If you are thinking about starting to potty train your toddler, there are a few questions we advise you asking yourself before you begin the process of potty training. Being well prepared for this challenging transition from diapers to potty is one of the best things you can do to make this as easy as possible on your child.
1. Is My Child Ready?
You want to start potty training at just the right time. You will know that your child is ready when he or she gets more interested in you going to the potty, tells you right away when the diaper is wet or pulls on it and seems uncomfortable with it. Give potty training a try, if your child doesn’t seem ready despite the signs, wait a few weeks and try again.
2. Am I Ready?
Just as important as your child being ready is that you are ready. Prepare yourself mentally for the transition from diaper to potty for your child. You will need a lot of patience and understanding. There are going to be resentment, tears and the occasional accident. Make sure you are prepared for this so you can stay calm and supportive for your child.
3. Do We Need A Potty Chair?
A regular toilet is very intimidating for a child. The seat is rather large and your child will have to hold on to avoid falling in. In addition “things” vanish in there when you flash – which can be a pretty scary thought for your child. Many kids are more comfortable with a potty chair at first. After a few weeks you should be able to move on to a potty seat insert that fits on your regular toilet eliminating the potty cleanup.
4. Should We Use A Potty Doll?
A potty doll is not a necessity when it comes to potty training, but can be a great tool. A potty doll will pee like an actual child and usually comes with diapers, panties and a potty chair. The doll can help tremendously during the pre-potty training phase when you are getting your child used to the idea of going in the potty instead of the diaper. You can illustrate what’s supposed to happen on the doll and let your child warm up to the idea by playing with the doll in the same fashion. When you are ready to potty train, put the doll on the potty right next to your child.
5. Should We Use Potty Training Rewards?
Before you start potty training, you should decide if you are going to use some sort of rewards as encouragement for your child, or if you will simply make your child feel great about his successes by being his cheer leader. Simple potty training rewards can include stickers, candy like a few jellybeans or M&M’s, or you can use some sort of tracking chart for bigger rewards (i.e. If you use the potty for an entire week without accident, you get a small toy). Using simple rewards can be a great potty training tool, but it isn’t by any means necessary as long as you get the message across to your child that you are proud of him. On the other hand, just like in any other occasion where awards and incentives are used, some parents report feeling trapped and guilty. This is a personal choice, so make sure to discuss with all grown-ups involved in the process!
Take a few minutes to answer these potty training questions for yourself and go over them with your spouse and other caregivers involved to ensure you are on the same page before you start potty training your child. It will help you give your child a clear picture of what you are both trying to accomplish and will cut down on any confusion.