Because all of the adults and older children in your child’s life use a toilet, learning this process is something your child will expect to do. He or she may even be looking forward to it! However, without a consistent routine and lots of instruction, potty training can be something that is very difficult for your child to master. It is important to be firm, yet understanding as your child goes through this time of life.
The first step should always be speaking with your child about potty training. When he or she is showing strong signs of being ready to begin potty training, ask your child to tell you when he or she has a wet diaper. Surprisingly, your child may be already able to tell you when it’s time to go—many parents underestimate their toddlers! Don’t worry about forcing your child to use the toilet at first. Get him or her used to the idea with books, videos, games, and other fun activities about the subject.
Many parents find it useful to make a chart showing their child’s progress with potty training. Your child can help you make this colorful and display it in either the family bathroom or the bedroom. Set simple goals at first. For example, mark each time your child tells you he or she needs the bathroom with a star on the chart, and when your child collects 10 stars, reward him or her with a small toy, trip to the park, etc. Set more goals as your child learns to use the toilet—stars for staying dry overnight, stars for successfully using the potty, stars for staying clean all day, etc.
It is very important to be consistent, even when it is difficult for you (during a day of shopping for example). Take your child to the restroom often at first, and have him or her sit on the potty for at least 2 minutes. If he or she does not have to go, try again later. It might be a good idea to purchase a potty chair for at home for your toddler, since the toilet can be intimidating.
You might even consider relocating this chair to his or her bedroom or carrying it with you when you travel. Also be consistent with your praise. Your child needs to know that he or she has accomplished something every time the toilet is successfully used, even if it is becoming routine. Don’t fall into the habit, however, of rewarding your child for things he or she already knows how to do. This will not encourage progress. For example, at first, reward and praise your child for telling you his or her diaper is dirty. Later, when he or she has displayed knowledge of how to use a toilet, reward this behavior but be sure to let your child know that dirtying his or her diaper, even if he or she tells you, is no longer tolerated.
Sticking to a routine is important. There are many educational tools on the market to help you learning potty training techniques, as well as many for your child. Remember that accidents are a part of life, and your child may go through the potty training process very slowly. Set a routine and reward your child in order to help him or her learn to use the bathroom.
Diane Ball has an interest in Potty Training. For further information on Potty Training please visit Potty Training or Potty Training Tips .