Potty Training Basics

These common-sense rules about potty training can help make the process easier on everyone!

  • Try not to push potty training on your child. Children will give obvious clues when they are ready. These clues include taking off their diaper, being upset if the diaper is wet or if they are carrying a load, when they have a name for their bowel movements, or when they have an obsession with the potty.

  • After changing his diaper, bring your toddler along with you to the bathroom to flush his bowel movement down the toilet. This teaches him about the use of the potty, and it can dramatically reduce odors -- especially if you're visiting someone else's home.

  • Your toddler is also getting close to potty readiness when she knows how to pull up her pants, rather than pull down her pants. Pulling down pants is easier and this usually happens long before she can actually pull them up.

  • A big hurdle in toilet training is convincing your child he won't fall off the toilet or into it. Before training begins, occasionally sit on the toilet with the lid down and hold your toddler on your lap. Then let him do the same by himself.

  • For some reason, potty training your toddler is just easier when you call it "tinkling."

  • It usually takes boys longer to potty train than girls because boys have to learn two ways, sitting and standing. It's best to start boys off with sitting only and try not to confuse them. (We'll save aiming for another book.)

  • Toddlers learn to control their bladder first during the day, then at night. Choose pants that are easy to put on and take off while training your toddler, and banish overalls and pants with belts from your house while you're training because accidents like this can cause mental setbacks.

  • It's generally easier to potty train when the days are longer, it's warm, and your toddler can more easily go naked some of the time. It helps to have your child diaper-free while you're potty training him, because he can see what's happening and he can feel the pressure of eliminating when he goes.

  • If all else fails, ask a five-year-old to go along and show your toddler what to do. Toddlers usually adore and respect children who are between five and eight years old.

  • Get a potty training doll. Perfect!

  • Turn on the water and you are on your way to potty training. It's a subliminal aid to tinkling, and the distraction can also reduce anxiety in children who are sensitive to being watched.

  • Reward with praise when potty training and don't make a big deal about accidents.

  • Don't push potty training if it truly upsets your toddler. They do it in their own time.

More on: Toilet Training


Copyright © 2006 by Jeanne Murphy. Excerpted from Your Happy Toddler with permission of its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon.com.

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