Potty Training 101

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Where to start? When is the right time? What are the signs? Why won’t my child just use the potty? What’s the best method to  use when potty training? Pull ups or straight to underwear? oh where, oh where to start?!

So many questions could be asked when it comes to potty training.  Children don’t come with a manual on how and what will work for them best.  It’s all trial and error with a side of mess.  What works for one child may not work for others.  I’ve put together this article in hopes of helping someone out there.  Both of my boys were potty trained using different methods.  I don’t promise that your child will be potty trained in a week flat.  It will come over time though.  So, don’t panic!

Signs Your Child is Ready For Potty Training

– Wakes with a dry diaper or can stay dry for 2+ hours during the day
– Dislikes having a wet diaper
– Shows interest in using the potty
– Tells you or has signs that they are going (grunting, squatting, squirming)
– Can follow simple instructions

Where to start?

Any day is a great to start the adventure of potty training once your child shows interest.  From experience it happened a lot easier when my children were interested.  Just because I was ready for them to use the potty didn’t mean they were.

What do I need?

Head out to the store with your child and let them help pick out a potty.  Also it’s a great idea to let them pick out their big boy or big girl underwear.  My youngest son didn’t want to pee on his favorite batman underwear.

What’s next?

Tell your child how and what to do.  You could dump the contents of the diaper into the potty or toilet if they have an accident to show them where it needs to go.  Better yet take the diaper away completely.  Some has success with training pants.  Our household did better without.  Have them sit on the potty to get use to it. Make sure the potty is the right fit for them and that their feet can touch the floor.  Remind them to use the potty.  At first I was asking pretty much every half hour if they had to use the potty.  Is it excessive? maybe to some, but hey it worked out for us.  Pay attention to their bathroom behavior.  When they are showing signs of having to use the potty get there fast.  Little ones can’t hold it as long as adults can.  Maybe #2 happens daily or every other day.  If you know this than you know when to be looking out for it and not find your little one squatting in hopes of you not knowing.

Outings, Travel & Potty Training

During the time potty training is getting serious it’s a good idea to stay close to home or get a fold-able potty seat to keep when out.  Some children might be afraid of the full size toilets in malls since they are much larger and louder than the potty.  If your lucky you will find a place such as bigger malls that have family bathrooms with child sized toilets.  Make sure to have your child sit on the potty before you head out for the day.

My child has no interest in using the potty, HELP! he/she is going to be in diapers forever.

Don’t worry! It will happen.  Everyone I knew was wondering when my oldest would potty train.  He had all the signs that he was ready, but showed little interest and tried to fight it.  We went back and forth with him being day trained and not.  It wasn’t until 3 1/2 years old and it happened out of the blue.  He skipped using the little traditional potty and we found success with the potty seat on our toilet with a no slip step for him.

Reward system or not?

Some children do great with a reward system.  I personally did that approach.  One day my son and I sat down and made a potty chart.  Every time he used the potty for #1 I gave him a sticker and #2 would get 2 stickers or a bigger sticker.  The transition from rewards went smoothly and he didn’t forever beg for stickers afterwards.  I’ve heard of some parents using candy, small toys, etc as rewards also. It’s totally up to you.

My youngest had a pail beside his potty with all his clean favorite big boy underwear.  I let him choose what ones he wanted to wear.

Extra Tips/Advice

– Don’t yell at them if an accident does happen.  It does and will happen.
– If you have an expensive area rug you may want to move it until accidents aren’t happen.
– Let your child run around the house without pants.  In their favorite big boy/big girl underwear or even a long t shirt works.
– Keep the potty in whatever room your child is in.  At night I would even put the potty in the bedroom for any late night bathroom trips.
– Congratulate them on their success
– Remember that all children will learn at their own pace.  Don’t rush it.

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