Pick the Right Time
Even if you are ready for potty training, your child may not be. Unless your little one is able to make the transition both emotionally and physically, toilet training may take longer. Toddlers are usually ready 1½ and 2 years, girls are often ready before boys, and bowel control may take a while to master, so be patient. Watch for signs that your child is ready, such as letting you know diapers need changing. Many parents try to potty train in warmer weather, so their toddler does not need to struggle with multiple layers of clothing. It is also a good idea not to attempt potty training if there are other emotional situations your toddler is dealing with, such as the birth of a sibling, or a family relocation. Also, make sure you begin potty training at a time when you are not stressed out or overly busy, because patience is imperative for successful potty training.
Get Your Toddler Ready
Toddlers are naturally curious. Get your toddler familiar with the toilet by taking him into the bathroom with you or letting him be with siblings. Let them flush the toilet and watch the water go down. Flushing scares some toddlers at first. You can also empty a dirty diaper’s contents into the toilet and let your toddler flush it. Your goal is to get them comfortable with the bathroom environment and familiar with the toilet.
Choose a Potty Type for Training
If you are using a freestanding model with a removable bowl, place it as close to the toilet as possible. Have your toddler sit fully clothed on this potty while you use the bathroom. Another idea is to have your child sit on their potty seat when playing. This worked well with my daughter who was hesitant when it came to anything new and different. By the time we started potty training, her potty seat was an old friend. If you choose one that fits over a regular toilet seat, make sure you have a stool for their feet to make your toddler feel more secure.
Dress for Success
Choose shirts and pants that do not snap at the crotch. Make sure your toddler can pull down his own pants and underwear. If you decide to use disposable training pants, make sure your child can take them off easily. Try building a desire for training pants by calling them “big girl” or “big boy” pants. As they progress in their potty training, take them shopping for colorful training pants with their favorite color or character and build a desire for the next step.
Sit your toddler on the potty after changing a diaper and provide a toy. Do not make them stay on the potty, but let them get down when they want. You may want to keep a few special toys close to the potty specifically for potty time. Once your toddler is comfortable sitting on the potty with clothes on, try with pants pulled down. You can also sit your toddler on the toilet when you are in the bathroom brushing teeth, shaving, and doing other bathroom tasks. Our son loved to sit on the potty and watch daddy shave. When your toddler is comfortable sitting on the toilet clothed, begin seating them on the toilet two or three times a day bare bottomed. When they get up in the morning, after meals, after nap, and just before bed are good times to do so. Also, watch for clues they need to go and put them on the potty immediately. If they use the potty, reinforce with praise or some type of reward. Be patient. It may take some time for your child to start using the potty consistently.
With patience and consistency, potty training does not need to be difficult. Remember not to ask your toddler if they need to go as a toddler favorite word is “no.” Simply practice, practice, practice, and praise, praise, praise!