So, by now, you must know whether or not your toddler and you are ready for potty training. Great! Let’s look at some toilet training tips to start the process, free of stress and tears.
Choose the Potty
We started by picking a potty chair that our daughter loved. It is pink, had Peppa Pig stickers and shaped like a comfortable chair. Totally cool and comfortable. Next, I remember the big deal we made about the potty chair. We clapped and praised her for just sitting on it and trying it on. We put her dolls on to the chair and the, told them that “This is Manini’s potty chair. You have to ask her before using it.” She was thrilled and naturally, wanted to sit on it all the time. Yes, even during meals. The idea is to not just bring out the potty chair one day and expect your toddler to fall in love with it. If he does do that, great. Else, I’d recommend choosing a potty that pleases your baby, is comfortable to sit on and then, easing the potty into your toddler’s life and letting him get used to it gradually.
Watch for Signs
Remember how I talked about you being ready for potty training. Well, this is why. You need to be alert and watchful of signs when you think your toddler is ready to poop or pee. If your little one is able to let you know verbally when he wants to go, great. If not, keep a watch on his facial expressions so that you can take him to the potty in time. Also, tune into other signs such as – dirty diaper discomfort, wanting to use the toilet like Mama or Papa and seeking privacy when peeing or pooping. Our daughter would actually want to hide when she would be wanting to go potty and that was my cue to take her to the potty chair.
Prepare Your Preschooler
As with any life change, you must prepare your preschooler and while introducing the potty chair and watching for signs of readiness is a part of the preparation process, it helps if you talk to your toddler about how he’ll be using big boy or big girl underwear and the toilet or potty like Mama and Papa. I also found reading potty training-themed books really helped with our daughter. One of her favourites include a magazine from Tessy and Tab and lately, the Potty Tots story book. She loves it so much we read it every night and even though she is comfortable using the potty and telling us when she needs to go, she loves saying, “ I can do it, Mama like the Potty Tots” **laughing**
Ask and Remind
Even though you’re watching for signs of readiness and have prepared your toddler, you still need to remind, remind and yes, remind some more. Asking them if they want to go is a great way of reminding them that they’re no longer in diapers, disposable or cloth, and will need to use the potty to pee or poop. I would ask her while she would be playing because that was usually when she would be engrossed in something and forget about telling me or paying attention to her own bodily signals.
Dealing with Accidents
Yes, after all the preparing, reminding and asking, there will be accidents and messes. Be positive and patient as you clean up, remind them gently to tell you the next time and repeat how messes in diapers or even, panties can happen but if they tell you then they wouldn’t. I know for a fact that this was the toughest for me. It was like one step forward, two steps back at times but yes, repeating myself and dealing with accidents as calmly as possible really helped.
Praise and Encouragement
This is one area where really you should go overboard with the praise and encouragement. Gone potty on the potty chair? Yay!! Told you when she wanted to pee? Clap and tell her what a big girl she is. Use the stars, the charts and the little junk toys you’ve stashed away. Yes, praise your little one liberally to build up confidence and give them that much-needed dose of encouragement.
Go Slow and Steady
While you may be tempted to rush from the diapers to the underwear in a jiffy, go slow and steady. Let your preschooler get used to staying in underwear during the day before dumping the night time diapers. Be consistent with praise, repetition and reminding. Also, when your toddler is using the potty, let her take her time and not rush her. It’ll allow her to empty her bowels or bladder completely and prevent an accident at the playground.
Stock Up on Potty Training Gear
While I’m not a big fan of fancy gear for toddler development and milestones, I did stock up on a few things that I consider must-haves for a tear-free, stress-free potty training experience:
- Stash of cotton panties. We made sure that we bought soft cotton ones with comfortable, soft elastic so that they would be easy on her sensitive skin and yes, we did get the ones with Dora and other characters, so that she’d be excited about wearing them.
- Change of clothes, at least 2, in her preschool bag and in my toddler kit in the car.
- Mattress covers to protect our mattresses from accidents
What potty training tips worked or didn’t work for you?
Photo Credit: mollypop