The Big Kid and the Bathroom: Potty Training Tips

You are over it with the diapers. It’s the bane of parenting, that necessary evil we become accustomed to and practically throw a party to mark when it’s over. There are all kinds of trendy and controversial methods for toilet training, but what works really depends on one thing: your individual child’s temperament and readiness.

To make that transition a low-key one, here are some tips to keep in mind. No stone tablets of course, but just ideas to play with and things to look out for. Eventually, your child will handle business on his or her own.

  1. Timing is everything. You might read about parents who potty trained their kids at six months and within just 24 hours, but caution: developmentally speaking, this is pretty impossible. The reason is that babies haven’t created the connections from bowel and bladder to the brain1. Speaking statistically, most kids are ready around 22-30 months. You’ll know because they will show interest in the potty, they will become increasingly uncomfortable with the diaper, and they will be ticking off other milestones like climbing, jumping, and gross motor skills markers1.
  1. Stay positive. If your child is initially interested and then resists, we call that a It’s normal, and the best thing to do is not push. Tots will circle back. In the meantime, try Daniel Tiger or Elmo to make good impressions about using the potty.
  1. Use a training toilet. The height of standard toilets is an issue sometimes, and there is a special caché about getting a brand new, dedicated potty.
  1. Don’t compare. When your child’s friends progress in this department faster than your child, the temptation is to use them as an example. Don’t. It’s not a competition, and the best way to let peer influence work is to say nothing. When kids see their friends making headway, it may have an impact, but only if you don’t make it into an issue.
  1. Stay consistent. Every morning and every evening, put your child on the toilet and set a timer. Even if they don’t have to go, it gets them used to the idea that it has to happen at regular times. You can also set up a reward system like stickers on a chart and for every few times they successfully use the potty, they get a reward. Make that reward something other than food, like painting nails or watching a favorite show.
  1. Graduate from diapers. It’s tempting to keep them around, but switching to pull-ups is a good middle ground. Emphasize that diapers are for babies and big-kid undies are the goal. You can put them in the underwear while you are at home and if they have an accident, the clean up will be tedious and unpleasant on purpose.
  1. Know when to take a break. Going back to the resistance, sometimes backing off will actually promote progress. If you see that they are overwhelmed, set the whole project down. Some kids will see this as an opportunity and start to self-regulate.

Stay loving, use happy language, and really praise any form of progress, no matter how minute. They will get the hang of it, and when they do, you can pat yourself on the back.






About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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