04 Mar Positive Potty Training
If your child is ready, positive potty training will happen easily. If you push your child to do it when they aren’t ready – battles will occur. Power struggles over your child’s body are never a good idea…at any age.
Below are some steps you can take for your child to learn about and master using the toilet:
Find some good books about using the toilet, such as “Potty,” by Leslie Patricelli, “Big Girl Panties,” by Fran Manushkin, or “Once Upon a Potty,” by Alona Frankel. There are many books available on the subject, find some that will resonate with your child.
Children learn through modeling. Begin discussing what you do in the bathroom, and allow your child to watch, when appropriate. Boys benefit greatly when watching fathers, older brothers, or some other trusted older male.
Have a child sized potty in each bathroom. Your child can not only sit on it when they would like, it encourages them to mimic your behavior while you are using the toilet.
Sitting on the potty should be fun. Have some interesting books in the bathroom, or sing a funny song while you are using the toilet. Whether or not you child actually uses the potty, any effort to sit on it should be celebrated with cheers.
Have a special celebration when your child pees or poops in the potty. My youngest daughter would run into the living room, half naked, and do the “potty dance” every time she was successful. The whole family clapped and cheered.
Watch what happens when your child needs to poop. Some children hide under a table or squat in the corner. Give your child easy words to use when they feel that way.
Change from diapers to underwear when your child asks. Let it be their idea, and let them choose which ones they would like to wear.
Buy a seat to go on the toilet. Many children are afraid of falling into the “big potty,” so let them pick out their own seat to go on the toilet. Pick out a step stool for them to rest their feet on as well. They will have a harder time going poop with their feet dangling.
Accidents will happen. Hide any disappointment you may be feeling, so you don’t put any pressure on your child. A smile and a shrug, with a reassuring, “That’s okay, accidents are how we learn. Try again the next time you need to go,” will do wonders for your child’s self esteem.
Never punish your child for accidents. Doing so is a recipe for a battle of the wills, which is something neither of you want. Rewards can be very effective for a child who is fearful, whereas punishment will just increase the child’s fear. “Punishment actually makes it more difficult for the child to control his body because fear shuts down the learning centers of the brain,” Parents magazine reports.
Pull-Ups might not be the best plan. I’ve read a lot of research about the use of pull-up type training pants for potty training, and for the most part professionals warn against using them. The general consensus is that it will drag out, or stall, the potty training process. They tend to be confusing to your child because they’re not diapers, but they’re not underwear. Bare-bottomed is best if your living situation, and flooring, allows for it.
Start at a relaxed time. Avoid trying to potty train your child if there is something stressful going on in your home, such as a major illness, a move, or a daycare change. Ideally, your child shouldn’t feel hurried during this process.
This is an exciting time in your child’s life. How you address it, and handle it, will help you child transition to the toilet with ease.