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Mommy Jenna

How to Start Potty Training Your Child and Make it Fun

Little boy potty training next to teddy bear on potty chair.

When’s the right time for potty training. Around the world, it seems to vary with some as old as 3 years old and others as young as 6 months old. It seems, the colder it is, the earlier potty training is done.

Potty training can be a challenge for your child and you. You know you’ve got to make it fun but how? Read on to learn how to start potty training your child

Learning How to Start Potty Training

All the focus on potty training is on your child. It’s something they have to learn but that’s not the whole story.

This is a change for you too. You have to learn how to support potty training. Like anything you have to learn, you might take a little time to acquire the skills and begin to feel confident about your part in this important stage in your child’s life.

Take a little time to study what you need to do and give yourself a break. If you get it wrong at first, forgive yourself. You both have a learning curve to go through so laugh about it and have some fun with it too.

Are You Ready?

How can you tell if your child is ready for potty training? There are a few skills they will need before potty training is realistic.

They have to be able to pull down their own pants and pull them up again too. They’ll need to be able to walk and sit on a potty or toilet. They’ll need to be able to stay dry for a couple of hours.

Is your child interested in conversations about using the toilet or a potty? Try discussing when they need to go. They need to be able to follow some instructions too.

Don’t get too excited about this stage in your child’s development. You and they will find it easier if you don’t try too hard. You need to be able to give some time and energy to the process and avoid any suggestion of “failure” and certainly don’t use any punishment for accidents.

Let’s Get Going

Making potty training fun can include choosing a potty or potty seat for the toilet. Chose training pants together too. Involve friends and family in a fun way by announcing that potty training has begun.

Put the potty or potty seat in your bathroom or where they can become familiar with it. Practice sitting on it, even with clothes on. Let your child have fun flushing the toilet.

What to Say

Having the right words for bodily fluids helps you and your child talk about this without discomfort. Chose words that work for both of you. Don’t use words with negative connotations such as “dirty”.

Schedule It

Start training properly by sitting on the toilet every 20 minutes. A few minutes at a time is enough.

Set a timer for the intervals on your smartphone with a fun alarm. Going to the potty and sitting on it becomes a game. Read a book or play together.

If your child gets up that’s fine. Congratulate them on sitting even if it’s just for a short time. Let your child know that they can try again soon.

Any success can be celebrated. Sticker collecting, a round of applause, or even a special dance are all legitimate celebrations.

Emergencies

If you notice that your child needs the toilet, be quick to react. Let your child know that these signs mean that they need to get to the potty or toilet. Praise your child for showing the signs that indicate that they need to go and help them remove clothes and get on the potty.

Keep It Clean

Without negative language help your child learn about hygiene.

If they pee on the floor, ask them to help you clean it up without scolding.

Girls need to wipe carefully from front to back. Wash hands after using the potty.

Good hygiene habits can start immediately. It may be sometime before they progress to using a bidet but for some bidet information, click here.

No More Diapers

It may take some time but once they have had a couple of weeks or more of success you’re ready to move on. Being dry during the day means they are ready to move on from diapers to training pants or even underwear. Time to celebrate again.

All Night Long

It will take longer to get to dry nights or even naps. You may need to persist with training pants and even mattress covers for a while. It may not be achieved until your child is 5 or 7 years of age. 

Accidents Will Happen

Don’t expect perfection. Accidents are bound to happen. Sometimes it will be because your child forgets and sometimes it will be because you don’t get them to the bathroom in time.

This is not about blame or shame. There’s no benefit in regarding an accident as a failure. Next time they will get to the bathroom in time but if they don’t, that’s fine too.

Be positive.

It helps if you have some extra clothes available so you and your child can be prepared. 

Tips and Tricks

Start any trip away from home with a visit to the toilet. Start any arrival to a destination with a similar visit to the toilet.

If your child is having to cope with a significant change in their life, it’s probably not a good time to start potty training. Moving home can be unsettling. The arrival of a new sibling is too distracting.

Potty Progress

When you know how to start potty training just wait patiently for the signs you can start. Let other carers know what’s happening and they can help too. Relax and have fun with it.

Browse our website for more great parenting tips.

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