How to Teach your Child to use the Toilet

The great thing about potty training is you have no control over it. Your child has all the control and they do know it, even if they are ready to be potty trained. You can ground them, spank them, take things away from them. Bottom line is they have the control whether or not they are ready to rid themselves of that diaper or Pull-Up.

How do you know your child is ready to be potty trained? Here are a few examples:

Your child has taken his/her diaper off and has a clean diaper in hand ready for you to put it on.

Your child says “I’m wet.”.

Your child shows an interest in the potty…not just playing with the potty.

Your child asks to potty.

Your child wakes up dry often (from naps or over-night).

Everyone has different ways to attempt potty training; from just taking off the diaper and letting the child run around nude, putting them on the potty after a bath, putting on cloth diapers, (so your child feels the wetness and how uncomfortable it is), having an incentive chart to track progress, and when a certain goal is met they can be rewarded, making up a pee pee dance song with their name in the song, etc.

The main thing to remember is: Do not get angry with your child if they have an accident. Accidents are to be expected, hence the word “training”. If your child has an accident, say something positive, such as, “It’s alright, you are still learning, that is why we have a change of clothes for you”.Though it’s frustrating, never show that frustration to your child. Remember: We all had to go through the “potty training process”.

It is very important for you to use lots of language with your child while in the training process. Give them words or gestures for them to alert you when they need to go to the bathroom, such as potty, pee pee, a pee pee wiggle; whatever works for you and your child, and keep it simple.

As a parent, you can also observe signs your child may need to go. For instance, hiding in a corner, crossing his/her legs, grabbing themselves, sometimes crying, etc. You know your child the best to pick up on the cues as to when your child needs to eliminate. If you have a caregiver/daycare, keeping routines is critical. Make sure they are also aware your child is potty training. Most day-cares have a child-size toilet available, or an insert that can be put on top of a toilet seat. Having a routine both at home/daycare (or home caregiver) is very important. Communicating with your caregivers will give you greater success.

Never force a child to go to the bathroom, or have them sit there until they use the potty. This will only frustrate you and your child, and can delay the process. Each child is ready at their own pace. While some children may be ready at 20 months, others may not be ready until they are 36+ months. Just be patient, I promise they will not be in a diaper on their graduation day.

For greater success, remember to praise your child, often. This will make them feel good and they will know they are doing it right.

Your child is running the show here, so be ready for accidents, patience, understanding, loving, full of praise, a support system, and in no time your child will be potty trained. Good Luck.