Potty training can be tough on your toddler — and on mom and dad. If you aren’t armed with the right potty training tips, the whole process can feel arduous and at times even hopeless.
The good news is, many parents have walked this road before you, and you can learn from what they did that worked. Here are five incredibly effective potty training ideas that will help your toddler figure out when and how to use the toilet, faster than you may expect.
Wait Until Your Child Is Ready
Nothing guarantees failure faster than trying to potty train a toddler who isn’t ready. It’s more than hitting the right age. Some kids are ready to potty train at 18 months, while others aren’t truly there until after they turn three. Watch for these signs it may be time to train:
- They stay “dry” for two or more hours.
- They get annoyed by a wet or dirty diaper.
- They get more independent.
- They go somewhere private to urinate or defecate.
- They follow you into the bathroom.
Be as Consistent as Possible
The toughest part of potty training toddlers can be teaching them a new routine. That’s why many parents find it effective to designate a few open days to take their child to the bathroom every 10 to 15 minutes. Your toddler won’t go every time, but they will get familiar with a new daily pattern, which can help them become comfortable enough to actually go on the potty.
Practice Positive Reinforcement
Instead of criticizing their behavior — e.g. getting mad when they don’t go on the toilet — praise their accomplishments effusively. Kids respond better to positive reinforcement than to negative. If they know peeing in the toilet will earn them a high-five, they’re more likely to do it.
Master One Before Two
It’s easier for kids to learn to pee on the potty than to poop. The sooner you understand that, the better. You may need to use different strategies for each function. Watch closely for signals that your child needs to go Number Two and take them to the bathroom. You may have to wait a while — up to a half-hour, perhaps — but eventually the time needed to take the bowel movement will decrease.
Remember, Practice Makes Perfect
Let your child sit on the potty whenever they express interest. Doing it fully clothed is fine. Getting them a small potty seat may help, as big toilets aren’t as accessible for their tiny bodies. Read to them on the toilet or play games — whatever helps them gain confidence and become comfortable.
When you follow these tips, potty training will be achievable for your toddler, without making you crazy.