By Papa Orr
Potty training is a major milestone in a child’s life. For many parents, potty training is difficult. So, in honor of Potty Training Awareness Month (June), we thought it would be the perfect time to share some information/tips to give you a better understanding of the basics of potty training.
Potty training: How to get the job done
Potty training is a major milestone. Get the facts on timing, technique and handling the inevitable accidents.
By Mayo Clinic staff
Potty training is a big step for kids and parents alike. The secret to success? Patience — perhaps more patience than you ever imagined.
Is it time?
Potty-training success hinges on physical and emotional readiness, not a specific age. Many kids show interest in potty training by age 2, but others might not be ready until age 2 1/2 or even older — and there's no rush. If you start potty training too early, it might take longer to train your child.
Is your child ready? Ask yourself these questions:
- Does your child seem interested in the potty chair or toilet, or in wearing underwear?
- Can your child understand and follow basic directions?
- Does your child tell you through words, facial expressions or posture when he or she needs to go?
- Does your child stay dry for periods of two hours or longer during the day?
- Does your child complain about wet or dirty diapers?
- Can your child pull down his or her pants and pull them up again?
- Can your child sit on and rise from a potty chair?
- If you answered mostly yes, your child might be ready for potty training. If you answered mostly no, you might want to wait awhile — especially if your child has recently faced or is about to face a major change, such as a move or the arrival of a new sibling. A toddler who opposes potty training today might be open to the idea in a few months.
There's no need to postpone potty training if your child has a chronic medical condition but is able to use the toilet normally. Be aware that the process might take longer, however.
Most children begin to show signs that they are ready for potty training between 18 and 24 months, but instead of using age as an indicator, look for other signs that your child may be ready to start the process, such as the ability to:
- Orally express a need to go
- Keep a diaper dry for two hours or more
- Get to the potty, sit on it, and then get off the potty
- Pull down diapers, disposable training pants or underpants
- Show an interest in using the potty or in wearing underpants
10 Training Tips
Once you see that your child is ready to start learning how to use the potty, these tips may help:
- Don’t make your child sit on the toilet against his or her will. Instead, show your child how you sit on the toilet and explain what you’re doing (because your child learns by watching you). You can also have your child sit on the potty seat and watch while you — or one of his or her siblings — use the toilet.
- Establish a routine. For example, you may want to begin by having your child sit on the potty after waking with a dry diaper, or 45 minutes to an hour after drinking lots of fluid. Only put your child on the potty for a few minutes a couple of times a day, and let your child get up if he or she wants to.
- Try catching your child in the act of pooping. Children often give clear cues that they need to use the bathroom — their faces turn red, and they may grunt or squat. And many kids are regular as to the time of day they tend to have a bowel movement.
- Have your child sit on the potty within 15 to 30 minutes after meals to take advantage of the body’s natural tendency to have a bowel movement after eating (this is called the gastro-colic reflex).
- Remove a bowel movement from your child’s diaper, put it in the toilet, and tell your child that poop goes in the potty.
- Make sure your child’s wardrobe is adaptable to potty training. In other words, avoid overalls and onesies. Simple clothes are a must at this stage and kids who are potty training need to be able to undress themselves.
- Some parents like to let their child have some time during the day without a diaper. If he or she urinates without wearing a diaper, your child may be more likely to feel what’s happening and express discomfort. (But if you opt to keep your child’s bottom bare for a little while, you’ll probably need to keep the potty close by, protect your rugs and carpet and be willing to clean up.)
- When your son is ready to start urinating standing up, have “target practice.” Show him how to stand so that he can aim his urine stream into the toilet. Some parents use things like cereal pieces as a sort of bull’s-eye for their little guys to try aiming at.
- Offer your child small rewards, such as stickers or time reading with Mommy, every time your child goes in the potty. Keep a chart to track successes. Once your child appears to be mastering the use of the toilet, let him or her pick out a few new pairs of big-kid underwear to wear.
- Make sure all of your child’s caregivers — including babysitters grandparents, and child care workers — follow the same routine and use the same names for body parts and bathroom acts. Let them know how you’re handling the issue and ask that they use the same approaches so your child won’t become confused.
Just remember that kids will let you know when they’re ready. If you’re torn about when to start the potty training process, let your child be your guide.
Good links for help on Potty Training:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/potty-training/CC00060 (excellent link)
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/tc/toilet-training-topic-overview (very good link)