It’s a great time of life. You and your child are ready to dump the diapers and command the commode. Potty training is a process that seems endless at the time, but will be over before you know it. If potty training seems impossible and scary, just remember no child has ever gone to college refusing to be potty trained. It will happen — just keep these top seven tips for success in mind:
1. Don’t start before your child is ready. It’s better to err on the side of caution and hold off on potty training boot camp than it is to begin your little soldier before she is up to it. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that if your child is afraid of the potty or cannot ask you before he has to go to the bathroom, it is not time to start potty training.
2. Watch for signs your child is ready to potty train. That means bowel movements should be relatively predictable. Your child should also be able to sleep through the night without having to go — or be able to wake up to use the potty.
3. Relax. Both you and your child will be more successful, sooner, if everyone is relaxed. Don’t start potty training when a major upheaval is occurring at home. Summertime or during a vacation from work are good times to chill out and focus on this major milestone. Handle accidents with calm composure and move on from the incident quickly.
4. Get psyched. You and your child should have fun with the potty training process. Make potty a party by shopping for a big kid potty chair together. Select cool new underpants that your child can begin wearing once potty trained.
5. Make regular stops at the potty. Once you have the potty chair in place, let your child watch you use the potty. Let them give it a try, too. It is not uncommon for that first potty moment to be a surprise to your child and you. After he or she is successful once, it will become easier and easier.
6. Never criticize the potty trainee. It may be hard to hold your tongue, particularly when there’s a messy accident, but you must. Creating an aura of stress around potty training will backfire and delay progress. When potty training, keep the mood light and positive. Encouragement and praise go a long way.
7. Memorialize the diaper-free moment; make it special. Let your child know how proud you are of this achievement. Make a fuss about tossing or donating that last box of diapers or training pants. Let your child know that being diaper-free is a rite of passage — one of many you will guide him through with just as much love.