Potty Training Tips
Once you make the decision to potty train your toddler, it’s important to consider a few things. These five potty training tips for successfully potty training toddlers will help you decide what approach is best for your family. Some parents like using a sticker chart and others don’t – it really depends on how long the process takes and what works well for your child. Read through the tips below and see where you fall with each one.
1. Know the signs of "readiness."
One of the most important factors in potty training is knowing when your child is ready. If you don’t prepare for this step, it can be frustrating for both you and your toddler.
When Is My Child Ready for Potty Training?
There are several signs that indicate when a child is ready to potty train:
- They have an interest in the toilet and what happens in there (they may even want to flush!).
- They understand that diapers aren’t appropriate anymore, but are just not quite sure how to use the toilet yet.
- Their diaper habits have changed (if they’re going more than three hours at night or two hours during the day without needing to go to the toilet), this could be an indicator that they’re ready for potty training).
2. Use incentives to re-enforce the right behaviors
Use incentives to make the process more fun. Incentives could be small toys, stickers, markers, books – anything that has some value to your child. Or check out my Potty Training Tools page for some more elaborate chart and sticker combos.
When they reach a milestone in their potty training (using the toilet for pee instead of the diaper), offer them a reward! Be patient and take your time. Potty training is a huge step for kids and takes patience on the part of parents. There are plenty of accidents that will happen along the way, but if you keep your cool and remain positive they’ll catch on faster.
Incentives like this can be helpful in motivating kids and making them feel like they are achieving something but they need to have some basis in reality! If you have a child who really wants something and is willing to work hard for it, by all means, offer them an incentive. If they are only interested in getting their way or having their needs met, then find ways to motivate them using praise and positive reinforcement instead of rewards.
3. Make sure your toddler has regular opportunities to use the potty.
This doesn’t just mean when they’re taking a bath or after meals. Rather, make sure your child goes to the potty every hour or so – the more often, the better! Try to get them in the habit of holding their pee for longer periods (you can do this by limiting their liquid intake before bedtime). If possible, try taking your toddler with you to use the potty; this will help them see what it’s like and how easy it is.
When your child is in the bathroom, read a book or sing a song. If you have a potty chair, let him sit on it while you help him with his clothes, and then let him sit on the toilet. Use words like “potty” or “toilet” to help him understand what this special place is for. Letting him watch you use the bathroom will also help teach him what it’s for!
If your child has an accident in his pants, don’t punish him; instead, praise him when he does what you ask him to do.
4. Make Potty Training Fun!
Children learn best when they’re having fun. If you’re trying to potty train your child, try to make the process as enjoyable as possible with games and rewards. For example, if your toddler is learning how to flush the toilet, try to make it a fun game where you count every time he flushes or let him drop toilet paper into the bowl, then flush it away. If your child is learning to sit on the toilet while he poops, try using some of his favorite books or toys as props so that he’ll enjoy himself.
5. Help your toddler remember to go by setting a timer, but don't stress too much about accidents.
Set a timer. Help your toddler remember to go by setting a timer, but don’t stress too much about accidents. You’ll save yourself (and your child) a lot of frustration if you don’t get angry every time there’s an accident; instead, focus on what worked well and try again next time. Don’t overload your child with information at once – just one idea at a time will do. And take it slow – there’s no need to rush into full-time potty use if you’re not ready for it yet!
- Don’t punish your toddler for accidents.
- Don’t let your toddler watch tv or play video games while on the potty.
A potty-trained toddler is a happy toddler!
Potty training a toddler is a big deal. It will be the first time your little one takes control of his or her body and how to get it ready for the day ahead. However, not all toddlers are ready to potty train on their own. That’s why it’s important that you teach them as soon as possible so they can start learning from experience and develop good habits.
While these tips will help speed up the process of potty training your toddler, it’s important to remember that no two children learn at exactly the same rate or in exactly the same way – so don’t fret if one day seems easier than another!
Cleanups will be inevitable
No matter how much your child is trying to hold it in, there will be an inevitable mess. This can happen if you are using a potty chair or toilet, and it’s important that you clean up the mess quickly and efficiently so that everyone remains calm.
To avoid making things worse, here are some tips and tricks for quick cleanups:
- Keep extra clothes ready at all times: No matter what method you use, accidents WILL happen. It’s best to be prepared with a change of clothing so that you don’t have to run around looking for them in the event of an accident.
- Clean up immediately: As soon as your child has an accident, it is important to clean them and change their clothes right away (especially if they are uncomfortable being messy). This will help keep the anxiety caused by accidents at bay.
- Use a cloth diaper or an absorbent pad: This will help you to clean up the mess with ease.
- Wipe the area thoroughly: Cleaning with a wet wipe will make sure that most of the mess is cleaned off, especially if it has dried onto your child’s clothes or body.
- Wash your hands: Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you are done cleaning up.
Potty training your toddler can feel like a losing battle some days and it can be stressful too. But the good news is that kids tend to “get it” pretty quickly and once they do, life becomes much easier for you and your child! So chug some coffee (or tea) and get ready for some fun times as you bring about this major milestone in your kid’s life.