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Every toddler reaches a point where they are ready to begin using the toilet. Potty training your toddler is not something most parents look forward to with joy. Make potty training easier by preparing before you start, picking the right time, and following a few simple tips.

potty training

Prepare for Potty Training

You need to help your child get comfortable with the idea of potty training. Here are some things you can do to prepare your toddler for potty training

  • Help your toddler get use to using the potty seat. Place the potty chair in the bathroom and have your child join you or a sibling when they use the restroom. If your family is not comfortable or just is too busy to make this a viable option, put the potty chair in front of the TV and let your toddler use it as a chair.
  • Talk about using the toilet using simple terms. Additionally, there are some excellent books out there to share with your child that will help them understand using the potty.
  • Let your child flush the toilet to get used to this step.
  • Try placing the contents of a dirty diaper in the toilet and letting your toddler flush, explaining in simple terms about the need for them to use the potty.

Pick the Right Time

It is important that your child is both physically and emotionally ready for toilet training.  Look for the following signs before beginning your efforts:

  • An interest in and a desire to use the potty
  • The ability to understand and follow basic directions
  • Indicating an awareness of the need to use the toilet
  • Staying dry for two hours or longer during the day
  • Able to pull down clothing to use the potty
  • Can sit down and get up from the potty chair unassisted

Your child may be physically ready to toilet train before they are emotionally ready. Although most children are ready to start when they are between 22 and 30 months of age, every child is different. Girls are usually ready before boys and mastering peeing in the potty is easier than bowel control.

Not only does your toddler need to be ready, but you and your family also need to be ready. When you bring home a new baby, move to a new home, or there is stress and a great deal of activity is not a good time for potty training.

Steps for Potty Training Success

Once you decide the time is right to begin potty training, set your child up for success by doing the following.

  • Maintain a Positive Attitude

Make sure you, the family, and your toddler’s caregivers stay positive and encouraging.

  • Give Positive Reinforcement

Encourage your toddler by using a positive tone of voice and acknowledging any success, no matter how small.

  • Schedule Potty Breaks

You have waited until your toddler is able to wait to urinate for a few hours. Now begin taking your toddler to the toilet every two hours or so. Take your toddler to the bathroom first thing in the morning, before and after each meal and snack, before leaving the house, and before going to bed.

  • Watch for Signs

If your child squirms, squats, or holds themselves between the legs, they may be indicating a need to go to the bathroom. Respond immediately with a potty trip.

Celebrate Success

You will need to decide what your toddler will respond to when you choose a way to celebrate their success. For some toddlers, a chart with stickers or stars works well. For others, simple verbal praise is enough to encourage them. Do not hesitate to use prizes such as small toys or a special treat they enjoy.

Make every step of your toddler’s success exciting – asking to use the potty, moving to big-girl underpants, pooping in the potty for the first time. Try a party if they succeed in an area that has been especially difficult for them.

Tips for Potty Training

  • Avoid toilets with automatic flush, as they can be scary for toddlers. Cover the sensor with a post-it note to keep it from flushing.
  • Be prepared for mistakes with clothing changes and extra training pants.
  • Avoid asking your toddler if they need to use the potty. Remember that a toddler’s favorite word is, “No!”
  • Make sure you clothe your child in easy to remove bottoms to make training easier.
  • Teach you toddler girl to wipe carefully from front to back
  • Have your toddler boy sit to urinate until after bowel training is achieved.
  • Make sure your toddler washes hands after using the potty.

If your efforts do not meet with success, step back and assess the reason. Your child may not be ready yet. If this is the case, stop for a while and try again a few weeks or months later. However, if you think they are not able to learn to use the potty even though they show all the signs of being ready, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to make sure there are no underlying physical reasons.

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