- Is your child ready?
- Are you ready?
- Top training strategies
Saying goodbye to stinky diapers is one of the milestones that parents look forward to most. And kids generally are excited about wearing "big-kid underwear" - most start to show signs of readiness between 18 and 24 months. Of course, the process is not without its pitfalls. Find out the best way to potty train your child, as easily as possible:
Is your child ready?
You can probably begin potty training if he:
- Knows words for urine, stool, and toilet
- Is somewhat bothered by feeling wet or soiled
- Shows interest in using the potty (he's open to sitting on it or curious about bathrooms)
- Has an awareness of when he's about to urinate or have a bowel movement
- Your child may say "poop" and "pee-pee," show some desire to be changed, and even be enchanted by the potty (but blithely make puddles everywhere when his diaper's off). Ultimately, knowing whether your child's ready comes down to guesswork. If it turns out he isn't, you can simply try again after a few weeks or months.
Toilet-training infants has become a recent trend, but it really isn't until toddlerhood that kids can take an active part in training. "Elimination communication" is actually more about helping parents understand when a baby needs to go than helping a child go on his own.
Are you ready?
Potty training takes energy and patience. It requires countless bathroom visits, not to mention the extra laundry and puddle cleaning. All of which you're expected to do with an encouraging smile. If you and your spouse aren't up for it for whatever reason - new job, a new baby, marital stress - don't feel bad about postponing. It will be far easier if you wait until the timing is right. Talk to your caregiver to be sure she's ready, too. And if your child goes to daycare, check to see if it has any toilet-training routines or policies.
Top potty-training strategies
The process may seem simple: Buy potty, introduce potty to child, have child sit on it clothed, then unclothed, buy fun underwear, be patient and upbeat. But potty training is not a one-diaper-fits-all process. Learning to tailor your potty-training strategy to your child's temperament - and your family's - will save you a lot of stress in the long run.
The hugs-and-kisses approach
Each time your child uses the potty correctly, give praise by clapping and giving kisses and hugs. Also point out her accomplishments to friends and relatives, so they can fuss over her, too.
Verbal praise builds self-esteem, and kids usually relish attention from a parent more than any toy.
Well, none really. If it does the trick, bravo.
Is it right for your child and you?
It's to every parent's advantage to start with this approach and save the tangible rewards (ice cream, toys) for any hurdles you and your toddler may encounter along the way.
The cold-turkey underwear approach
Let your child pick out several pairs of fun, big-kid underpants. Then, on the appointed day, make a production of putting on the underwear and let the spills fall where they may.
Most kids enjoy feeling like a grown-up. When they do have accidents, they feel the discomfort much more acutely than they would with training pants.
You, of course, feel the discomfort much more acutely, too, since there will be lots to clean up in the early days of the process.
Is it right for your child and you?
If you're very patient, don't mind messes, can stick close to home during the process, and have a washing machine at the ready, and your child seems to be truly motivated, underpants are believed by many to be a better way to go than disposables.