The day comes when you start thinking it may be time to start potty training. It’s exciting to think “YES, no more diapers soon!’, as you head one step closer to toddler independence. At the same time, potty training can be tiring and frustrating when you don’t know where to start or the techniques you’ve tried just aren’t working.
Thankfully parents aren’t alone. There’s lots of tried and true tips and tricks available from parents who have successfully potty trained their child and want to share with you. And remember at the end of the day it will happen! We’ve gathered our favourite tips from parents to share with you:
1. Start Conversations Early
Before beginning potty training start planting the seed and have conversations with your child around potty training. This may include getting books from the library on potty training and then having discussions about.
“Before potty training we went to the library and picked out a couple books with a potty training theme and read them to our son. Learning about potty training in a fun and engaging way through a story made the whole potty training concept relatable for our son and fun!”
2. Set The Stage
Along with conversations around potty training, stock up on supplies and have them around the house ready to use well before you start potty training. This will help your child feel comfortable and familiar with the idea. Maybe even excited! This could include getting a portable potty seat for the bathroom or new underwear with a fun print, etc.
“When I thought my daughter was ready to start toilet training, we purchased a portable potty seat and placed it in the bathroom. It was months before toilet training began, but having her own portable potty in the washroom early on was definitely key to setting the stage for successful toilet training (and lots of patience!)”
3. Build It Up
The hardest part about potty training is helping your child recognize how to listen to their body on when it’s time to go. Toddlers have fun playing and often forget they have to go the bathroom until ‘oops!’ it’s too late and they have had an accident. Often this comes with age but there’s steps you can take to help your child recognize when they need to go.
“Once I felt my son was ready for the toilet, we went to the toilet every 20 minutes or so. I slowly worked up the time to 30 minutes, then 45 minutes, and so on until he did his first pee in the toilet! After a few times, he began to get the idea of knowing when he had to go.”
4. Weekend Bootcamp
Instead of making potty training a long, drawn-out process, some parents find doing potty training in one shot over a weekend easier. Find a weekend on your calendar that you have no plans & can block off in order to focus on potty training.
“After a couple of months of failed attempts, we decided to do a potty training weekend, bootcamp style! We put a portable potty in the living room and made a game of it. Every so often, I’d ask if my son if he needed to use the washroom and we’d try. There were a few accidents along the way, but by the end of the weekend he got the concept of using the toilet and from then on it went more smoothly. He is now fully potty trained!”
5. Try When Ready
Pressuring your child to use the toilet often does not work. If you have been trying with a lot of resistance from your child, it’s best to take a break and hold off until your child feels ready. And just remember, no child goes off to elementary school in diapers so it will happen when they are ready with some encouragement and patience.
“We had in our minds that our daughter would be out of diapers by her 3rd birthday. It didn’t go that way and we realized that she was just not ready yet. We decided to park our expectations and hold off potty training all together. Within a few months she started talking to us about how diapers were for babies and wanted to try sitting on the toilet. This was her way of telling us she was ready and so we started potty training again but this time with much more ease and success!”
6. Celebrate the Process
Instead of only rewarding successful attempts on the toilet, celebrate the small victories along the way. Your toddler wiped by herself? Celebrate with a fun sticker! He or she had a morning with no accidents? Reward them with a trip to their favourite place like the library.
“The first time my daughter sat on the toilet with no diapers and tried to pee, I made a big deal out of it to praise her for the little steps along the way. Mini celebrations along the way made her feel proud of herself for trying and kept her interested in continuing to try. Most of all it kept things light and fun for her.”
There is no magic age or best way to do potty training. Every child is unique and through trial and error and simply waiting until they are truly ready, you will eventually find the best time and technique that works. Cheers to happy potty training!