Potty training is complicated at the best of times, but like all stressful things in parenting, it works out well in the end. Once you start the process, you must simply find ways to consistently see the process, through.
1. Start Learning About the Potty Early
Full-blown potty training with incentives and hours spent without a diaper can wait until your child (and you) are full ready, but you can teach your child the basics months or even years before the true training begins.
It is a fact of life that you child will follow you to the toilet quite frequently during the toddler years. Each time she does, make it an opportunity to explain, if not show, the process, “Go, Wipe, Flush, Wash” can become a mantra she learns well before she’s able to complete the process herself.
2. Invest in Many Potties
When you begin potty training, you’ll be in need of many potties. You’ll want one on every floor of your home, you might want one at the babysitter’s house and grandparents might like to have one as well. Of course, you can bring the potty with your child from place to place, but it is always much easier to not have to tote a potentially germy apparatus with you in the car or buggy. If you don’t want to pay retail for two or three potties, borrow them from friends who aren’t in the process of potty training or search baby resale shops.
3. Carry Antiseptic Wipes For Emergencies
As much as you’d like your child to only use the potty at home, she will need to go at some point while you are out and about. Carrying a small pack of antibacterial wipes with you will give you the ability to wipe the toilet seat off before your child sits on it in a shop or station. Wipe and throw the used wipe away along with the vast majority of the germs that might have touched your little one otherwise – even with a seat covered with toilet paper.
4. Keep Rewards Simple
Initially you’ll want to reward your child every time she uses the potty, so if you’ve offered her a piece of candy, she might be earning fifteen pieces in a day – possibly more if she figures out how to ink out enough in each trip to the potty to be considered successful. If you use stickers on a chart to work toward a bigger prize, such as a special trip to buy candy, you can give out as many as you need to per day without worrying about the consequences.
5. Make Underpants Fun
When you go to buy your first set of Big Boy or Big Girl Underpants, make the occasion special. Allow your child to pick out the first pair and help her get excited about trying them out at home. Once she’s hooked on the princess undies, you can work in the extra details about having to use the potty to not get pee-pees on the new exciting underpants.
6. Don’t Make Her Wait
When you are out and about and your child needs to use the potty, don’t make her wait. Asking a potty training child to hold it for more than a few minutes is paramount to disaster. To avoid complicated situations like being in the market with a full cart when emergencies strike, have her “try” to go right before you start the marketing. That should buy you enough time to get home, but if not, simply leave the cart and make the potty break your first priority – you can always finish the shopping in a few moments. It would be ideal to not have to do it with a wet child in tow.
7. Wait, Don’t Force
The amazing thing about toddlers is the longer you wait, the more inclined they are to make up their minds for you. So, if you provide a potty and underpants, and then talk up the status of being a Big Girl often enough, you’ll pique her interest. Ask her casually ever so often about using the potty. When she says yes, it will be her idea and she’ll be much, much happier to play along with the entire process. Forcing a toddler will make things take longer in many cases – it is far better to work on her timetable.
8. Wait Until Everyone Is Ready to Begin Training
There are many books telling you to wait until your child shows signs of readiness, but few mention that parents must be ready to train as well. Training your child when you are in the middle of a large life change, such as a move or starting a new job, will only add additional stress. Wait until you are settled and your child has a chance to get acclimated before starting the potty training process. If a new baby is on the way or she’ll be starting school, let the transition take place first so she doesn’t feel pressured and rushed to perform – especially if you are overwhelmed and stressed about life circumstances. Waiting a few weeks or a month won’t hurt anything.
9. Remember There is No Rush
Rushing a toddler will get you nowhere fast. If you are working against an imaginary finish line of a particular age or timeframe, you’re almost destined to fail. Rather than working to get your child potty trained “before she turns two” or “during my week off” make it an ongoing project that has no timeframe. Some children can learn quickly and others take more time. Rushing will only create stress which slows the process down.
10. Don’t Go Back to Diapers
Once you take your child out of diapers during the day, don’t go back unless she’s just not ready to train. If you put her back in diapers for car trips or the trip on the airplane, you’ll be sending a confusing message. She’s either a Big Girl or she’s not – make the transition completely, even if it means more inconveniences for you. Those will last only a short time, anyway.