Potty Train Successfully

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Robbi, Lynn, Eng


Parenthood has its joys, its woes, and its inevitable daily chores. Among these daily chores, changing diapers is probably something you would gladly relinquish. However, how soon you can do so depends to a great extent on when you can successfully potty train your toddler. Do you need tips to be able to do this without glitches? If you do, you have come to the right page.

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Potty training can be an extremely frustrating and exhausting challenge. This is especially true because it happens just when "No" is the favorite word of toddlers. Decades ago, before disposable diapers were invented, toilet training was enforced rather rigidly. Today most psychologists frown at forcing the potty on children. Most recommend that this be done kindly, gently, and without traumatizing the young ones. The question that most parents, grandparents, and even teachers ask is, "How exactly can this be done?" Here are a few pointers that can make potty training easier on everyone.

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What You Need to Know About Toilet Training


It is very easy to get high strung about toilet training and maybe set unreasonable expectations for your toddler. This will make the whole process more stressful than it should be. As a whole, tension and stress in toilet training are unproductive; they do not help build the confidence and the positive self-image that you want your toddler to develop.

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There is a lot of information that can help you approach potty training with serenity. Here are some of the things you need to bear in mind:

  • The average age of potty training is now beyond 30 months. In the 1940s, when cloth diapers did not allow caregivers to postpone diaper changing, the average age for potty training was 18 months. In 2001, similar surveys showed that this had gone up to 35 months for girls and 39 months for boys.
  • A lot of doctors believe that pressuring children to achieve potty training early is not constructive.
  • Two year olds are generally learning to be independent. Potty training at this point often entails a power struggle that is fruitless and frustrating for you and the toddler.
  • A child can only be ready for potty training when he is both emotionally and physically ready.
  • Being physically ready means being able to hold urine and stool. This only happens after children are 12-18 months old.
  • Potty training toddlers early will not make them neat and orderly as older children or adults. Neither does it have any bearing on their future aptitudes or IQ, so don't torture yourself needlessly.
  • Potty training will not keep toddlers from urinating in bed at night, something that happens more often, and to more children than you think. Children are able to stay dry at night when their body starts to produce arginine vasopressin (AVP), also referred to as antidiuretic hormone (ADH).
  • Teaching toddlers to use the potty should be approached with the same attitude as teaching them to make a tower of blocks.
  • It can take as little as four months or as long as a year for you to be done with potty training.
  • Any approach you take can work as long as you are consistently patient, positive, and pleasant.

When is a toddler ready for potty training?


This cannot be said often enough: Each child is different and will be ready for potty training in his or her own time. Success in potty training depends on how prepared a toddler is, physically and emotionally. Don't rush - you will only make things more difficult and protracted if you do.

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So, when is the right time? There are certain signs you can watch for to determine this.

  • Your child has the ability to let you know when he needs to go. He can do this through words, signs, a change in posture, or facial expression.
  • He can stay dry for a two-hour period or longer during the day.
  • He complains when his diaper is wet or dirty.
  • He can pull his pants down and pull them up.
  • He can sit on the potty and get up from it by himself.
  • He can understand and follow directions.
  • He is interested in wearing underwear instead of diapers.
  • He is curious about the potty.

If you see most of these indicators, chances are you can begin introducing the potty. If most of these indicators are absent in your toddler's behavior, put it off for a while. Don't worry, you will get there. A more appropriate undertaking for your toddler might be potty orientation instead.

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What basic tools do you need for potty training?


Set the stage for potty training and gear your child for success. You can do this by keeping your impatience firmly in check, and looking at everything with a sense of humor. When your child is earnestly ready to start toilet training, you will need a potty chair and maybe a dozen training pants.

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Training pants are specially made pull-ups for toddlers who are learning to go to the potty. These are made of cotton blend cloth, and they have a waterproof layer, plus an absorbent inner pad. The waterproof layer helps prevent accidents and allows the toddler to become aware when he is wet. Training pants are machine washable so you won't have to buy boxes of them; a dozen pairs will do.

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Introducing Potty Training


When your toddler is showing some signs of being ready for potty training, but these signs are not consistently evident, you cannot start potty training for real. However, you can begin to do some orientation. Think of this as Part I of potty training, or an orientation of sorts.

