• Jodi

Potty Training Tips And Tricks

I have spent more hours than I would like to admit potty training toddlers. And let’s be honest there are a few million different techniques to encourage and approach potty training in children. Similar to other areas of development - what works for one child may not work for the next. In my experience, many of the popular methods have upsides and downsides. It is important to remember that the age you choose to begin potty training will also alter what does and doesn’t work. Some parents choose to let potty training be child guided so that when they are ready it will happen. However, with this method you may find yourself as a parent changing diapers much longer than what you originally planned. You may also find yourself in a situation where you are limited on pre-k options as many pre-ks require all children to be fully potty trained prior to starting the program. There is a perk to letting your child guide the process though. By letting them show interest in it there will be less of a battle to use the potty than what other parents may face. With this also comes a likelihood that the process of potty training from the start of interest to being fully potty trained may not take as long because the child is self-motivated. Now on the flip side there are also many parents who choose to start potty training based on age. In my area that age typically averages around 2 or so that the potty begins being introduced. The upside to potty training early is that you will be able to stop changing diapers sooner than if you waited. The downside is that you may find yourselves cleaning up accidents regularly in the beginning of the process. There may also be a greater need for tips and tricks to motivate your child to make this step in development. During potty training it is important to remember that this is a developmental step just as crawling and walking was and no child develops at the exact same time in the exact same way.

  1. If you are potty training a boy - have them sit on the toilet but backwards. Yes you heard that right, so your little boy will be facing the back of the toilet. While it sounds weird the benefits make it 100000% worthwhile. This allows your child to become comfortable with just being on the toilet in general, reduces the risk they’ll fall in which can be a major setback for most children and also removes having to learn how to aim. (They can learn that later.)

  2. Now this one is more of a tip to go along with a potty training method that always seems to circulate whenever a parent asks for potty training tips on Facebook. I’m talking about the one where they say just let them run around naked for a whole weekend and they’ll be potty trained by Monday. Or the less drastic version where you just switch them to underwear and it’ll eventually click. The cons to both of these methods is you’ll be cleaning up A LOT of accidents especially if your child isn’t quite ready to take that developmental step. Potty training takes patience. However, as the parents the method you choose is completely up to you. So if you decide to try one of these methods I highly recommend setting a timer every 30 minutes and setting your child on the potty consistently when the timer goes off. Remember at this point in the development your child is still learning to vocalize that they have to go to the bathroom, as this is a learned skill. So take it one step at a time by giving them ample time to use the bathroom without forcing them to learn both how to use a toilet and how to vocalize it all in one weekend. Your child doesn’t want to have an accident just as much as you don’t want to clean it up.

  3. Use a timer! This is not just a tip for when your child is switching right from diapers to underwear. This is the big trick to all potty training because a timer creates consistency and consistency is key. The ability to vocalize they have to use the bathroom typically takes children a little bit to fully comprehend and learn. As parents you’ll know when your child has this skill down but until that time comes it is crucial that the child is given ample opportunities to use the bathroom. Your child is going from a position to being able to go to the bathroom whenever to having to learn to hold it. Think of us as adults, we should be using the bathroom ideally every 3-4 hours on average. Now your child is much smaller than we are as are their bladders. So at max, after your child has learned to “hold it” they should still be sitting on the toilet every 2 hours or so until they’ve mastered being able to express when they need to go. Ideally, in the beginning of potty training the timer should start at every 30 minutes and as the child has time to learn and be comfortable with the process, bump it back 15 minutes so the time is every 45 minutes. Continue this 15 minute change until the child is at the 2 hours. Please please please note - this change in the timer is not going to be over the course of the day or 1 day after the other. This change on the timer may even take longer than a week. You need to remain patient and consistent. Watch your child, learn their cues and work with them to learn the skills. Try to avoid rushing them, even if you are potty training based on age your child will still learn on their own schedule.

  4. If you plan on traveling with a little one who is potty training, I highly recommend downloading the free app Sitorsquat by Charmin. This app shows you public restrooms in the area and whether people rated them as clean or dirty. You can also narrow down your search options to ones with diaper changing stations. Remember that you won’t necessarily always have a special toilet seat or potty with you when you are traveling. Using a “big” toilet can be scary for little ones so try to give them a chance to become comfortable with this at home. The next issue when traveling is a lot of toilets have automatic flushers that may flush when your child is on the toilet which can cause a setback if it scares your child. You can use your hand to cover the sensor as your child sits down so that it reduces the risk of the toilet flushing while they are sitting on it.

  5. The most common way I have seen in my days of potty training is offering some form of motivation to the child every time they go to the bathroom. This is typically in the form of stickers, m&ms and/or pennies. Positive reinforcement for a positive behavior works in all aspects of life so of course it can also work to encourage potty training behavior. It is important that this remains consistent though and would probably work best in conjunction with other methods. It is also important to consider before you start a reward system on whether you or not you want to reward the basics of just sitting on the toilet. Some parents choose to reward all aspects related to the process while others only reward when the child actually goes in the toilet. Whichever direction you decide to go in it’s important to remember that your child will expect you to follow through with the rewards.

This list of tips and tricks is definitely not an exhaustive list. As the parents you do know what is best for your child and the best way to raise them. But sometimes it can be hard to know where to start and what to consider when approaching potty training. Hopefully these tips and tricks help you wherever you are in the process, whether it’s just starting to look into it or if you are in the middle of training and struggling. The most important thing to remember is to be patient and be consistent, this is a developmental step for your child and no two children develop at the same time in the same way.

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