Is potty training looming on the horizon? It’s inevitable, but when should you start?
There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you start potty training. Being prepared for this challenging transition is one of the best things you can do to make this as easy as possible on your toddler. (And yourself!)
1. Is my child ready to start potty training?
You don’t want to start potty training before your toddler is ready. It just won’t work. We tried too early, and she just didn’t get it.
You’ll know that your child is ready when she gets more interested in you (or a sibling) going to the potty. She will tell you right away when her diaper is wet or poopy. She might also pull on it and seem uncomfortable with it.
Give potty training a try. If your little one doesn’t seem ready even though she’s showing signs, wait a few weeks and try again.
We’ve started potty training at least 5 or 6 times. Don’t get discouraged. It’ll happen.
2. Am I Ready to Ditch Diapers?
Just as important as your kid being ready is that YOU are ready. Prepare yourself mentally for the transition from diaper to potty.
You will need a lot of patience and understanding. A LOT of patience. There’s going to be resentment, tears and probably accidents. Just expect it to happen, and be prepared so you can stay calm and supportive for your toddler. If by some miracle you don’t have accidents, you’ll just be pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed.
You’ll also need to start thinking differently. You need to pay attention to how long your kid has gone since the last potty stop and remember to ask constantly if they need to go potty. If you’re out, always be aware of where the bathrooms are and have a system in place of managing the potty situation.
And if you sometimes don’t take care of diapers immediately (Like me. I mean come on. Let me finish eating before I clean your butt.), you’re in for a rude awakening. You have to get used to a GO GO GO attitude. When a toddler has to pee, it’s RIGHT NOW. No waiting.
3. Do We Need A Potty Chair?
A regular toilet can be intimidating for a little kid. The seat is big and high up so their feet dangle.
And “things” vanish in there when you flush – which can be a pretty scary thought for your child. (Or on the flip side, could be THE BEST THING EVER, Let’s do it all the time! And they waste your water.)
Many kids are more comfortable with a potty chair at first since it’s at their height and usually colorful. After a few weeks you should be able to move on to a potty seat insert that fits on your regular toilet which means less potty cleanup.
We have a potty chair that doubles as a step stool and as a potty insert. The step stool part can be used to get up to the potty or the sink. We use it for the sink mainly.
And we have a Paw Patrol potty seat for the other bathroom that just fits into the toilet.
4. Should We Use A Potty Doll?
A potty doll is not absolutely necessary for potty training, but can be a great tool. A potty doll will pee like an actual child and usually comes with diapers, underwear and a potty chair.
The doll can help a lot during the pre-potty training phase when you are getting your child used to the idea of going in the potty instead of the diaper. You can illustrate what’s supposed to happen with the doll and let your toddler warm up to the idea by playing with the doll.
When you are ready to potty train, put the doll on the potty right next to your toddler. Like a best friend!
If you don’t want to buy an actual potty doll, you can use any stuffed animal or doll to show your little one the sequence of events and make them feel more comfortable about using the potty.
5. Should We Use Potty Training Rewards?
Before you start potty training, you should decide if you are going to use some sort of reward system as encouragement, or if you will simply make your toddler feel great about their successes by cheering and giving verbal praise.
Simple potty training rewards can include stickers, candy like a few jellybeans or M&M’s, or you can use some sort of tracking chart for a bigger reward. For example: “If you use the potty for an entire week without accidents, you get a toy.” It doesn’t have to be a toy. It could be a trip to the park or a ride on the carousel at the mall.
My mom uses M&Ms at her house. I tried that at our house but I kept eating them! Stickers work well for Toot, too.
Using simple rewards can be a great potty training tactic, but it isn’t completely necessary as long as you get the message across to your child that you are proud of her.
Don’t give in to pressure to potty train early
I know there are tons of “potty train your two year old in three days the minute they turn two” posts on Pinterest. But that’s not going to work for every kid. Mine included.
You don’t need to start potty training the second your baby becomes a toddler. Most kids are potty trained at 3 years old. They need to be ready first and being ready includes understanding their body’s signals. And that might not be until they’re closer to three or even after they turn three.
Take a few minutes to answer these potty training questions for yourself and go over them with your spouse. You want to be on the same page before you start potty training your child. It will cut down on any confusion and make it less stressful for everyone.
Are you ready to start potty training your toddler?
Let me know in the comments below!
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