The transition from diaper to toilet can be a frustrating and tricky process. It demands fine balance between encouragement and the child’s comfort. One of the biggest problems getting started with potty training is that every child takes to it differently. What may work for one may not for the other. If you’re lucky, you might not even have to worry about teaching your child potty training as they simply teach themselves by imitating older children or adults.
When do you start? As with everything else in child development, every child is different and will start the process at different ages. However, generally, potty training will begin around 1 year of age and be completed by about 3 years of age, but this is very flexible. It’s a process of trial and error, and there should be as little pressure as possible on the parent and on the child.
If you’re trying to wean your child off of diapers and it is becoming a heated and unhappy time, then stop and try again in a month or so. Parents often report that the most successful time to begin potty training is when the child themselves shows an interest in learning – don’t rush a child or push them. When a child is ready, it will be an easier and more pleasant experience for everyone involved.
To get the process started, it is important to get a potty or potty seat for the toilet. Find one that the child likes to use, maybe a fun design, or their favorite characters, or even lights up when they sit on it. The potty also needs to be stable and sturdy so there is no risk it will tip over. It should be shaped and contoured for their comfort and ease of use allowing them to fit snugly on it.
Choose the best training option for you and your child’s life. A three day potty training session where you don’t leave the house for days may be what works for you. Training with the help of pull-ups or training pants could be another option. Whichever method you use, you must remain consistent in your training and determined. Remind yourself to be patient – your child WILL learn to use the toilet.
Some Tips on Potty Training:
- Offer lots of praise and encouragement when your child uses the potty successfully.
- Don’t get cross or lose your patience or temper. Don’t introduce an element of shame into the process.
- Boys tend to be slower – by as much as 6 months or so – be patient.
- Buy clothes which can be easily and quickly removed by your child.
- Never hurry or pressure a child to “push” hard on the potty as it can lead to bladder and bowel disorders.
- Encourage a routine for potty use.
- Have some games or activities your child can do while sitting on the potty
- Give out positive reinforcement in the form of treats and rewards after successful potty use.
However you go about your potty training process, plan ahead. Preparing for the training and the steps involved will make the transition as smooth as possible for all those involved. Be consistent in your approaches and make sure all adults involved in the training are all “on the same page”. And soon, you’ll be well on your way to a diaper free life.
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