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Potty Training Your Toddler: Helpful Tips and Advice

potty training
Potty training is a huge milestone for many parents. After all, for at least two years – sometimes three -you’ve  been cleaning up the messes your little one has made in his or her diapers.

Many parents excitedly buy the training pants and potty chair, and they enthusiastically explain the whole process to their toddler, hoping that their children catch on to the idea of being a “big kid.” Yet all too often, many children are clueless as to what this all means. Some are downright combative and resistant when mom and dad take them to the toilet.

However, if you follow some of these simple tips, it is likely your child will quickly catch on to potty training, and diapers will become a thing of the past.

“Child-Led” Potty Training

In recent years, the “child-led” potty-training has risen in popularity. Parents figure their children will lead the way and eventually announce one day that they would love to use the restroom instead of pooping in diapers. However with this potty training approach, two years of wearing diapers often turns into three. As their three-year-old child approaches the age of four without being in any hurry to use the potty, many parents are wondering whether or not they should give their little one a loving nudge in the right direction. Child-led potty training isn’t for everyone.

Signs that Your Toddler is Ready for Potty Training

Experts at the Mayo Clinic claim that there are several signs that a toddler might be ready to consider potty-training.

If a child is interested in the toilet and what happens there and he or she asks to have his or her diaper changed, he or she may be exhibiting some of the first signs of potty-training readiness.

Likewise, if a toddler can stay dry for at least two hours at a time and seems to realize when he or she soils his or her diaper, he or she may be ready to potty-train.

How to Start Potty Training

1.One way to begin grooming your child for potty training is to allow her to observe what other family members do while in the bathroom.

2.Teach her the names for her body parts and names for what she has done in her diaper. Whether you use the term “pee,” “tinkle,” “poop,” or “doo-doo,” make sure that every person in the family calls it the same thing to avoid confusing the child.

3.Begin to excitedly talk about how she is getting so big she will not need diapers anymore. Allow her to pick out her new underwear at the store.

4.As your child begins to get more familiar with toileting, allow her to sit on her new potty seat while wearing her pants. She will need to be completely comfortable, so that the muscles can relax, allowing elimination. After a few days, see if the child is willing to sit on the toilet without a diaper. If she is resistant, tell her it is okay, and that she can try again some other time. Even if nothing happens on the potty, make a big deal about it. Give the child a small treat, like an M and M, simply for trying, and tell her that if she does pee on the potty, she will get two or three candies.

5.At some point, you will have to put your child in underwear during the majority of the day. This can be messy, but having some accidents is part of the process. Many parents use disposable training pants, however these feel little different to a toddler from a diaper and may prolong the process. Try using cotton underwear instead, which helps the child be more aware of what is occurring “down there.”

6.Take your child to the bathroom every thirty minutes the first day or two, until you figure out her “rhythm.” After a few days you will learn how often she needs to go and be able to take her on schedule. For the first few weeks, expect potty-training to be parent-led.

It is best to tackle this at a time when you can be home all day for several consecutive days, so you won’t have to face cleaning out the car seat when you can’t make it to a store restroom in time. Be sure that your child-care providers are aware that you are beginning to potty-train. Consistency is crucial for the child to catch on quickly.

Work on potty-training for a week to ten days and then re-evaluate. If your child has made no progress, you may want to return to diapers for a few months until your child is a bit more mature.

7.Eventually your child will begin to tell you when it is time to go to the bathroom. However, after the novelty of toileting has worn off, your child may begin to have accidents when he gets busy and “forgets” to go. You will then need to remind him to go. Many parents find it is best not to ask a busy child if he needs to go to the bathroom, but instead to tell him to go if it has been awhile.

Remember that potty-training is not a contest. If your child is the last in day care to train, it is okay. Work with your child on his maturity level. Patience and a good attitude are the biggest assets to successful potty training.


Special Thanks to My Guest Writer.

Lindsey Wright is fascinated with the potential of emerging educational technologies, particularly online classes, to transform the landscape of learning. She writes about web-based learning, electronic and mobile learning, and the possible future of education.

About the author: This blog post was written by a guest contributor. If you’d like to guest post for Hip Chick’s Guide to PMS, Pregnancy and Babies, please read my Guest Writing Policy for a guideline of what I am looking for. All guest posts need to be at least 500 words and be original to this site only.

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