Sure, your Aunt’s cousin’s girlfriend’s son was potty trained by age 2, but that is the exception, not the rule. Personally, I don’t even begin to think about potty training until after my children’s 2nd birthday. Waiting until your child is a little more mature will save the both of you a LOT of frustration.
2. Look for the signs
There are several signs a child will exhibit when they reach the maturity level needed to potty train:
A. Interest in mommy and daddy’s potty times.
B. Talking about the act (“pee pee, mommy?) before they go.
C. And this is the BIG KAHUNA – dry diapers when they wake from sleep; in the morning or after nap. I personally use this as the catalyst into potty training. If they are not going the bathroom during their sleep it means their bladder is large enough to retain a decent amount of urine and (and this is the biggie) they are able to hold that urine for a long stretch of time.
3. Start slowly
Begin by inviting them to use the potty before bath time, bed time, and first thing in the morning. It might be helpful for you to go at that time as well. Keep it very casual at this point. You want the child to be intrigued, not overwhelmed.
4. Take off the diaper
The quickest way to potty train a child is to make them aware of when they actually go potty. Sound like circular reasoning?? Here’s the thing: diapers are so well made these days, most kids can’t tell they’ve even gone potty. So, wait for a warm season and get those buns in the sun! Head into the backyard and let your little guy run around naked (at least from the waist down). When he eventually pees, he’ll be instantly aware of it and will start to connect the urge to go to the actual act.
If you cannot get outside and going diaperless indoors is just not for you, try putting underwear on underneath the diaper. The underwear will get wet and, eventually, cold and uncomfortable. Your child will begin linking the urge to pee with the yucky feeling which he will want to avoid.
5. Get a potty seat
I personally prefer the potty seats that fit right over the toilet. This is the one we use at home and which I highly recommend. Whether you buy the full plastic potty that sits on the floor or one like the above, you will need something to accommodate that cutie little patootie.
6. Small rewards
Or, my personal favorite, jelly beans. It’s, honestly, unbelievable what a jelly bean can motivate a toddler to do. Unbelievable! That scary potty suddenly seems like a friend when a small reward is included.
7. Don’t punish
This is a don’t rather than a so. Don’t punish for small accidents, especially in the early days of potty training. You want the child to be excited and engaged, not frightened and overwhelmed. Punishing a child for an accident, as frustrating as it may be, will never speed up the potty training process. Rather it will delay it as the child will become fearful and will feel the desire to hide when the urge to potty comes on.
And now…Don’t forget to CELEBRATE!
Now that your toddler is such a big boy or girl, be sure to take them out to buy their first set of underwear! This is such a thrill for a child and is well deserved after making such a giant leap forward! And pat yourself on the back too, Mama, as you strut right past that diaper aisle!