- Wait for signs: Your toddler has to be ready to start potty training. If not, you’re setting yourselves up for a world of frustration. When your little one starts talking about it more, showing interest in the toilet or letting you know when they’ve just gone (or even better – just about to go), then you’re in the zone. They’ll let you know when they’re ready to go.
- Ignore timelines: You’ve seen them – all the potty training tips that promise the secret to potty training in one week, or one weekend, or even three days. Don’t try to measure up to any random timeline or unreasonable standard. Prepare for the long haul. Your toddler will get there, and you’ll be right there to help.
- Watch, do and learn: Potty training for kids is full of new rituals they don’t understand yet: What’s the handle for? Why is there a roll of paper? You know by now that kids love to explore new things to the fullest. Help them out. Sit with them. Show them how it works. The more comfortable they see you are, the more comfortable they’ll be, too.
- Incentivize: Kids are very motivated with small rewards. When you celebrate successes right away, you’re showing positive reinforcement that encourages kids to repeat that behavior. There are plenty of rewards to be won that don’t include sugar. Think stickers, books or other inexpensive trinkets that are valuable to them.
- Exaggerate praise: Small victories can be huge steps toward diaper-less days ahead. Go ahead and show them this is a big deal, because it is. Heap on the extra hugs, the kisses and the congratulations. They need to understand they’re accomplishing something. If (when) they miss the mark, you need to stay positive about that, too. You’ll get there together, and they need to see you’re excited.
- Read all about it: Incorporate some potty training books into story time. You’ll find lots of good books out there that break it down. Books about potty training also help your little one ask questions they might not otherwise think to ask.
- Keep checking: Invest a concentrated amount of time where you visit the restroom together many, many times. When they have plenty of opportunities to keep trying, eventually they’re bound to see what it’s all about and take more steps in the right direction.
- Real undies first: Kids like feeling dry bottoms. Wet bottoms are uncomfortable and lead to diaper rash. Try applying a barrier of diaper rash ointment or spray, then putting on some “big kid” underwear underneath a diaper. They’ll feel what it feels like to be wet, and understand that’s not a good feeling, but you’ll protect their skin as well as furniture and clothes. Just be sure you check often and don’t let them stay wet for long.
Community Service Programs of West Alabama (CSP), Inc.’s Head Start/Early Head Start, Child Care Partnership, and Early Intervention programs engage families and encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Safe and healthy children are ready to learn and explore their world.