My little lady is about to graduate "the threes." Next year, she'll be in a "fours" program, and so this summer will be devoted to potty training! Her birthday falls on the district cusp, so even though I probably will have her in an extra year of pre-K, it's time she stops using diapers and starts going on the toilet. We've gone to the experts to get helpful potty training tips for frustrated parents.
Getting Started with Potty Training
So far, we've had limited success--she knows how to hold it and when she's going; she's just stubborn. And like many toddlers she's clings to comfort and resists change.
Did you know that the average baby will go through approximately 1,200 - 3,000 diapers in a year? From traveling with your little one to going to preschool, life with the littles gets a whole lot easier when kids learn how to use the bathroom properly! But babes have minds of their own--like my girlie.
Fortunately, some experts have shared some of their top tips to help parents train the right way!
Start when THEY are ready
Yes, life is easier when kids know how to go to the toilet independently but it’s very important not to rush them into potty training. If a child isn’t ready, you could actually delay their ability to potty train at best and cause voiding issues like constipation, at worst. It can become a real power struggle with a child, where they exert their power by refusing to go in the toilet. So while you might be eager to get them out of the diapers and into preschool, pushing your child to potty train will only end in frustration, for both of you!
How do you know when a child is physically ready to begin potty training?
- They can walk to and sit on a potty or potty chair independently.
- They can pull their own diaper down.
- They are dry for a couple of hours at a time.
Emotional readiness is also a factor: if they don’t show any interest in it, despite you showing them what it’s all about, don’t force it. When they start telling you that they need to go, it’s a sign that it’s time to pull out the training seat you bought ages ago!
Typically, most kids are ready to start training around age 2 and fully trained by age 4. This varies tremendously by child, however, so don’t get stuck on those numbers.
Get the right equipment
The prospect of a full size toilet is daunting for most kids, but the little ‘floor potties’ aren’t practical for many parents. A good solution is a hybrid one, which is also portable for when you travel.
A toilet seat that goes over a standard toilet—like the Pöti—is perfect. Your child can sit without fear of falling and the built in handles and non-slip pads provide that little bit of extra security. It has the advantage of being portable so if you’re traveling with your little one during potty training, they will have a familiar ‘seat’ to sit on, wherever you are.
To make sure that your little one can get to the seat on their own, add a foldable and portable step stool. Your little kid will feel like a big kid, ready to tackle potty training and hand washing, with this sturdy, easy to bring along stool.
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Get Started by Making it Fun
Buy your potty training equipment before you need them, and place them in the bathroom, so your child sees them and eventually becomes curious about what they’re for. You can use that opportunity to explain it and see if they show any interest in trying them out.
Mom, Nina Nsilo-Swai, dreamed up a unique way to potty train her son. Rather than the candy or sticker chart system, she created a cool motivational tool in the form of a sticker.
Here's how it works: Simply stick the pee-kaboo reusable potty training sticker™ into a portable potty and watch what happens. Each time your toddler has a potty success "pee-kaboo" a magical image appears in their potty, visually rewarding them for their efforts and encouraging them to use the potty again and again all by themselves. "I want to see the butterfly" your little one will squeal. "Sure" you reply, just pee in the potty and "pee-kaboo." Clever and a lot less cavity-inducing than m&m's. A sticker is reusable for up to 6 weeks.
Pick from three different stickers on the pee-kaboo website here. You'll also get a mini guidebook complete with information and tips for potty training.
Get on a potty schedule
Get your child in the habit of using the toilet at specific times: after eating, for example. If they use it every day at roughly the same time, their bodies will adapt and eventually, they’ll start to recognize the signs that they need to go well before it’s too late!
For this, you need to enlist the support of anyone who cares for your child: family members, daycare, and babysitters. They need to be on the same page, for consistency.
Don’t despair if they regress
It’s normal. Most kids will learn to stay dry during the day in about 3 to 6 months; some take less, many take more. Stress, life changes (new daycare, new school, new sibling) or other family events can cause a short term regression. Don’t worry about it! If you are stressed about it, your child will be stressed about it and start having accidents. Instead of worrying, keep calm and potty on!
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This Helpful Potty Training Tips for Frustrated Parents feature is not sponsored.