Potty training with my first child was an uphill battle at first. I prepared for it by reading numerous resources, but when the time came I found much of what was recommended for potty training fell flat. I noticed that a lot of the advice given on potty training seemed to ignore the child’s readiness for each stage once potty training had started. I also noticed that a lot of the advice given relied on a parent’s ability to inspire their child to do something rather than relying on the child’s natural desire to imitate adults.
Taking this and my son’s stubborness in to consideration, I threw away all the books and videos to start potty training my own – or I really should say his own – way. Rather than rely on a parenting resource to tell me what to do, I decided to allow my personal insight to take the lead. Utilizing what I had learned from the parenting resources and judging what would work based on my child’s personality I was able to come up with a somewhat new style of potty training that was almost effortless (less frustration for both us and him!), quick, thorough, and development-relient (if the child isn’t ready for it it simply won’t work, no harm done).
It is important while using this potty training method that you always praise your child for a successful effort. Praise is the fuel that will keep your little one’s engine turning and interest piqued in learning how to use the potty. Also, rely on your instincts – if you think of something that may work better or find some steps to be unnecessary go for it! Let your child and your knowledge about him or her be your guide.
Time to get comfortable! – Let your child play with the potty prior to starting potty training so that it becomes a familiar toy to him or her. I let my son practice potty training by sitting him on his potty while he watched his favorite toddler shows on TV and allowing him to play with it at other times. You can start this as early as you want.
Education time! – Let your child see you using the toilet and explain to him or her what you are doing. We held an “open door policy” on our bathroom while our son was potty training – when we used the bathroom the door was always open to him if he wanted to come in and see what we were up to. You can also alternatively or additionally get a potty training doll and use it to show your child how to use his or her potty. This also can be started as early as you want.
Naked time! – Once you’re ready to start potty training (the average potty training age is 18 months to 2 years), start allowing your child to go without a diaper while at home. Take frequent breaks ( every 30 minutes to 1 hour) to sit him or her on the potty and encourage him or her to use it. Don’t be surprised or dismayed if there are accidents! They are to be expected, especially in the beginning. Encourage him or her to use the potty on his or her own if he or she has to go. Don’t worry too much about him or her communicating the need to go potty at this point – right now we are just trying to teach him or her what to do when he or she needs to go.
I’m a big kid now! – Once your child has started to go potty on his or her own and has demonstrated the ability to control his or her bladder (few to no accidents) it’s time to start getting him or her accustomed to underwear. If your child is accident prone Pull Ups are ok but keep in mind potty training may take longer since Pull Ups eliminate the child’s ability to feel his or her self get wet (which helps with teaching bladder control). Don’t get too excited though – for now your child will only be wearing underwear while at home and nothing else (unless you don’t mind washing their clothes frequently). Again, expect some accidents in the beginning. Your child will likely think that underwear is like a diaper and can be used in such a fashion. He or she will learn quickly though that this is not the case when he or she finds out what wet underwear feels like. Educate your child on how to pull down his or her underwear to use the potty and encourage him or her to let you know when he or she has to go.
Time to pull out all the stops! – Once your child is showing his or her self competant at using the potty wearing underwear, it’s time to start putting clothes on him or her as well. Again, this will only be at home. Encourage him or her to let you know when he or she needs to go potty. Again, there will probably be some accidents as your child becomes accustomed to requesting your help. If you plan on using a portable potty seat when going out with your child now is a good time to start practicing using it with him or her.
Once your child is demonstrating competancy at staying dry and informing you when he or she needs to go potty you can start taking him or her out on short trips to practice these skills in public. Make sure to bring some dry clothing and underwear with you for any accidents that may occur.
If you’re finding potty training to be daunting, just keep this in mind: no one grows up never learning or wanting to learn how to use the bathroom properly. Your child will catch on when he or she is ready. It’s not your job to make him or her want to learn how to use the potty. It’s your job to teach him or her how to use the potty when he or she wants to learn how to do it.
Good luck & happy potty training!