Are you a parent who is getting ready to potty-train your child?
If so, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Potty training can be a daunting task for parents, but it doesn’t have to be.
We’ve put together this guide to help make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible for both you and your child. Follow these tips, and before you know it, your little one will be successfully using the potty like a big kid!
The Ultimate Parent Guide to Potty Training: Everything You Need to Know.
When to start potty-training
There is no simple answer to that question. Every child and every family is different. Usually, between 18-24 months, potty training is a window of opportunity, but it’s not the only time it can be done.
What you do before potty training can influence how easy or difficult it will be for your child. If they are used to peeing in pants, you will likely face the most challenging partway earlier than if they are used to being dry.
– If you start introducing underwear at 15 months, they may still think it’s a game or not be interested in them yet. Start when your child is more aware of what clothes are for and can be changed by themselves.
– Toilet training requires a lot of patience, but it’s worth it! You’d have to change underwear for about two years if you started later.
– Don’t push your child to train before they are ready for it!
Read more: Steps to reducing toy clutter
Choose the right time:
One of the most important things to consider when potty training is timing. You want to choose a time when your child is physically and mentally ready, which usually happens around two or three years old.
How do I know my kid is ready?
This is probably one of the first questions many parents ask, and it’s natural for you to want to know. Many parents start as soon as their child demonstrates a few of the apparent signs of readiness listed below, but many children aren’t ready for potty training until they are three years old.
However, we want to stress that it is your responsibility—not your child’s—to use your best judgment and decide when they are ready. If you are comfortable waiting, you should wait. However, if you feel that your child is prepared before three years, you can start potty training earlier.
Physical ability is the most obvious sign that your child is ready for potty training. (Keep in mind that children can develop slowly, so not all two-year-olds will be prepared to use the potty.) Children typically can control their bladders and bowels by the age of two.
Your child should also have developed or acquired language skills to interact with you about using the potty. Some signs of this would be your child initiating a conversation about the potty, repeating words or phrases you use to talk about the potty, mimicking you when you sit on the potty, etc.
Your child should also understand simple requests. At a minimum, this means that they should be able to follow two-step directions (i.e., “Take your pants off and sit on the potty.”) Bear in mind, however, that a child who cannot yet express themself verbally may still be able to follow directions without saying the words.
Your child should also have developed specific physical skills associated with bowel and bladder control.
Some signs of this would include your child being able to undress themselves, wash their hands, and pull their pants up and down.
Your child should also be interested in using the potty.
Signs of this would include your child asking to use the potty themself, wanting to sit on the potty when he has a bowel movement so he can flush, etc.
Your child should be aware of the differences between boys’ and girls’ private parts.
At a minimum, this means that your child should know that boys have a penis while girls do not.
Peeing in the potty is usually a big step towards other things.
Your child should be able to quickly undress and dress themselves, know when they must pee or poop, learn how to wipe, etc.
If your child can do all of that but still needs help with the actual toilet-training part (not sitting on a potty), ask yourself: “Is my child ready to learn?” If the answer is no, it’s better, for now, to go back and teach them other things like how to wipe and put clothes on/off themselves.
If you think your kid can be trained, don’t make it too hard for them! Try sitting with them the first few times. Try not to pressure them into it; they should be willing to learn and try by themselves!
How long should I wait?
If your child is not peeing in the potty, you shouldn’t push them too hard! Their bladder isn’t fully developed yet, so don’t worry if they can’t hold their urine for too long. You can test if they are ready by sitting them on a potty and telling them, “If you need to pee, go to the bathroom.” If they go, then it’s probably time!
– Before 18 months: It is not recommended to train before 18 months. If you push
it before 18 months, it can discourage your kid and even lead to urinary infections. They’re still little and won’t be able to hold it for long if they must.
– After 36 months: Your child is still very young and not ready yet! Their muscles need some time before they can hold their bladder’s contents and control the release of their pee. Another reason why you shouldn’t start too late is that they may not be able to verbally communicate with you and tell you when they need to go.
How do I begin?
– Get your child used to the potty! Sit them on it while watching their favorite show; she can put toys in/on it, etc.
– Make sure they feel comfortable taking their clothes off and on by themselves.
– Let them see you use the potty if possible or explain to them what it’s for.
– If you think they’re ready, start explaining that this thing can be used to pee/poop is – not a toy – and point out where the bathroom is.
– If they get it right, give them lots of praise and attention! If they get it wrong, don’t make a big deal out of it. They will soon catch on if you’re patient with them!
What age is best?
There isn’t one perfect age to begin potty training. Some children are ready earlier than others. You may be able to tell if your child is prepared by their level of awareness, ability to communicate, and physical development – such as bladder control.
If you decide to start, make sure you’re not under a time constraint like a vacation or family visit, etc., where you can’t spend lots of time training. It requires A LOT of patience.
How often should I take them to the loo?
Every 30 minutes, if possible, at first! They need to be reminded constantly for at least four days, maybe even a week. Just make sure you praise them whenever they do something right (even if it’s just letting some pee out).
