Five Tips for Potty Training

img_2035I am no expert on potty training, but as we’ve helped Lucy learn to use the potty this time around, some ideas have come to the surface. Here are some thoughts and things we’ve found helpful in the potty-training process.

  1. Potty training won’t happen unless your child is ready. I’m sure you’ve heard this before and it’s true. You can’t force your child to have a bowel movement. You just can’t. That said. . .
  2. Your child won’t know they are ready to go on the potty until they know what “going on the potty” means. Just like any other developmental milestone, your child needs be able see and try before they know what it is they are supposed to do. For us, that means two things. First, that your child needs to see you use the toilet. You need to explain to them what is happening and “where poop goes.” (Using cloth diapers has helped us a lot in this regard. Second, they need to practice sitting on the toilet. They need to get comfortable with the idea of using the toilet. I think this means getting them on the toilet well before you actually think they will fully grasp the idea. Give them a chance to surprise you!
  3. The worst thing you can do is put pressure on them. It’s hard to learn to use the toilet, so be as understanding and patient as possible. Keep a good relationship with your child. Encourage them and be clear. When accidents happen, don’t get mad. Instead, matter-of-factly tell them that “poop goes in the potty” or “Next time, pee in the potty.” Nothing will derail your progress faster than yelling or getting mad.
  4. You are learning too. Especially if you are potty-training your first child, you are learning a lot too. Remember that you and your child are working together and your child needs your help. Give yourself some time to learn and figure out how to help your child succeed.
  5. Learning takes time. I know there are a lot of methods and people that say that they were able to potty train in three days or a week or whatever designated amount of time, but that has not been my experience. There are a lot of steps in this process. Celebrate every victory. Go one step at a time.

You can do this. Just be patient, listen to your child, and put your teacher cap on.

A couple other things.

We’ve used these and love them. They’ve got just enough padding to make clean-up a little less frustrating. (Also, for bonus protection when leaving the house, double-up!)

This post has some great information about the potty-training process. (Warning: though the information is good, the language is little crass.)

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