All You Need to Know About Potty Training

Potty training is a tricky task for most parents. It takes dedication, effort, and a lot of dirty rags! No technique is fool proof, and those who have potty trained multiple kids can testify to that. What works wonderfully for one child may have drastically different effects on another, even among siblings! If you have a toddler who you are thinking of potty training, we have just the advice you need – right from knowing when to begin to how you should go about it.

When to Potty Train

Potty Training Tips

So how do you know that your child is ready to begin potty training? Contrary to what your friends, colleagues or parents may tell you, there is no ‘correct’ age to begin potty training. You should look to your child for signs that he or she is developmentally ready to start the learning process. These are some of the readiness signs to watch out for:

  • Your child can keep the diaper dry for at least 2 hours at a stretch
  • Your child shows interests in the bathroom, and what others do there
  • Your child has specific words for urine and stool
  • Your child can sit still for a few minutes at a stretch
  • Your child can pull his or her pants up and down

Apart from these cues, ensure that your child is in good health and that there are no potentially stressful changes happening in your child’s life like the birth of a sibling or a move from the crib to a bed.

How to Potty Train

Potty Training the Kids

There are many different ways of teaching your child to pee or poo in the toilet. As this is a multi-step process, take it gradually and expect some steps to take longer than others. Briefly, these are the milestones that your child will have to reach -

  • Getting used to sitting on the potty: Many parents prefer buying a potty seat for the toilet or a standalone potty that the child can get used to before moving on to the regular seat. At this stage, parents keep the potty in a central location where the child can get used to being around it and sitting on it fully clothed. Gradually, parents also seat the child on the potty bare-bottomed.
  • Associating the potty with the act of using the toilet: Once your child is comfortable sitting on the potty, he needs to understand what it is used for. Watch your child for signs that he needs to go to the bathroom and whisk him off to the potty every time you notice it. You can also set aside a couple of diaper-less hours every day during which you seat your child on the potty every 15 minutes to encourage him to use it. The first few times your child gets something into the potty, make a big deal of it. Parents suggest treats, songs or other forms of appreciation to show your child that he did a good thing. Once he is done, show your child what he did and then flush it. If your child is afraid of flushing, do it without him the first few times.
  • Learning that pee and poo belong in the toilet: Even after kids understand what the potty is for, they may not understand the importance of using it. To encourage children to use the toilet, many caregivers suggest letting your child walk around bare bottomed for a few weeks. The uncomfortable sensation of pee running down his legs will encourage him to use the toilet, and will help you notice every time he needs to go. Even if you do use diapers or disposable underwear, empty it into the toilet and explain that the toilet is where poo belongs. Once this is clear to your child, you can expect him to run to the toilet or ask you to take him there every time he needs to use it.
  • Night-time potty training: Once you accomplish day-time potty training, you will naturally want to get your child to wake up to use the bathroom at night as well. However, this process usually takes a lot longer, and many kids continue to have accidents until they are 5 or 6. However, you can help your child by reducing the amount of liquids he drinks before bedtime, and help yourself by using a plastic sheet spread under the bed sheet to make cleaning easy!

Three Day Potty Training!

Potty Training the Kids

The multiple steps involved in potty training make it a lengthy and gradual process. Many parents take it slowly, allowing their children to get used to each step over the course of a few days before moving on to the next one. However, other parents prefer to go through an intensive potty training routine that gets their child potty trained in no more than three days! This technique was developed by a San Fransisco preschool teacher, while potty training over 100 children.

How does it work?

This intense routine involves three days dedicated to potty training with no other appointments or engagements in between. Parents feed their children plenty of liquids, whisking them off to the toilet every time they have to use it. They also develop a song and dance routine that they perform every time the child gets something into the toilet, however small the quantity may be. By the first day, the child understands how to use the toilet. The second and third days are devoted to reinforcing the concept and also training the child to pee before leaving the house. According to the teacher, this technique works best with kids younger than 28 months.

Potty Training Tips:

No matter how you choose to go about potty training your child, here are a few handy potty training tips that you can try:

  1. Let your child watch you or older siblings go to the toilet, and explain the process to him. After all, kids this age learn by watching others.
  2. If at any stage during the process your child resists or seems unable to make progress, stop and restart after a few weeks.
  3. Expect accidents even after potty training is complete. Do not scold your child for them. Just encourage him to use the bathroom or ask for help the next time.
  4. Keep some toys or books that your child can play with only while using the toilet. This comes with the added advantage of keeping your child still on the toilet seat while using it.
  5. Potty training boys: Let your son learn to use the toilet sitting down first as this is a more comfortable position. Help him aim into the toilet by using cereal for target practice.
  6. Potty training girls: Let your daughter use a standalone potty so that her feet are touching the ground and her pelvis is relaxed. Also, make sure she is sitting far back into the seat.

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