Sometime between 18 months and 3 years of age, most children begin potty training. There are several different approaches to potty training, and depending on your child’s disposition, communication skills, and maturity level, you may decide that a particular method is right for your family. Read on for three of the most popular methods, and think about which one is the best for your child.
The “Take It Easy” Approach
This low pressure method may be best for children who become stressed easily, or for families who aren’t completely sure whether their child is ready to begin potty training. Simply place a potty seat in your bathroom, and show your child how to pull down her pull-ups and sit on the potty. Encourage her to tell you when she needs to use the potty, so that you can help her use it. This method may take several months. When your child lets you know that she wants to use the potty, praise her for communicating with you, and give her heaps of encouragement when she successfully uses the potty. When she uses her diaper instead, let her know that it is OK, and that while you hope that she eventually uses the potty every time she needs to, she can take her time in getting there.
The “Hunker Down” Approach
This method is great for kids who are already communicating that they need to pee or poop, and who are already showing an interest in using the potty. Take a day or two off from work before or after a weekend, and be prepared to stay at, or close to, home for those few days. If you do go out, be sure to go somewhere where you know there will be a toilet that is kid-friendly. In those few days, let your child know that every fifteen minutes or so, you’ll be taking him to the potty. Sometimes, he may not need to use it, and you can let him know that that’s OK. But when he does successfully use it, be sure to show him tons of encouragement and support! After a few days, you might be amazed to see that your child is either fully trained during the day, or almost there!
The “Rewards” Approach
Combine this method with one of the two above methods for the best results. Develop a rewards system that makes sense for your family while potty training. Maybe gold stars go a long way with your child. In that case, you may want to make a potty training poster, and affix a gold star to that poster board every time your child successfully uses the potty during training. If your child needs more encouragement, you can tell him that for every five, or ten, gold stars, he will get a treat. Some families even plan a special day out for their child when he completes potty training. This method can make training fun for kids. But be sure to let your child know that when he has accidents or wets his diaper, that’s OK, and because mistakes happen!
If your child is attending a childcare, daycare or preschool facility, talk with your child’s teacher to help decide which method may be best and work together with them. If you are on the same page, results will certainly be better!
Are you a lucky parent who has gotten potty training out of the way? Do you have older children who are already trained? What approach did you use? Let us know what worked for you in the comments section.