Potting training can be a nightmare. It can take months and cause daily frustration, friction, and tears for everyone involved. However, although potty training can sometimes be difficult, it doesn’t have to be a steady source of tension. There are a number of dos and don’ts of potty training that can help you along.
Some parents are able to potty train their child over the course of a long weekend via an intense 3-day potty training method. That may not work for everyone, so don’t stress if it doesn’t work for you. There are no hard and fast potty training rules, but the following potty training tips should help you out.
Potty Training Tips: Dos
It’s important to be positive. Praise your child for doing what you want her to do and encourage the behavior you want to see. If you get frustrated, try not to show it.
1. Watch for Signs
Other parents might advise you to let your child tell you when they’re ready to begin potty training. Some children literally do just that, while others show little to no interest in the matter. Although your child may not verbally tell you they’re ready, they’ll project telltale signs letting you know it’s time. These cues include the ability to pull their pants up and down, communicating a need to go, sitting on a potty chair without assistance, and following directions.
2. DO Encourage Self-Sufficiency
This applies to activities of daily living beyond just using the potty. The more your child is able to dress, feed, and groom themselves, the more potty training will seem like the next logical step in their personal evolution.
3. DO Stay Calm
Your child takes emotional cues from you. So if you stress out about potty training, They’re likely to stress right along with you. Be aware that accidents happen during the process. Don’t react to them negatively or overreact. Just chill, encourage and clean up after them without comment.
4. DO Use Rewards and Praise
Many children respond to receiving some sort of treat as a reward for using the potty successfully. Candy may not be a good idea for health reasons, but crayons, stickers, or inexpensive and age-appropriate toys will do. However, you don’t necessarily have to give your child something tangible in order to reward her. Simple verbal praise and a pat on the back can go a long way.
5. DO Be Consistent
Backing down when you meet with resistance sends a confusing message. Set clear expectations and don’t back down. Also, try to avoid asking your child if they need to use the potty because that makes it sound like they can decide one way or the other. Just say calmly, “It’s time to go to the potty now,” and take them. Remember to be assertive, but never aggressive.
Potty Training Tips: Don’ts
Just as your child will make mistakes during the potty training process, you may do things that are counterproductive. No one is expecting immediate perfection from anyone, but here are some important errors to try to avoid.
1. DON’T Start Too Early or Too Late
Your child will not be ready to begin potty training until at least 18 months of age. Before that time, children don’t have the required maturity or skills. So, do not attempt it. While there’s no magical age to start potty training, most children are ready around age two. Some children aren’t ready to start until age three, but waiting much longer than that may cause social problems with peers and delay school readiness. You should probably at least start potty training by 3 ½.
3. DON’T Use Diapers as a Crutch
In other words, don’t keep switching back and forth between using the potty and wearing diapers. It sends an inconsistent message, and potty training success depends on consistency. If you’re worried about your child soiling their bed, use rubber sheets or pads to protect the mattress.
4. DON’T Punish Your Child or Exert Pressure
Be assertive but never aggressive. Don’t force or pressure your child into using the potty; the resulting anxiety will complicate the process. Remember, your child is learning a new skill and they won’t do it perfectly the first time. Punishing your child for accidents won’t motivate them, but it will likely damage their self-esteem.
5. DON’T Prolong the Process
A concerted, consistent, potty training effort over the span of a few days is more effective than a gradual, half-hearted attempt. Start it and stick with it. Everyone will be happier when it’s over.
Above all, don’t get discouraged. Eventually, your efforts will pay off and your child will learn to use the toilet.