Read these 20 Toilet Training Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Parent tips and hundreds of other topics.
During potty training time, do away with the overalls, since they take longer to pull down and this may lead to accidents and frustration for both you and your child. Try using pull-on pants like sweatpants or leggings for quick and easy on and off that your child can do alone.
When I wanted to start toilet training my kids, I began by putting them on the potty each evening while I ran the water for the bath. The sound of running water helped, as well as the consistency of being on the potty at the same time each day. Slowly, we added more times throughout the day, and soon they were out of diapers!
I traveled long distance a lot with my daughter during her potty training time, and found that I needed to take our potty in the car for road-side stops. To aid in clean-ups, I would line the potty with a plastic bag, and place a sanitary napkin in the bag to absorb moisture. When she was finished, I could tie up the bag and toss it out.
A fun way to help kids want to urinate on the toilet is to put a few drops of food color into the toilet bowl, and let them see if they can change the color of the water. Boys may like to try this standing up, while girls can sit on the toilet backwards and watch the fun.
Your child is probably ready for toilet training when he:
- can walk to the potty (or adapted toilet seat);
- is steady and balanced when sitting on the potty;
- can stay dry in diapers for several hours in a row;
- can follow one or two simple instructions;
- can let you know when he needs to use the potty;
- wants to please you;
- wants to be independent.
At the beginning of training, try letting your kids run around in their underpants, with no other pants on top. This makes kids more aware of when they are wet, makes it easier to get to the potty on time with no pants to pull down, and there is less laundry if there is an accident!
Be consistent - plan on having at least three solid days to focus on potty training without interruption. Try placing your child on the potty every hour. Also, keep track of when your child normally goes, and get to the potty first. To keep your child still, try reading stories - about potties!
Most children are ready to begin toilet training between the ages of 2 and 4 years, but each child is different. You'll learn to follow the child's cues through each step of the process. But be patient because it will usually take between 3 and 6 months before the child is out of diapers for good.
To avoid fumbling around for clean sheets at 2 AM, I decided to cover my son's mattress with a waterproof mattress pad, covered it with a fitted sheet, then put on another waterproof pad and sheet. This way, if he wets the bed, I can just pull off the top layer to get to the clean pad and sheet underneath. We are both comfortably back in bed in no time.
As added motivation, some kids respond well to "potty points". Simply make a poster, hang it in the bathroom, and after each success a point is added. You may use a stamp or stickers or even allow your child to draw the "point" on. Most children find this exciting and work hard to get more points. Be sure to give out a lot of praise and encourage all family members to do the same.
During potty training time with my daughter, I happened to buy her a new bathing suit. She loved it so much that she wanted to wear it 24 hours a day. I told her it was OK as long as she didn't pee in it, because that would spoil it. She wore it for 3 days straight, consistently used the potty and never had an accident again.
The first thing to understand about toilet training is the child you are trying to move from diapers to panties/underwear isn’t like any other child.
No matter if everyone says their son or daughter quit using diapers by the age of two, it makes no difference if your child is still in diapers when they turn three. Every child is different and will learn their bodies on their own schedules.
Many parents feel extreme pressure to have their child potty trained by a set age. This usually falls somewhere between two to three years old.
Day care centers, pre-schools, and baby sitters expecting a parent to be “in control” of their child’s urine and bowel habit isn’t going to make the child potty train any faster. These entities usually have to staff differently if they have to attend to an older child who is not toilet trained. Pressure from them can lead a parent to think they are doing something terribly wrong. This is false.
Having a child who isn’t toilet trained by the “expected age” isn’t a failure by anyone, especially not the child. Understand that potty training doesn’t happen overnight and many times not over a weekend. The has to figure out his/her body in order to know the cues. In some children this happens at eighteen months, in others at four years.
The big tips to keep in mind are to be consistent, be patient, be positive, and most especially--be calm.
As my child psychology professor told me, “Your child won’t go to prom in a diaper, so don’t worry about it.”