Should I be in the room with them when they go to the bathroom?
Yes, at least for a few days. You must show your child what you want them to do and encourage them every time they try. It’s also a way of showing your support!
What happens if they don’t get it right?
Don’t go crazy! Just give them a drink and try again in 10 minutes. If they still don’t get it, just let it be now and focus on something else.
What if I catch my child peeing somewhere other than the potty?
Be patient!! It’s not easy to instantly stop doing something you’ve been doing your whole life! Just make sure you don’t punish them. If they, do it in the bathroom, give them lots of praise when they use the potty after that.
What if my child keeps peeing in their pants?
Just keep reminding them all the time what’s right and wrong, then eventually, they’ll get it.
How do I avoid a tantrum?
Don’t ever ignore your child when they cry; that’s the worst thing you can do. Stay calm and use positive reinforcement while finding out why they’re upset or angry. If they don’t tell you, ask them questions like “do you need a drink?” “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” etc.
What do I do if they keep peeing in their pants?
Once again, stay calm! Offer them lots of liquid and take them to the toilet every 20 minutes for about four days. Then wait another week or two, don’t give up!
How can I get my kid to let me know when they need to go?
Please explain the difference between peeing in their pants and using the toilet. Show them where the bathroom is, help them practice taking their clothes off/on by themselves.
What if they don’t seem to be getting it? Where should I take them so they can be assessed?
Go to your doctor or pediatrician. They will provide you with more information on when and how to start potty training and if it’s advisable for them at this stage.
What should I do while I’m waiting for an appointment?
Get your child used to the idea of using the toilet. Keep talking to them about it, take them to the bathroom every 20 minutes for an hour or two for a few days.
What can I expect from my child’s first visit?
Your doctor will examine your child and ask you some questions about their development and behavior (especially toileting habits).
They may also want to see your child using the toilet. They might also talk to you about diet and encourage them to use the potty regularly.
How long does it usually take for a child to get thoroughly trained?
It’s different for everyone, but usually, a few weeks or months will be enough time for them to get used to.
How can I make sure they stay dry at night?
Please keep them in the habit of using the toilet before bedtime and throughout the day. Don’t forget to praise them when they do something right!
Is there anything else parents should know?
Just make sure you’re both patients, offer lots of encouragement and praise, and it will soon be a success!
So, what should you avoid doing when potty training your child?
One of the biggest mistakes parents makes when potty training their child is using fear or force.
Parents also commonly mistake giving children “potties” (plastic seats for toilets) to play with when they are not even interested in using the potty or training to use the potty.
While these things might work for some children, most children will become frustrated and discouraged if you force or scare them into using the potty.
In addition, giving children potties to play with when they have no interest in using the potty is also a mistake because it will not give children a realistic view of what adults do when they use the toilet.
Children do not need to be “afraid” of going in their diapers or a bathroom when they are not around.
Other mistakes that parents commonly make include offering rewards for using the potty, being lazy about taking your child to the bathroom frequently and setting unrealistic expectations for how quickly or slowly your child should learn to use the potty.
While it is okay to offer praise or rewards if your child does something that you would like them to repeat, it is not okay to bribe your child with tangible tips for using the potty.
Similarly, pressuring your child by taking them to the bathroom frequently (or right before you do) will only make your child less receptive to training and may cause them to become resentful of your attempts to potty train.
Finally, expecting your child to learn how to use the potty quickly is unrealistic and will only cause you and your child frustration when they do not know as fast as you would like.
What should you do when initiating potty training?
The best way to potty train your child is to take an active role in your child’s training.
To do this, you will need to be willing to teach your child how to use the potty regularly. This means taking them to the bathroom frequently throughout the day, at least every two hours or so.
It is also important not to put pressure on yourself or your child. Potty training can be frustrating for both children and parents, but you should remember that it will succeed in the end if you remain patient and positive throughout the process.
- Be CONSISTENT!
- Have a big potty-training event with all the family, so there’s no misunderstanding about your child’s requirements.
- Go about it gradually, and don’t expect too much too early.
- Involve older siblings in the process as soon as they are ready; this will make them feel they contribute to the family.
- Don’t start too early, as you don’t want your child to think that this is something he’ll be doing every day.
- Make sure your child has ample opportunity of using the potty during the day. If this isn’t possible, then carry on using nappies.
- Get your child a potty that he can sit down on and one that is relatively low to the ground so that it’s easier for him to get on and off by himself. This will help to avoid tantrums!
- Try not to use disposable pull-up pants during the early stages of potty training, as children tend to get used to them quickly.
- Take your child with you when you go to the toilet so that he can see how it’s done.
10. Always praise your child for trying hard and reward him for his efforts but avoid making a big deal about accidents!
So, there you have it!
Everything you need to know about potty-training your toddler.
Just remember to be patient and take things one step at a time. And don’t forget to celebrate each accomplishment (no matter how small) along the way.
Good luck – you can do it! Are there any additional questions that we didn’t answer in this article?
Let us know in the comments below, and we will try our best to help.