4 Tips for Quick and Successful Potty Training
1) Timing is Everything
Choosing the right time to start potty training is the first key to success. Not all children are ready at the same time, so don’t be so concerned with how old your child is. Instead, watch for signs that he is ready such as showing an interest in the bathroom, telling you when he is going in his diaper, or wanting to be changed quickly after pooping. Once he starts showing interest, set aside 3-4 days (a long weekend works well) when you can focus all your attention on your child and potty training. Plan your meals ahead of time and make sure other children or pets are being cared for by someone else if possible.
2) The Naked Truth
Once potty training weekend has arrived, be prepared to kiss diapers goodbye for good. Nothing throws a wrench in your plans for potty training like switching from diapers to no diapers and then back again. This will only prolong potty training and confuse your child. Keep your child naked from the waste down and only put a pull-up on for naps and bedtime. Explain to him that he has no more diapers and that now, when he has to go, he goes in the potty. Keeping him naked from the waste down is extremely useful in helping him remember to go.
3) Practice Makes Perfect
It is really easy to lose your cool when you are wiping pee (or worse, poo) off the floor for the 10th time but do try to remember his accidents are not a behavioural issue that needs disciplining. For the first two (maybe more) years of his life, when he has had the urge to go, he has done so without giving it any thought and suddenly the whole process takes a whole lot of thought. Be patient and encourage your little one’s patience while sitting on the potty by reading fun books and singing songs. Expect accidents to happen the first day or two. Don’t make a big deal about them. Simply explain that pee and poo go in the potty and then try again next time.
4) Sing High Praises
When it comes to potty training, stickers and bribing with special toys or treats aren’t necessary, unless this is consistent with your parenting style. Instead, try giving your child lots of undivided attention during the potty training process. Shower him with lots of love, affection, and positive reinforcement. When he is successful, dance, sing, and tell him how proud you are of him. Before you know it, he’ll be sporting his diaper-less bottom with accidents few and far in between!
Nadia Chartrand, B.Sc.N, PHCNP