Potty training a toddler is a topic on which every parent will have their own story to share. But, what all parents will agree is that the toilet training process is one of the most important milestones in a child’s development chart.
Read below to learn all about this process, right from recognizing the potty training readiness signs to how to potty train a kid successfully.
Signs of Potty Training Readiness
So, how do you know it is the right time to start potty training for your kid? Is there a standard potty training age? What happens if you start too early or too late?
First things first, there is no set standard age.
In some cultures people train their kids to use the toilet at a very young age like 6 months. Training early has several advantages like:
- Saves money because of less diaper usage.
- Young kids are more malleable and easy to train.
- Healthier for the kids because of less chances of diaper rash and urinary tract infection.
You just need to follow certain early potty training tips in order to succeed like:
- Be aware of signs that tell you that your baby is about to eliminate.
- Dress up the baby in clothes that are easy to take off, especially the bottom ones.
- Be consistent with the schedule. Remember to take the baby to the toilet after waking up, after nap times and after meals.
But, some scholars do not recommend starting potty training so early. According to them, children so young are not physically and psychologically developed to be able to communicate their elimination wants.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting at least till your child is18-20 months of age and shows toilet training readiness signs.
Here are some signs that indicate that your child is ready for toilet training:
- Your child’s diaper starts to remain dry for 2 hours or more.
- Though, your child has not started to speak, he/she can still communicate to you non-verbally. Like when he/she wants to drink water or go to the park.
- Your child can sit on a baby stool/chair on its own.
- The toddler is able to pull down and up his/her pants without your assistance.
- Just before your child pees or poops, he/she gives some kind of facial cues. For example, some kids will become still and look like they are concentrating on something just before they pee. Some kids will make some kind of verbal sound when they are about to poop.
- Your kid will not like to remain wet or dirty and will draw your attention to their condition.
- Your kid can understand and follow some basic instructions. Like, “put the ball back in the basket” or “get your shoes”.
- Some kids will show signs of becoming independent, like they will like to try to pull over their shirt by themselves or try to wear their shoes by themselves.
- By this time, kids also like to imitate their parents or older siblings. They try to copy their way of eating, drinking, walking, sitting and so on.
Kids who see their older sibling use the toilet will try to imitate this behavior and may learn to use the toilet much earlier and quicker than usual.
- The bowel movement of your child will seem more regular now than before.
- Does your child enjoy praise and likes to please you? This behavior will come in handy when you start toilet training, as stars, stickers, candies can go a long way to motivate a small kid.
It is not necessary that your toddler will exhibit all these behaviors. But, when he/she starts to show most of these signs then it will mean that the time has come for potty training.
You can choose any of the potty training methods, early potty training method or late potty training method, just remember to be consistent and follow a potty training schedule. Given below are other tips that will help you in your potty training journey.
10 Best Early Potty Training Tips
Introduce the Potty Seat in a Friendly Way
Your child should not find the toilet seat repulsive. Make it attractive by putting up cartoon stickers on it. Buy attractive toilet gear for your toddler.
If you are creating a rewards jar then keep it in the bathroom where it will be visible to your toddler from his toilet seat.
Bring attractive and perfumed soaps. You can also make the handwash container look attractive by adding frills and glitter.
Motivate the Child with Stars and Rewards
Some parents make a rewards chart through which they track their kid’s toilet training progress. They give the child stars for every successful attempt. A prize is also in store for them when they get a specific number of stars.
You can also make such a chart and stick it in the bathroom.
Read Stories and Sing Songs in the Bathroom
Stay with your child in the bathroom while he is using the potty seat. Sing funny songs or read interesting stories to relax your child.
Some parents place their kids on the seat facing the upturned toilet seat cover and let them draw on it with washable crayons. This helps to pass time and makes the toilet journey an interesting one.
Place a Stool to Rest the Dangling Feet
Keep a small stool in the bathroom so that your kid can use it to rest his dangling feet while he is sitting on the toilet seat. Your child will feel more in control if he has his feet placed firmly. It will also help him to poop better.
Your child can also use the stool to stand up while washing his hands.
Do Not Scold or Punish in Case of Failures
Scolding, punishing, showing negative emotions like anger, disappointment will only make things worse. They might even push back your child a few steps backward in his toilet training process.
Accidents are bound to happen, especially in the early stages of potty training. Accept this and prepare yourself. Buy extra kids’ underwear if necessary.
Use Potty Training Pants
Potty training pants are the midway between diaper and regular underpants. They do not soak up like a diaper. In case of accidents your child can feel the wetness and know that he has peed.
The advantage of these pull up pants is that you do not have to change them every time your child has dribbled as there are 2-3 layers of clothing underneath.
Create Pee/Poop Opportunities Through Diet Changes
If there are not enough pee/poop opportunities then reinforcing toilet training will become difficult. Hence, it is important to create these opportunities through diet changes of the child.
Some parents make the mistake of cutting down on water intake during the training period to avoid messes. But this practice is not only unhealthy for the child but it will also not help in the toilet training process.
Start the Training in a Conducive Environment
The toilet training should only be started when the child is feeling healthy and happy. If a child is sick or recovering from some illness then you should not start toilet training. A child who is suffering from constipation or diarrhea should also be not give toilet training during that time.
The home environment should also be conducive for toilet training. Toilet training should never be started when you are moving house or have guests in the house. Avoid starting the training when there is some function or festivity taking place in the household.
Some parents also prefer to toilet train their kids when the weather is pleasant, which is generally during the summer time.
Do Not Make the Sitting Duration Too Long or Tiring
Do not let your over-enthusiasm make things difficult for your child. Do not make your child sit for too long on the potty seat just in the hope that he would pee or poop eventually. This will not only be tiring for your kid but will make him not want to go to the toilet.
Stay relaxed and keep the toilet trips short, frequent and joyful.
Do Not Force the Child When Potty Training
Do not push your child to use the toilet. Introduce toilet training positively and in a friendly fashion.
If your child does not want to use the toilet even after you trying it for couple of weeks, then take a break. Maybe your child is not ready for it. You can always try again after a few weeks break.
Trying to forcefully train a child to use the toilet can have adverse effects. It can make the child to hold his urine for long and create bladder problems. It will also create emotional stress and may prolong the training time unnecessarily.
Wrap up – How to Potty Train a Kid
Despite your best efforts there are bound to be potty training problems and accidents during the potty training process. Since this whole concept of using a toilet is new to your toddler he/she will take time adjusting to it.
Use the potty training tricks given in the article to overcome any setbacks and you will have your kid potty trained in no time!