestone. So as you face this new obstacle take heart in all the other milestones you and your child have already conquered and realize you will get through this just fine too. Seriously, do you remember anyone in diapers in kindergarten? Everyone finds their way and timetable.
1. Timing is everything.
Don't try to start potty training if you are about to go on vacation, or if your child is not quite recovered from the flu, or Dad is going on an extended business trip. (Even if Dad's a fan of this idea!) Planning potty training during times of stress or transition is sure to make things take extra long and be extra stressful.
2. Look for signs of readiness in your child.
Does your child show an interest in using the toilet? Does your child seem to have a regular time for elimination, like shortly after lunch? Does your child want to be changed promptly after messing in the diaper? Maybe your child even pulls off her diaper after wetting or pooping. These are pretty strong signs that it's time to proceed with potty training.
3. Get a potty chair or potty seat to fit over your toilet.
Ask other parents what they found to be best and consider your child's personality and temperament. If your child is easily intimidated by a big potty, having a pint-sized potty chair may be best. However if your little one is a mimic and want to do big things the way Mom or Dad does then a seat that fits on the regular toilet seat may be best. Potty chairs we like include:
4. Be prepared for accidents, mentally and supply-wise.
They are bound to happen. If you become upset, your child will become stressed and less able to develop toilet training skills. Have big boy or girl underwear, and plenty of pairs, or disposable training pants on hand. Have some old towels around for piddle puddles too.
5. Decide on a method.
This is probably the hardest part. There are plenty of options out there, from one or three day methods wear you let your child run naked and realize it's icky to pee, or worse down her legs to more gradual methods that may rely on rewards and praise, from sticker charts to candy treats.
6. Consider purchasing a book on potty training and reading the book together each day.
This lets your child know you are preparing for this big new step with him and he realizes this is happening.
7. Be consistent.
Don't get your child with the toileting program then expect him to revert back to diapers because you have a long car trip ahead and you find it easier not to have to stop so often for pit stops.
8. Once you start the process, keep with it.
The only time to back off is when you realize you definitely jumped the gun and your child is simply not ready to potty train. You'll know because success will be rare and emotions high. You don't want a stressed out toddler. This will backfire for certain. Otherwise stay on course and realize you will get to your goal.
9. Expect accidents, especially during nap time and nighttime.
You may want to use disposable training pants for sleep times. Not all children wake to go to the bathroom. This is a matter of time and development and will happen eventually as well.
10. Never scold or punish for accidents, even if you are sure they are not so accidental.
Getting into power struggles with toddlers is ugly and gets you off target. Instead focus on being positive and praising for every accomplishment. That means cheering on your toddler if she recognized she had to pee and ran for the bathroom, even if she didn't quite make it in time.
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