Potty training, or toilet teaching, is a major accomplishment for both you and your toddler. It is a new skill for your kid to learn and indeed a big step. As a parent, it is natural for you to be unsure about when to actually start the process, because not all kids would be ready for potty training at the same age.
Signs of Readiness
It is important that your toddler is physically and emotionally ready to get potty trained. Therefore, look for the following signs:
- He/she can sit for short spans of time and is walking.
- He/she is able to notify you when their diaper is full or dirty.
- He/she can tell you, with words or actions, while they are pooping or right before they want to poop.
- He/she can stay dry for about two hours.
- He/she tries to pull down their diaper when it’s full because they feel uncomfortable.
- He/she is more independent than before, and likes to do things on their own.
- He/she doesn’t like wearing a diaper anymore.
- He/she can pull their pants up and down.
- He/she can follow some basic directions.
- He/she shows interest in the toilet.
If you notice most of these signs in your toddler, then he/she might be ready for potty training. If not, you may have to wait a little longer.
Preparing for Potty Training
When you know it is time to start toilet teaching your toddler, you need to start preparing for the same:
- Start with getting a good potty chair. Most kids find it more comfortable, safe, and secure to start with a potty chair that is placed on the floor than a toilet seat trainer. It also gives them balance so they don’t feel overwhelmed or scared.
- Initially, place the potty chair in a place where your toddler spends most of his/her time. This makes it easy for them to become curious and access it easily.
Starting the Training
- Start by encouraging your toddler to sit on the potty chair with his/her clothes on. Give them time to get accustomed to it. Do not force them to get up; let them do it in their own pace.
- Use positive terms and gestures that they can understand when referring to the potty. Praise your little one for every single step he/she takes pertinent to potty training.
- When you notice that your child is comfortable sitting on the potty chair with their clothes on, it’s time to make them practice the same without their clothes.
- You can also try scheduling your toddler’s potty time. For instance, have them sit on the potty without clothes or diaper first thing in the morning or half hour after a meal.
- In the case of boys, let them learn to urinate sitting down first before moving to standing up.
- Give your toddler his/her favorite toy to play with while they sit on the potty, or even read a story or sing songs. Again, let them stand up as and when they wish.
- Whenever your toddler uses the potty correctly, remember to praise them and give them small rewards; but, don’t go overboard. Even if he/she just sits there without actually pooping, praise them for trying and let them know that they can always try again later.
- Even when you’re traveling, remember to take a travel potty chair or seat along so you can train them consistently.
- Also teach them hygiene. Teach them to properly wipe or wash their privates, and make washing their hands afterward mandatory.
Follow these procedures for a couple of weeks and after making sure that your toddler is comfortable with the potty and stays dry during the day, you can stop using diapers start using underwear or training pants.
However, if it seems like your kid isn’t ready for the potty yet even after a few weeks, it is best to take a break and try after a few months. NEVER push your toddler when he/she doesn’t seem ready.
Another important point to remember when it comes to potty training your toddler is that, night training usually takes longer. Your child should reach at least the age of 5 in order to be able to stay dry at night and during his naps.
Potty training doesn’t happen in a day or two and you cannot be successful immediately. Accidents can and will happen, and it is vital that you stay calm during this time. When accident happens, DO NOT shout, discipline, or scold your kid; instead, tell him/her it’s okay that they forgot it this time and that they’ll know to get to the toilet sooner in the future. If you’re heading out or sending your toddler to daycare or school, always have a pair of underwear and extra clothing handy.