As many parents know, once you commit to a potty training regimen with your toddler, it is important to stick to it. Consistency is key to potty training success, and it is often hard to keep up with your child’s progress when he is in child care part of the day. As your child moves from diapers to underwear, keep in mind these helpful tips:
Timing is everything. Children who are being potty trained should be guided to the bathroom every 15-20 minutes during the hour following snacks and meals, and every 45 minutes to an hour throughout the day. It will take some prompting at first, but soon the child will be used to these frequent trips.
Know the signs. Common signals that children need to use the potty may include grunting, holding themselves, or hiding. Soon, you will become familiar with your child’s particular cues and can stay on the lookout during the potty training period. It is crucial that you listen to your child’s individual signs of readiness, as each child will need a unique approach.
Don’t linger. Keep your child on the potty for only a few minutes at a time. If she does not use the potty, don’t let her sit for too long. Offer specific words of encouragement. Rather than simply saying, “Good job,” say something specific, like, “You went pee pee in the potty all by yourself!” Give a hug and a positive comment about “what a big girl she is becoming.”
Accidents happen. If your child has an accident, it is best to use a simple statement like “Uh-oh. There was an accident. Let’s change your clothes.” Remember to have patience and to always stay positive. Do not show frustration or disappointment when accidents happen. Clean up. Foster independence by encouraging your child to wipe himself. Discuss the importance of wiping front to back. Ensure your child has wiped thoroughly, and assist at the end if needed. This is also a great time to discuss the amount of toilet paper needed. Let your child flush the toilet—often this is the fun part for your little one. It’s something he knows he can do right (even if he hasn’t quite mastered the other steps yet).
Guide your little one to the sink and assist (if necessary) with washing his hands. This is a great opportunity to reinforce healthy hand-washing habits early.
Partner with your child’s teacher. Talk to your child’s teacher, and make a game plan so that the potty training methods you’re using at home can be continued while she is in school. Also, ensure you are familiar with school policies as some schools require that children be potty trained before entering a certain grade or classroom.
When potty training your child, you will receive a lot of different advice from friends and family, but ultimately, you must do what is right for your child’s specific needs and tailor your approach to fit his learning style. There is no universal formula, and each family must find what works best for them. By working with your child and keeping a positive attitude, this will be one of the most rewarding experiences yet as you see your child grow up right before your eyes.
Sabrina N. Washington was born and raised in the beautiful city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. At the age of sixteen, she began working in the Early Childhood Education field through a work program at her high school. She moved to Nashville, TN in 2006 to attend Middle Tennesee State University. She joined Primrose School of Brentwood in the fall of 2010. During her four years at Primrose School of Brentwood, she worked with the terrific two year olds! Sabrina is elated to now be a part of the Primrose School of Nashville Midtown management team as Assistant Director. Although Sabrina does not have any children of her own, she has potty trained hundreds of children during her career! In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and going to concerts here in Nashville.