Ah, potty-training… The horrible, looming task that hangs in the back of every parent’s head from the day their child is born. Everyone hears the horror stories and the tales of endless frustration. There is unlimited literature on the subject, but still potty-training continues to frustrate parents (and their toddlers) all over the world.
Relax. It’s just potty-training, after all. Remember these things when you embark on the potty-training journey with your child and the whole experience will be a little easier on everyone involved.
1. Always stay positive.
Even when you get frustrated, stay positive and give praise to your child so as not to frustrate him. Making it too serious and getting angry will only discourage everyone involved.
2. Familiarize your kid with bathroom rituals.
Teach them about flushing the toilet and washing their hands before you ever try to get them up on the potty. It’ll make the whole experience seem less foreign if they know all the steps involved with going to the toilet.
3. Make sure your child is getting enough fiber.
It helps move the bowels more naturally, and thus will make learning to go #2 easier.
4. Start with a small potty before moving on to the real thing.
Those little seats that sit on top of the regular toilet seat can seem very intimidating to a little kid, so start them off with one of those plastic potties that sit on the floor. It’s quicker for the toddler to get to the seat before having an accident, and it doesn’t require a step stool, so no fear of your little one falling off when you turn your back.
5. Don’t let setbacks discourage you.
Just because your son or daughter has an accident after several days of great success doesn’t mean that all progress is lost and you’re starting from square one. Accidents happen. That’s why they’re called accidents. Accept them and move on, and for goodness sake don’t get mad and let your child see.
6. Go to the potty at regular intervals.
Every 30 minutes, every hour… Your child may not fully be able to distinguish what it feels like to have to go, so putting them on the toilet frequently and waiting for something to happen will help them learn.
7. Praise, praise, praise!
Use tons of kind words, encouragement, stickers and charts, and whatever else will get your kid jazzed about using the toilet. Be consistent, offer lots of attention, and praise every step in the right direction.
8. There is nothing wrong with bribes (or rewards.)
An M&M when your child uses the potty successfully will hardly spoil his dinner, but it’ll definitely get him excited and eager to try hard. Other sorts of rewards, like filling a jar with marbles every time the potty is used allows your kiddo to see his progress, which is very encouraging.
9. The timing has to be right.
No child will take to potty-training before they are good and ready, so you mustn’t let yourself worry that your kiddo’s progress isn’t where you think it should be or in line with the progress your friends’ children are making. Every child is different, after all.
10. Above all: patience.
Maybe you’ve read articles about how to successfully potty-train in one weekend, but you have to remember that stories like that are the very rare exception, not the rule. You must have patience. It will take time. There will be small setbacks and little frustrations along the way. That’s all part of growing up. And parenting.
IMAGES: ABC News | Alpha Mom | Parent Dish