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  • Begin to lessen your toddler's liquid intake before bedtime.
  • Start taking your toddler to the bathroom when you go so he can see what it is like when an adult has to "potty". You can also act the scene out if that is more convenient, especially if your toddler is extremely energetic and you need to be able to get up at a moment's notice to stop him from emptying the trash can, etc.
  • Read some books about going to the potty with your child. You can also watch some nice children's shows about going to the potty. He may seem enthusiastic about the new information he is getting, but do not allow yourself to give in to the temptation of making him sit on the potty for long periods. This won't help.
  • Ask him to tell you when he has wet or soiled his diaper. Even if this is after the fact, it will help him develop an awareness of the state of his diaper.

This is it!

Your toddler is ready, all the signs are there, and you can't wait to start the serious part of potty training. Here is how your training can proceed:

1. Potty talk


If you haven't introduced him to the potty, do it now. Show him books, watch shows, and buy him a potty. You can actually let him choose the potty he wants so he will feel he is part of the process in more ways than one.

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Bring up the potty as a subject for conversation whenever you feel it is time to check his diaper. You might ask him if his favorite toy "needs to go to potty" and check him too. Help your toddler feel comfortable with the idea of going to the potty.

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2. Picking the right potty

You can choose from two basic types of potty today. There are potties that sit fully on the floor, and there are those that you put on top of the regular toilet for adults. If you choose a potty that goes on top of the adult toilet seat, you will need to buy a step stool as well. A lot of moms find it is best to get a small potty that allows the little one's feet to be planted firmly on the floor. It is also a quicker act to set up - just make sure it is clean and ready all the time.

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3. Pick the right time to start in earnest


Do not start potty training unless your schedules are relaxed and the whole household has no stressful concerns. The coming of a new baby, moving to another house, taking a vacation, and other similar situations do not lend themselves to toilet training. A familiar, relaxed routine will help your child learn this new skill.

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Remember that some children may take a long time to become accustomed to asking for the potty in time. You may need to allot a sizeable block of time for potty training, and being in the middle of transitions often makes this difficult. No matter how long it takes, keep your cool. Someone once laughingly said no kid ever graduated from high school wearing diapers.

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4. Clear the traffic.

When you really decide to start potty training, make sure your child will have an easy time doing his potty, and he has access to the bathroom. This means he should be able to go from his bed to the potty without trouble. If this isn't possible, put him in diapers at night.

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5. Demonstrate the potty training methods.


Choose definite times during day to have your toddler sit on the potty - even when he does not need to go. Some recommend sitting for a few minutes every two hours. However, don't drag out these sitting sessions. Make a regular ritual out of it. A good schedule for sitting might be early in the morning, before naps and bedtime. Tell him to remove his shorts, or pants, or pajamas. Then tell him to remove his training pants. Allow him to sit for a few minutes. Whether he actually goes or not, make him flush the toilet and wash his hands. Throughout the process, praise him whenever he tries to do something right.

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6. Demonstrate proper hygiene.

Demonstrate to your toddler that hygiene is a permanent part of the whole potty ritual. Here are the things that should become a habit whenever he goes to the potty: *Wiping from front to back *Flushing after using the toilet *Washing hands thoroughly with soap and water afterward *Taking enough time when washing (long enough to finish singing happy birthday or the alphabet song)

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To add enjoyment to the process, buy interesting, child-friendly soap.

7. Offer praise and rewards.


Bear in mind that accidents will happen while your child is potty training. Even when children are "fully" potty trained, these accidents will take place. Assure your child that his "accidents" do not define the process by casually telling him it's not a problem. At the same time, praise him gently when he does something right, or when he makes an honest effort to do what he should.

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8. Don't make potty time an ordeal.

There are many things you can do to give potty time a relaxed and positive connotation. You can make interesting activities to celebrate his successes. Here are some of those things:

  • You can create a sticker chart to mark every time he washes his hands well, or flushes, or he succeeds in telling you when he has to go (before he has actually done it).
  • You can prepare some books and toys, especially for potty time.
  • You can let him try big children undies that will allow him to know he needs to change.
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Although you are in for a challenging time, bear in mind that it won't last forever. It is an important time that will prepare your toddler for another stage in his life. Enjoy it because, believe it or not, it is not without its truly rewarding moments.

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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Article Info

Categories : Parenting

Recent edits by: Lynn, Robbi, Nerissa Avisado

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