Your baby won’t go to college in diapers, but it certainly may not feel like it when they are almost a toddler and still won’t wee in the potty.
After all the challenges of pregnancy and parenting a newborn baby comes another challenge: potty training! This important milestone is notorious in getting mixed reactions from parents, both new and experienced. Some get anxious, some get terrified, but a few get excited at the thought of potty training. You can be part of the third group if you’re prepared!
When to Potty Train
For the child who is not ready yet, potty training is an impossible task. So how do you know when your baby is ready?
Common signs of readiness include having a dry diaper for a longer time than usual – sometimes even after a nap – and being visually uncomfortable in a wet or dirty diaper. Readiness also includes being able to tell or gesture that they are about to go.
It’s also at this point that they are starting to show interest in how adults behave and use the toilet. In other words, a child is ready for potty-training if they can understand their body’s signals and are physically able to respond to these signals.
8 Potty Training Tips that Work
If you think your child is ready to be potty-trained, here are 8 simple tips that can help you conquer this milestone successfully.
1. Expose them to the toilet early.
If your child follows you to the bathroom when you have to pee, let them watch you! Make the most out of an awkward situation and use it as a way to teach them what grown-ups do when they have to go pee.
However, this usually works best with a parent and a child of the same gender. Take your daughter with you, and let your husband or partner take your son.
2. Use cloth diapers.
Cloth diapers have a lot of benefits (LINK TO BENEFITS OF USING CLOTH DIAPERS), and one of these benefits is helping babies learn their own body signals. When a cloth diaper gets wet, your baby feels the wetness, which is an uncomfortable feeling. On the contrary, disposable diapers remain dry for hours. This keeps babies from recognizing the cues that their bodies are sending.
3. Let accidents happen.
Accidents are bound to happen when you have a baby. But when you are in the potty training stage, these are encouraged! The whole point of potty training is teaching babies that peeing and pooping are icky and uncomfortable. This helps them understand that there is a proper, hygienic place to do these things.
Don’t be embarrassed to forego clothes for a while and let your babies run naked to minimize laundry – any tip that saves your sanity is a good tip!
4. Don’t be ashamed to bribe with rewards.
Bribing sounds bad, but is it really that bad? A lot of children enjoy being rewarded for showing good behavior, and potty training is not really an exemption. You will have an easier time if your baby gets excited to use the potty because they are expecting a treat afterward – which is what we are aiming for.
These treats are not necessarily candy, too. There are a lot of other options to choose from. You may choose to give them stickers instead or stars or a stamp. For a more apt route, you can get them cute new underwear! These are not “bad” rewards and typically don’t cause a negative change in their behavior.
5. Keep potties in different parts of the house.
Babies move all day long, and when it’s time to go, they have to go on the spot. If you keep a potty in the living room, there might be no time to run there if your baby needs to go in the kitchen!
To solve this problem, get several potties (you can get cheap ones) and place them in different areas of your house. This way, you’ll never miss the target.
6. Use a book or an app.
If your baby is still unsure or scared of what to do, get a book or an app that talks about going to the potty. There are a lot of classic books out there about potty training. Apps are also a good idea because they are interactive. You can definitely mix the two and use both books and apps to drive the point home.
7. Go generous on the praises.
Don’t get stingy with the praises! If you think about it, this is probably one of the most difficult things they have to do in their young lives. It can be a scary experience, but with you praising and encouraging them, the task at hand becomes easier.
Seriously, aside from the rewards, you can’t go overboard with making your baby feel proud of what they are able to do. Who knew potty training could build self-confidence and self-esteem?
8. Be patient and go through the process one day at a time.
Finally, don’t expect your baby to be fully trained in a day. While some children can achieve this, they are usually the exception and not the rule. Take it one day at a time. You may not achieve results today, but consistency builds a pattern. Sooner or later, the pieces will fall into place before you know it.
If your baby seems inconsolable, there is no shame in getting them back in diapers and trying again next month. They may be physically ready, but emotionally and mentally, they aren’t there yet. And that’s okay! There is always a next time, and remember, forcing your baby to do one thing they aren’t capable of doing yet results to more harm than good. So take it easy!
Are you ready to potty train your child? Armed with these tips, we can say that you are already halfway there!