Ready to potty train a toddler? Learn tips for what not to do when potty training toddlers.
Potty Training Toddlers
There are many articles on the Internet about how to train your toddler to use the potty, but what about tips of what not to do when potty training your toddler?
Here’s what I learned in the process of training my kids to use the potty and other obvious tips.
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Don’t start too early, but don’t start too late.
There are some parents out there who have their two month old sitting over a potty, waiting for him/her to just let loose and go in the potty. Yes, they use the potty, but do they understand the concept of using the potty on their own? Um, my guess would be not likely.
Potty training is about independence, not about marking it as an achievement milestone.
On the other hand, you don’t want to start the training process too late either. Do you want to change a bombed out diaper created by an outlandishly active three or four year old? Trust me; you don’t.
The average age to start potty training is around 18 months. Why? The toddler has the ability to move on his/her own, to pull pants up and down, to realize what’s happening in the body and to possibly verbalize the need to go.
Don’t make potty training a chore.
If potty training is going to be like a harsh boot camp, the likelihood that a toddler will be successful is zero to none. Instead of being meanie drill sergeant barking orders, try being an enthusiastic coach instead.
Make potty training something a toddler would want to do versus something he/she has to do. Do a potty dance and practice it with your toddler. Encourage her/him to do the business with a fun cheer: ‘Push it out, shove it out, waaaaayyyy out!’ (You’ll understand some day when your child refuses to go….A parent has to do what a parent has to do.)
Don’t forget to teach your toddler about the tools needed to go potty.
This one may sound weird, but it’s necessary. Basically, you show how a potty lid goes up and down, how the flushing mechanism works, how much toilet paper should be used, and where to put the toilet paper.
All of this you can start showing your toddler even before you start to train her/him so that when the time is right he/she is already familiar with the tools necessary to go potty.
Do not, under any circumstances, leave a toddler completely alone when using the potty.
There are several reasons for this. I’ll start with the serious one: a child can drown in under an inch of water.
If your toddler uses a small potty seat on top of the regular toilet, he/she might get curious (what kid doesn’t?) and try to peek inside the toilet bowl to see what’s going on. If he/she slips in while you are not there, it could be a serious matter, one I hope no parent ever encounters.
The next reason you should never leave a toddler completely alone when using the potty is this: an artistic rendering of bodily fluids and fecal matter.
‘Hmm. I’m totally alone’ thinks the toddler. ‘What can I do with this thing I have created in my potty? Ah, yes! An artistic masterpiece. That will surely make Mommy and Daddy very proud of me!’
I’m going to leave you alone with that thought. Enough said.
The last reason you should never leave a toddler alone while using the potty is this: the trail. Say your toddler goes, excuse me, number 2 but then gets up and goes exploring while not clean.
Got that image in your head? Okay, good. Let’s move on.
Don’t try too many methods all at once.
Imagine this: your boss has given you an assignment, and he/she wants it done the ABC way. The next day he/she changes his/her mind and now wants everything done the DEF way. The next day he/she decides the DEF way wasn’t too bad, but that you should mix in a little of the GHI way with the DEF way.
Get it? Confused? I bet. That’s how your toddler would feel if you changed potty training methods too often.
Give a method (i.e. not wearing any diapers out in the yard) a week or more to work. If it doesn’t, transition to a different method (i.e. potty training charts), but be consistent with whatever method you finally choose.
Which brings be to my next point….
Don’t be inconsistent with potty training.
Once you decide to start, consider it a no going back moment. Remind your toddler often about using the potty (in the morning upon awakening, after his/her cup of juice, after all meals, etc.). Stick with your methods as mentioned above.
If you are out and about, remind your toddler that he/she can still use the potty. If you go on vacation, keep up the training. Any time you stop the training, the toddler takes a step back and might revert to going in his/her diaper again or having more accidents.
Don’t forget to be a positive role model.
If you are already a parent of a toddler or have a few kids, you’ll completely understand this one. There inevitably will be times when you are not alone when you are using the potty…ahem…I mean toilet. Once kids are mobile, they follow you everywhere.
Since they’re there, you might as well teach them how to properly wipe down the seat or how to immediately wash your hands after flushing.
Are You Ready for Potty Training?
I wish you all the luck in the world when you and your toddler decide to tackle potty training. It can be a messy business, but if you’re consistent, you’ll have a potty trained pro in no time!
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