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Potty training: How to get started

Potty training can be a frustrating stage in your child’s development for both you and your child. There are a lot of questions you may have from when to start, to how to start. Most children are ready to start around the age of 2. Watch your child and when they start looking at the potty and being interested in the potty that’s when you should start. There are a lot of methods out there that you can use. The Mayo Clinic “Potty training: How to get the job done” has some good ideas. There are some things you need to think about before you start.

Is she ready to potty train?
Photo by Bryan Bedder

Have a plan- Before you start trying to potty training you need to have an idea of what you’re going to do. Figure out how often you’re going to take them to the potty. Figure out what plan you feel will be best for you and your child.

Get Excited- Get your child excited about starting to use the potty. Put it on the calendar and count down the days until you start. Most kids want to be “big” so help them understand that they are getting big and now get to use the potty just like Mommy and Daddy.

Be Consistent- Everyone who cares for the child needs to do and say the same things. If the child is in child care and they do things different from what you are doing the child could be getting confused. Everyone needs to call it the same thing weather its potty or bathroom. Have the child use the word as well.

Give Incentives- There are a lot of ways to encourage your child to use the toilet. The important part of incentives is to find out what your child will like the most. You can use sticker charts, special underwear, and money. If you use sticker charts put it where the child can see it and put the stickers on it themselves. Special underwear should be out where they can see them and work toward them, out of sight out of mind. Coins can be used in a special potty money bank. Give a penny for being dry, penny for peeing in the potty, and a nickel for pooping in the potty. Then they can buy something with their money like new underwear or a special toy.

Give Praise- This is one of the most important parts in potty training. Like with everything else your child learns if it’s a negative experience then it will take much longer and be much harder to do. Praise the little things and celebrate the big. Encourage them to keep trying.

Remember you are potty training your child not yourself. For them to be totally potty trained they need to be able to say they need to potty, go in to the bathroom, pull down their own pants, go potty, wipe, pull up their own pants, flush, and wash their own hands. If you are the one who is always telling them to go potty and you are pulling down their pants they are not potty trained, you are. Parents Magazine “20 Best- Ever Potty Training Tips”by Lauren Wiener can give more tips on potty training.

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