A rite of passage for all parents is to tackle the wondrous task of transitioning our little ones from the diaper to the toilette.
How on earth is it to be done? They’ve enjoyed the luxury of being able to go about their little lives with no hindrance on where and when to go.
It must seem a little strange to them, suddenly they aren’t allowed to go just anywhere but they have to go the potty?!
What is this crazy contraption! It may seem a monumental task to get our toddlers to go potty but it can be done!
We take a look at what experts have to say on the potty training journey.
Is potty training important?
The Mayo clinic, a medical clinic that has been around for over a 100 years says that potty training is a major milestone.
They go further to say that it is important for parent and child alike.
Both are going on a journey and the secret they say? Patience and timing.
Patience and compassion
It’s important to note that any attempt at change is going to call on patience and compassion.
Parents, it’s vital to know that no one is perfect and so when accidents happen, that’s to be expected.
No parent will magically be able to instantly transition their child from a diaper to the potty.
Additionally all children will need to time to learn to listen to their body, understand the signs and connect that with going to the potty.
When is the right time to start transitioning?
The Mayo clinic encourages parents to look for signs that their child is ready and not to go by a certain age.
They say that the timing of potty training depends on physical, developmental and behavioural milestones.
Along these factors each child will be unique so judging by age may be misleading.
Mayo speaks of some children being ready between 18 and 24 months and others only after 3 years of age.
Experts from the clinic encourage parents to wait for the right time.
There is no need to rush into the transition time as starting too early may mean that your child is not ready, prolonging the transition process.
Knowing When The Right Time Is
The Mayo clinic suggests that parents ask the following questions to see if their little one is ready to start the potty training process.
- Can your child walk to and sit on a toilet?
- Can your child pull down his or her pants and pull them up again?
- Can your child stay dry for up to two hours?
- Can your child understand and follow basic directions?
- Can your child communicate when he or she needs to go?
- Does your child seem interested in using the toilet?
If you answer mostly yes then it may be time.
It is also helpful to consider if your little one will be facing any other changes in the near future. A new sibling or a new house could mean that they could be overwhelmed by change already and to postpone potty training.
A marathon not a race
The Mayo clinic advocates for the child’s motivation, rather than a parents eagerness, to be what leads the potty training process.
Equally as important is for parents not to link how smoothly the process goes with a child’s intelligence or stubbornness.
Accidents are very common in the potty training process.
It can be helpful to see the potty training journey as having ups and downs and no at faults.
Experts say that it is best to avoid scolding or punishments when it comes to accidents.
Scolding can instil fear and shame in the process, sometimes causing serious confusion and setbacks in the training journey.
1 Pull out all the equipment
Easy access of the potty is a great start. Let your child sit on the potty and get familiar with it. Perhaps drop a dirty diaper in the potty when explaining what it is for.
2 Schedule Potty Breaks
First thing in the morning and last at night can help with timing and the body’s natural inclination to go.
Schedule ‘potty sits’ at 2 hour intervals. Stay with your child and offer encouragement even if they don’t go, praising for trying can help the ease of adjustment.
3 Fast Reaction Time
If you notice your little one squirming, jiggling or holding themselves, get them to the potty quick.
Having your child is loose clothing can help with the speed of removal.
Praise them for showing you when they needed to go, this can help reinforce to the signals their body tells them.
Teach girls to part their legs and to wipe from front to back to avoid germs from the rectum causing issues.
Explain the importance of washing hands after going to the toilette. Making a song for this can help with remembering.
5 Ditching the diapers
After a few weeks of things going well, you can start to think about ditching the diapers.
Having a star chart can help to positively reinforce success. Training pants can be a safe (absorbent) middle ground before underwear.
Remember that at the end of the day both you and your little one are trying to navigate something new.
Give both of yourselves space to learn and adjust. If your toddler isn’t getting the hang of it, consider taking a break for a month or two.
Remaining positive and encouraging is one of the tricks to becoming potty certified.