Potty Training A Child
Potty training is essential as the child grows. One of the vital indications to start potty training is the child’s readiness. Even employing the best toilet tactics will be unsuccessful if the child is not prepared for this step.
The world of potty training requires patience and awareness for success. Children are different; hence varying strategies will work on different kids.
You may wonder how to tell if your child is ready to start potty training? This article elaborates on the signals and tips to help you get started.
Is my child ready for potty training? 10 Major signs
At the age of 2 to 3 and ½, the child will start to show signs of potty readiness.
How can you tell if the child is ready?
Below are tips you can use to identify if your child is ready for potty training.
- The child shows interest in the potty, toilet, or underpants.
- The child takes notice and interest in how you use the bathroom.
- If the child can stay dry for two or more hours.
- The child has a predictable pooping schedule.
- If the child finds wet or dirty diapers gross and wants to have them changed frequently.
- The child can follow basic instructions.
- The child can use body language or communicate verbally their need to use the toilet.
- The child can walk to and sit on the potty chair.
- The child can pull their pants down and up.
- The child can understand terms such as poop, wee, and other related terminologies.
How to prepare the child for potty training – 7 guidelines
These guidelines help with the smooth transition from diapers to potty.
Explain the importance of using the potty
Engage the child on the importance of using the potty. Make the conversation interesting and fun by explaining that the child can now use the bathroom and flush like mummy and daddy.
Get them excited about the change of wearing underwear instead of a diaper.
Develop standard bathroom talk
Explain to the child that these are normal human processes that shouldn’t cause any form of embarrassment. Normalize standard terms such as defecate and urinate to avoid the child feeling embarrassed by this development.
Make the practice of going to the toilet or using the potty regular and exciting.
Appreciate when the child practices adult behavior
Notice the minor changes your child makes as a result of the growth and development and appreciate them. Such may include drinking without spilling as well as using the potty instead of diapers.
However, be careful not to pressurize the child as it may make the child feel inadequate and yearn for the earlier baby days.
Proper dressing to start the potty training
Dress the child into appropriate clothing that they will find comfortable to maneuver through. Teach the child how to pull their pants up and down after diaper changes to get them ready.
Teach the child how to use the potty
Toddlers love to copy their parents; hence you can take advantage of that and demonstrate to the child how to effectively use the toilet. Teach them how to squat, wipe and even flash.
Not all parents would be comfortable with the demonstrating part; hence, you can explain the steps instead.
Bridge the gap between the potty and diapers
Let the child see the connection between the diapers and the potty. You can change the child’s diaper in the room with the potty. After changing the child’s poppy diaper, go to the bathroom with the child to watch as you flush the contents.
If the child has a phobia of the flushing sound, you can skip this step.
Select the appropriate potty
When shopping for the potty, you can go with your kid so that they can choose their favorite color and design.
Ensure the potty is durable and stable so that the child does not tip over, which may take you back to square one, the diaper stage.
How to potty train a child – 7 tips
The essential factor as you start potty training your child is to have your foundation set. Once you have a way to start the process, you are now ready for the actual procedure.
Below are tips on how you can start potty training your child.
Start with pull-ups
You can start with disposable options that a child can pull up and down like underpants. The difference between the pull-ups and ordinary underpants is that they absorb like diapers in an accident.
After a few successes when using the potty, you can switch to washable pants.
Train the child to understand their body
You can start by letting the child stay bare during the day in a private, comfortable space. It is difficult to ignore the urge to use the bathroom without having diapers on.
Ensure the potty is close so that the child can act on their body signals fast. This process trains the child to understand and react to their body.
Keep a close watch
It is better if you are around at this stage to detect the child’s signals to visit the bathroom. For instance, if the child starts fidgeting, you can ask them if they want you to get their potty.
If the child has already done the deed, you can still have them sit on the potty to emphasize the connection.
Motivate the child
As we encourage the child to use the potty, you can try incentives to motivate them. Ideas such as putting a penny in the piggy bank or marking the calendar to track and gift the child are ideal at this phase.
The child becomes more motivated to use the potty and eventually gets comfortable with the idea.
It may take several weeks for the toddler to master proficiency in potty use. Do not set high expectations for the toddler as they will make many steps forward and backward.
Exercise patience and do not reprimand or punish the child so that you don’t interfere with their self-confidence.
Do not use force
Using force to make your child sit on the potty will only lead to resistance. Instead, try friendlier means to encourage the child to use the potty, for example, asking them to take their dolls to the potty so that they get used to the practice.
Don’t ration your child’s drinks
Most parents tend to ration fluids to minimize the chances of having accidents. It is not only unhealthy but also unfair. You can better the tactic by increasing the child’s fluid intake to increase the chances of success.
What age should a child be potty trained?
Potty training does not come easy or without its challenges, hence the question, when is the right age. Parents should understand that no matter the age, most children will resist potty training.
The most critical part of this journey is persistence and encouragement.
There is no perfect age to start potty training; however, the earlier, the better, though not below 3 years.
The standard age most parents prefer is between the age of 3 and 4 years. According to pediatric experts, beginning the potty training process before 3 may harm the child.
Moreover, it may lead to more toilet accidents as the bladder is not yet strong enough.
The ideal age to start potty training is when your child is ready.
You can depict readiness through several signs, as listed in this article.
These should be your lookout and go-ahead signals.
- If your child can walk to and sit on a potty seat.
- If the child can effectively communicate their needs.
- If your child can pull their pants down and up.
- If the child can stay dry for 2 hours or more.
- If the child can follow simple steps and instructions.
- If the child shows interest in adult practices such as using the bathroom.
If most of your answers are yes, your child is probably ready for the next step. Ensure the motivation to start potty training comes from the child and not from your preference.
When you feel it is time, based on the child’s communication, get ready to start, with the help of the following tips:
- Select your words wisely to engage your child in a conversation and avoid the use of negative terms.
- Get the equipment ready and train the child on how to use it.
- Create time for potty breaks and encourage the child to use their new adult toilet.
- Watch out for the signs that your child needs to use the bathroom and respond effectively.
- Teach the child hygiene practices as they learn to go to the bathroom themselves.
- After weeks of success, you can ditch the diapers. If the child cannot keep dry, you can return to the diapers and give them a little bit more time.
If the child resists at the first attempt, you can wait for some time and try again later. Struggling with a child will only cause frustration for both of you and affect the relationship with the toddler.
What happens if you potty train too early
As stated earlier, potty training has no specific starting age, though it is not advisable to begin the process before three years. There has been an association of harm to early potty training by pediatric professionals.
Most parents start the training early in preparation for school. In case you anticipate having your child start school at an early age, several schools have diaper changing rooms and even potty training sessions that can work effectively for you as you begin the process at an appropriate time.
Dangers of early potty training
- It leads to interference with the growth and development of the child’s bladder.
- Early potty training increases the chances of toilet accidents.
- It causes medical conditions in the child, such as constipation, kidney damage, and urinary tract infections.
Final thought – It is better safe than sorry. With the tips provided in the article, you are sure to have a successful experience with your toddler in potty training. Best of luck!