Toddlers grow very fast and learn lots of new things almost every day, gradually penetrating into the secrets of the world around them. One of the complex and very important stages of this process is toilet training.
What’s the best time to start?
There are no strict requirements as to when exactly you have to start to potty train your child. Every child is unique, so it’s not so much about the right age as about the signs of readiness your toddler may show. According to specialists, the optimal time to start potty training is between 18 and 30 months of age.
Remember that you won’t do your kid a favor by starting the toilet training too early as this will lead to many issues and digressions.
The key conditions of the “Potty operation” are unobtrusiveness and patience: don’t worry, sooner or later your toddler will understand what you want from him and will do it “like all the big boys and girls do”.
While it goes without saying that when potty training you choose the methods that suit your child individually there are some common methods that may help you to make the process easier:
– It’s better to start encouraging your toddler to use his potty when he clearly shows he wants to go (for example, right after he gets up, soon after his afternoon meal, or before bedtime).
– Play methods of persuasion are the most efficient ones when it comes to younger kids. Let your toddler’s toys be the first ones who “start using a potty” (you can even purchase a “peeing” doll for this). Even your personal example or that of the older kids, if you have any, may be of great help.
– Using some material motivation might make sense if your kid is 24 months old and older. For instance, your little princess will be much more inspired to use her potty if you give her new pretty panties or a dress (wouldn’t it be a pity to put stains on such a pretty thing?); the same goes for a new toy car or a bike.
– After your toddler gets used to his potty, you should start helping him to get used to the outdoor walks without diapers: offer him to go potty before you go outside (and don’t forget to take some backup clothes with you just in case).
– Saying goodbye to the nighttime diapers should be the conclusion of your potty training: at some point, you’ll notice that your toddler is able to sleep all night without wetting his bed.
The length of this important toilet training process depends on your child’s age and on his psychoemotional state. While younger kids tend to accept all kinds of new things easier older children get used to them more quickly. It may take you 2 or 3 months to potty train an 18-month old toddler, but with a 2-year old you may succeed in just several days. But remember that these are just numbers, all kids are unique and develop at their own pace and your little one does too.
The three ultimate don’ts
Sometimes it happens that your child starts wetting his pants again. This may be caused by some illness or a stressful situation (like tooth eruption) or a developmental crisis. At a time like this, a toddler may even boycott going potty. What should you do with this? Nothing. Accept things as they are, arm yourself with patience and wait — usually about two weeks or so. After this time passes, offer your kid go potty again: he will quickly remember how to use it. Insisting, shaming or attempting to forcefully make your child use his potty again will be a great mistake that may even lead to a habit to go potty in places not really intended for that.
For the most part, the subject of potty training is rather about the things you shouldn’t do than about strict rules. Here are three things that can be considered the ultimate don’ts of potty training:
1. Don’t scold and shame your toddler for soiling his pants, even if he is old enough. If the “accident” takes place, just calmly draw your child’s attention to what happened and affectionately remind him what the big boys and girls usually do in a situation like this.
2. Don’t go overboard praising your child for his “potty achievements”. All he needs is just the understanding that he is doing the right thing. Being overenthusiastic in your praise may lead to a situation when your kid goes potty not because he needs to but because this is the kind of behavior that makes his mom happy. Which means that when mommy is not there, the issue of wetting his pants may come back.
3. Don’t ever force your child to do anything. A statement like “we will not go walking (dining, reading etc.) until you go potty” will lead to a very negative (and quite a long-term) result.