Potty Training

Many parents wonder when it is the right time to potty train their child.  You can forget the stories about someone having their child trained very early.  Probably the parent has trained herself to put the child on the potty every few hours.  She has been trained, but the child is not really potty trained.

If you try to train a child too early and the child is not ready you will spend a lot more time and experience a lot more frustration trying to train the child.

Most children do best at potty training when the process is started a little over two years of age.  If you wait too long to begin potty training the child may resist the process more than he would if you started the process earlier.

First, your child need to be able to understand and follow basic directions.

You can tell when the child is ready for potty training.  He will begin to show some interest in the toilet habits of the adults he observes.  Tell the child that big people go to the potty instead of going in a diaper.  Take the child into the bathroom with you (and if your child is a boy with his father) and let the child observe.  The boy’s father may have to be convinced to participate in this project, but it is for a good cause.

If you child is complaining about wet or dirty diapers he is probably ready for potty training.

If you child is wetting his diaper every half hour or so then he is not yet ready for potty training.  The child needs to be able to hold his urine for about two hours before he is ready for training for the potty.

Your child should be able to pull pants up and down by himself when he begins potty training.  Children like the pullups they can wear while potty training.  You can emphasis that these make them a “big kid”. Your child needs to be able to sit on a potty chair and rise from the chair.  When you are ready to start training get out the potty chair and encourage your child to sit on it either with or without his diaper.  Be sure the child’s feet rest firmly on the floor.

Once the child is comfortable with the chair have him sit on the potty chair without a diaper for a few minutes several times a day.

Keep your eyes on your child for signs he needs to go to the potty.  These signs include squatting, squirming or holding the genital areas.  When you see these signs, it is time to head your child toward the potty chair.

It will be easier for boys if they are trained to urinate sitting down and using the potty chair and then progress to standing up for urination after the bowel training is completed.

Teach girls when they urinate to wipe carefully from front to back.

Let your child have the honor of flushing the toilet.  Teach the child to carefully wash his or her hands after using the potty.

Get one of the books on potty training and read it with your child while he is sitting on the potty chair.

Some children will respond to incentives. Some child like to receive stickers or stars on a chart while other children will respond to a special outing or extra story time.  Some children respond to verbal praise for a job well done.  Even if the trip to the potty is not successful, stay positive.

After potty training has been successful for a few weeks it is time to try your child in either regular underwear or training pants.  Let the child pick out his own underwear and stress that he is now wearing “big kid” underwear. When the child is wearing either of these avoid putting the child into overalls or leotards or using belts which will hinder the child undressing.

If your child is not getting the hang of the potty training after a few weeks he is not yet ready for it.  Wait a little longer and try again.

Even if your child has been trained for the potty for a few weeks it is normal for him to have the occasional accident.  Your child may be trained during the day to use the potty, but he may need to wear disposable training pants and use mattress covers when sleeping.  It takes much longer for a child to master nighttime and naptime training.AM_b_SunSafety-624x351