Potty Trainning: Starting on the Right Track

     Parents sometimes need a little help with potty training their child. A lot of questions come up like: How do I know he's ready? At what age do I start? What if she has a lot of accidents?

     Guiding your child to use the toilet takes a little work and commitment. Most children will not let you know that they have to "go". Even a newly potty trained child that knows how to use the toilet will sometimes have accidents. You have to send them to the toilet to "try" and go. Most of the time, the toddler will "go".

Some of the signs that your child is ready to start potty training are:
  • Speaks in full sentences.
  • Stays dry for long periods of time.
  • Goes  pee-pee in the potty when they try it.
  • Asks to be changed as soon as their diaper is wet or dirty.
  • If your child is beginning to pull pants up and down on their own. ( you can begin working on this skill with them before you begin potty training)
Some children will be ready to begin potty training from just before 2years old and some will be after their 3rd birthday. Look for signs of interest in the toilet. If they mention things like "my friend goes to the potty", or asks "what's mommy doing in the potty?" Take advantage of this moment and talk about how she will get to use the potty too soon.

Here are tips that I have used in my classroom that will help you:
  • Every time you change their diaper, sit them in the toilet to try and pee-pee. If they go, you want to applaud them, praise them, or give them a small reward like a sticker. You can even make a chart for them. This will encourage your child to do it again as she knows she will have a positive experience and be very proud of herself. If the child does not do anything thing after 3 or 4 minutes let them know how proud you are that they tried it. If the child does not want to sit in the toilet because he seems scared wait a few more weeks to try again. Getting them their own toddler size training potty usually works best as it is less overwhelming than the "big toilet".
  • If they have an accident, don't make a big deal about it. But as you change them and clean up the accident, remind them that pee-pee and poopy go in the potty. Sometimes it takes a few accidents for them to realize that they don't like that feeling of being wet and messy and they will get trained faster.
  • If you have a child that has predictable bowel movements, sit them in the toilet at these times.
  • At the beginning of potty training, send him to use the potty every thirty minutes. Avoid asking them if they have to use the potty because most likely the answer is going to be "no".
  • Have the child wear loose, easy to take off clothes. Dresses for girls is ideal and elastic pants for boys. You do not want the child to get frustrated messing with buttons, zippers, and tight pants as they are trying to go to the bathroom.
The important thing is not to pressure the child and always be positive about it. Make it a fun and happy experience from the beginning. Go shopping together for underwear and a training potty!