Let’s Get This Potty Started…
An important developmental step for every child is potty training. Most children begin using the toilet as toddlers, usually between 18 months and 3 years old.
Signs that your child may be ready to start potty training include:
- Staying dry for at least two hours at a time.
- Having regular bowel movements.
- Being able to follow instructions.
- Being uncomfortable with dirty diapers and asking for them to be changed.
- Asking to use the potty or saying that they need to urinate or have a bowel movement.
- Showing interest in the toilet and/or wearing “big kid” underpants.
When you begin potty training:
- Choose a potty seat that your child can easily navigate on their own.
- Encourage your child to use the potty at regular intervals – or whenever they show signs that they need to go.
- Be supportive and use rewards, such as stickers, when they’re successful on the potty.
- Use praise, applause, special songs, reading a special book in the bathroom – whatever resonates with your child.
- Let them pick out new ‘big kid” underpants with their favorite characters (Dora, Thomas the Train, etc.) on them.
- Use potty-themed books and videos to reinforce key messages.
- Avoid pressure – your child will likely have accidents during the process. Don’t punish him for any setbacks.
- Don’t begin toilet training during a stressful time (e.g., moving, new baby, starting a new preschool, etc.)
- Recognize that your child has control of his bodily functions, and you can’t get him to “go” on the potty until he is ready. Don’t turn this into a power struggle – because it’s one that you won’t win!
- Be sure that your nanny understands your approach to potty training and is consistent with rewards, praise, etc.
And, remember, some children potty train very easily, while others require more time and effort. With your patience and encouragement, your child will (eventually) be potty trained.