Potty training requires cooperation between you, your child and your daycare provider. A deal of patience is needed from everyone involved. The process can be difficult if you expect too much, too soon. A child needs to be physically, mentally, and emotionally ready to begin. Some instances where potty training should be postponed are:
- If the family is moving
- A new baby is due
- Another family member having an unexpected illness
- When there is a lot of tension in the home (such as a loss, grief, job, etc.)
You should start by letting your child casually sit on his own special potty chair. Do not force him/her to sit there. Allow him /her to come and go. If your child likes reading books, most do, give a book look at while sitting on the potty. A child needs to feel comfortable with the new habit.
Next you need to show your child the intended purpose of the potty chair. Every time he or she has a bowel movement, dump the contents into the potty chair. Allow them to view the contents and say “this is where potty goes.” After a few times your child will begin to understand that it is ok for the potty to go here. It is important to be patient during this time as you want it to become a happy moment instead of one filled with tension. After the bowel movement encourage your child to sit on the potty seat. You should reward success with a hug, kiss or a treat.
Never criticize a child when there isn’t success and don’t want to expect too much. This is a learning process for and potty training takes time, just like walking and crawling. A child must feel comfortable and that will lead to the next step of development.
You shouldn’t compare him/her to other children that might have had success faster. Each child is different and they will send you signals letting you know they are ready for the next step. A punishment should never follow an unsuccessful attempt. This only makes the child want to give up and go back to babyhood and makes the Big Boy or Big Girl stage too hard. Accidents will happen as it is a part of potty training. If your child protests you might want to try another day. It might be too soon.
Once your child has a successful attempt in his/her chair, you should begin to schedule trips to the potty. Take your child and place him on the potty once every hour. As he begins to understand the process and reasons why he/she is sitting on the potty, he will begin to be able to have more bladder control. He will have fewer accidents and be able to hold the urine in his bladder for longer periods of time. Eventually your child will understand what you expect.
Good habits start early. Show the child how to wipe from front to back to avoid bacteria in the genital area. Tell them to wash their hands with soap and have them dry their hands completely. Children love to play with water so this should be a fun part of potty training.
As your child gets older he/ she will begin to go to the bathroom on his own. Night bladder control should be accomplished by the age of five. If you are still having the child wet at night at that age you should discuss it with your doctor.
More Potty Training Tips:
- fewer drinks after dinner
- no drinks within an hour before bed
- use the potty just before bed
- Prescribed medications
You may want to seek the advice of your pediatrician if you have any concerns.