Before you even begin toilet training, make sure these things are in place:
(1) Decide if your child is even ready to be potty trained. Day care centers, family members, and other parents can make a parent feel stressed if his/her child isn't out of diapers by a certain age. Understand that there are kids who aren't potty trained into their "4's" and there is nothing wrong with them. Every child's body matures individually and what worked for one child doesn't mean it's going to work for another.
(2) Knowing if a child can be potty trained is one of the hardest jobs for a parent, but stressing out, screaming and yelling, and basically being a control freak about it, is only going to lead to a lot of tears from both sides. Approach with the acceptance your child is your child. What worked for someone else's child doesn't mean it will work for yours and if your child gets potty training in a weekend or over six months, the more stressed out you become with it, the harder it is for both of you. Believe me, your child will not go to prom in a diaper, so be patient with the child and yourself.
(3) Decide which words you are going to use to refer to body fluids, functions and body parts. It is best to be direct and consistent when potty training. To help teach the concept, you may want to let your child watch you use the toilet. If your child has other caregivers, talk to them about your plans, and develop a plan to ensure consistency so everyone who is involved is using the same words. If everyone is using something different, the child can become confused and frustrated when asked to perform. Consistency is your best friend when it comes to potty training and using the same vocabulary everyday the same way will help move the progress forward--even if it's only a cenimeter at a time.
(4) Figure out what the reward is going to be when the child gets it and how to handle it when the child doesn't. Stickers, coins in a piggy bank, or simply lots of praise/hugs/kisses are great rewards. Stay away from food as a reward if possible because it starts a situation where the child might want to eat as a reward for everything they accomplish. If the child doesn't get it that time, remember, there will be many other chances and the child should be given a hug and praise for even trying. This applies to if the child tells you their diapers are soiled. This is the start of an awareness and that's a great sign!
(5) The parents need decompression when potty training a child. Have a plan in place for yourself as well when dealing with the frustration of a child not quite out of diapers. Some days will look promising and others will take backwards steps, but knowing that each day is a day closer to being a diaper free house is a positive one. Screaming at the child will add stress and push the training backwards. Praise versus punishment usually works better for these situations.
Many parents spend thousands of dollars on disposable diapers, or hundreds on cloth diapers, pins and covers in order to get each child through toddler-hood, at which point they need to potty train the child so he can go to preschool. However, many parents in the Western world don't realize that nearly half of the world's children are potty trained before their first birthday. Most of Asia, and many other countries, don't wear diapers because their parents start teaching them to go to the toilet, ten to fifteen minutes after feedings, from the day the child is born. Done regularly, this results in babies being able to go diaper-free without making messes.
While not common in the United States, there is a growing number of families that use a similar practice called Elimination Communication as a way to potty train kids as young as three months old. It saves hundreds of dollars, loads of laundry and the stress of having to teach the child when he's older.
When it's time for children to potty train, it can be joyous. Of course, when a child decides it time and when a parent decides it can be quite different timing.
This is only complicated by family member's input, preschool or day-care qualifications, and other parent's input of when their child got out of diapers. Being at a parenting group and having all the other parents give you the stink eye because your 2 1/2 year old isn't
The biggest thing you can do is be patient. Your child isn't going to prom in a diaper, so if they aren't potty trained by the age of two, don't worry.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (http://www.aap.org/publiced/BR_ToiletTrain.htm),
many children show signs they are ready to be potty trained between the ages of 18 to 24 months and most children are completely potty trained between the ages of 3-4 years old. This is when their bodies are physically able to control bowel and bladder. This is for daytime only. Even though a child is potty trained during the day, nightime wetting may not be accomplished until the child is five or even older.
Understand, a child will be ready when they are ready. A parent shouldn't freak out or use potty training as a form of punishment. There are many books out there to help a parent understand different methods and techniques, but the biggest things a parent can do to help a child is patience and consistency.
Once a child shows signs of being ready to potty train, then pick a method and stick with it for at least a week or more. Allow good and bad days and know the child will get it. They are figuring out their bodies as much as you are.
You child may not want to pass a stool in a potty or toilet, especially if he does not have good support for his feet. Rather than fight this, let him have bowel movements in a diaper so that he doesn't become constipated. Constipation can make going to the bathroom painful. If it hurts, it is likely to take even longer to use the toilet.