If you read Part 1 of our “Complete Guide to Potty Training”, you’ll learn what signs you need to look for and what items you require before you begin potty training. Now, let’s learn how to start potty training your child.
How to potty train your child:
Let them go bare-bottomed in the house
Ditch the pull-ups/training pants when your child is at home and let them roam bare-bottomed for a bit. There are a few reasons why this method works well. Firstly, it’s easier and faster to rush your child to the pot when they need to go. Secondly, without the security of pants/pull-ups, your little one will learn to actually start listening to his body and hopefully, start signaling the same to you. Also, after having been in diapers for so long, this is a different feeling for them and helps indicate the start of a new phase.
Keep a close eye for signs that your child needs to go
Be vigilant and keep checking to see if your child is showing signs that he needs to use the bathroom. Your child will either verbally let you know he needs to go, or might show you through non-verbal cues such as straining his facial muscles or sitting quietly in a corner. As soon as you see the signs, take him to the pot. Even if it’s just a false signal, it’s perfectly okay. Encourage and praise them anyway. Sometimes, your child might do it before you reach the pot. That’s okay too. Make them sit on it anyway to build the connection.
Consistency is crucial during potty training
Show your little one that you’re serious about helping them through this by being consistent. Spotting the signs sometimes and then ignoring them at other times might send the wrong signals to your child. If you’re setting a potty training schedule by taking them at particular timings (eg: after meals or before bed), then stick to those timings consistently. Put them on the pot at their set times, and give them at least 15 minutes to try. If it doesn’t happen, take them off and try again later.
Show them how it’s done
Children are great imitators. So, when you SHOW your child how it’s done instead of telling them, it can make a huge difference. Remember to explain the process to them in simple terms while you demonstrate it to show them how easy it can be.
Use pull-ups and/or cloth training pants
Once you begin potty training, it’s good to ditch the diapers. But since your little one is not going to be potty-trained overnight, you still need a back-up during this phase. This is where pull-ups come in. Pull-ups are like diapers, but as the name suggests, they can be pulled up and down like regular underwear and are disposable. They’ll help prevent any messy accidents and also help your child through the transitional phase. However, some experts suggest that pull-ups can delay the potty training phase as it gives the child the same feeling as a diaper does, thus preventing them from going to the toilet. Some parents use pull-ups only during situations where you can anticipate a potty accident, like when you are out of the house or during the night.
Many parents skip pull-ups altogether and go straight to washable cloth training pants. These pants come with extra absorbent layers to soak up excess moisture in case of small dribbles, but not enough that your child won’t notice the wetness. They also give your child the feeling of having transitioned to grown-up pants and can be very motivating in the training process. They are also similar in feel to regular underwear, which will make the eventual transition easier.
Pick the right potty seat
The right potty seat is essential for potty training success. Typically, there are two kinds of potty seats you can choose from. The first is the classic standalone potty chair. This can be moved around easily from room to room. Due to its size, most children do not feel scared to sit on it as they can easily touch their feet to the ground, making it quite comfortable for them. The second option is a potty training seat that can be placed directly over the adult toilet to help your child sit easily. If you get this kind of seat, make sure you also get a stepstool so that your child can climb on to the pot easily. A seat with handles at the side can also help your child get on quickly and feel more comfortable. As this involves a little more effort, it can take a little longer to get accustomed to. However, once your child is used to it, the final transition to the adult toilet becomes a lot smoother.
Whatever you choose, help your child build positive associations with the seat right from the start. Familiarize them with it and let them get used to seeing it around. When shopping for a potty seat, look for one that’s stable and durable, one that won’t tip over easily. If you buy a potty seat that goes over the adult seat, make sure it sits properly over the adult pot without shifting around, as that might scare your child.
Make undressing easy for your little one
During the process of potty training, dress your little one in something that’s easy to pull down, in case they need to use the pot urgently. Extra buttons, zips and whatnots can make the process cumbersome and a lot less fun!
Let the process be enjoyable
Praise, love and encouragement are vital in speeding up the potty training process. Praise your little one for every little achievement – whether it’s pulling their pants down properly, washing hands after or reaching the pot in time. Do NOT scold your little one in case he has an accident. Let them know that it’s okay and they can keep trying. Rewards can also work well but don’t make rewards a constant habit. Some parents like to use a potty training sticker chart. Every time your little one uses the pot, you reward them with a sticker. Make potty training fun by teaching them a little song or rhyme to go with it. Here are some cute and encouraging potty training videos that’ll help make it fun for both you and baby.
Teach good hygiene right from the start
Part of the potty training process is also teaching your child about good hygiene habits. Practices such as washing hands after using the bathroom, learning to wipe properly and flushing should be consistently reinforced. Although washing hands and flushing are not too difficult, learning to wipe might still take some time. Be patient and be consistent with your teaching process and give your baby enough time.
Pick the right time to start
Even if your child is showing signs that he is ready to begin potty training, make sure you pick the right time to start potty training. Don’t start at a time when you or your child may be undergoing any kind of big or transitional change. It could be something like moving to another house, changes in family structure, unrest at home, etc. The added stress of it could affect the potty training process.
If you’re a working parent, start potty training your child when you have a few days off or a long weekend. (Check out the 3-day potty training method that we’ve outlined below) Simply stay indoors, be attentive and keep working on it. When you do go back to work, figure out a schedule where you can still help them use the pot – in the mornings before you leave for work and at night, before bed-time. If someone is caring for your child during the day while you’re at work, involve them in the process as well so that it can continue even in your absence.
Don’t cut back on their liquids
You might think that reducing your child’s liquid intake will lead to fewer accidents, but it’s not helpful. Giving your child more fluids at this time will help move the process along.
For more potty training tips, click here to read our article ‘Potty Training made Easy’!
What is the 3-day potty training method?
A lot of people swear by the 3-day method when it comes to potty training. While there are a lot of online resources that can show you how to implement this method if you feel it’s right for you, here’s a basic overview of the method.
For this to work, your child needs your full attention for three whole days. This means staying the entire time indoors and focusing solely on your little one. You need to let your child go bare-bottomed the whole time. Every 15 minutes, take your child to the pot and see if they need to go. If not, try again later. Offer lots of liquids to ensure they will need to use the pot frequently. Of course, accidents will take place and that’s okay. Simply clean up the mess and keep trying. Don’t offer any liquids or snacks after dinnertime. Wake your child up once during the night and guide them to the pot. Continue this for the whole three days. Offer up lots and lots of praise and some rewards along the way.
It’s important to remember that your child won’t be completely potty trained even after following this method. There will still be accidents, and it will still take time before your little one learns how to use the pot at the right time and practice proper hygiene.
What to know about Potty Training Girls VS Potty Training Boys?
While the process is similar, here are some tips you can keep in mind.
Potty training tips for girls:
Once your little girl has learned the basics with training pants, teach her how to adjust her skirt or dress while going to the bathroom, in case she is wearing one.
Always teach your girl to pat dry and to wipe from front to back, to prevent any infections.
Potty training tips for boys:
Even though your boy will have to eventually learn how to pee standing, start by teaching him to pee while sitting down. Once you see success, get dad involved and show your child how to pee standing up, how to aim correctly and how to wait until they are completely done. Of course, there will be messes, but it’s all part of the process.
What if your child begins resisting after you’ve started the process?
So maybe your child showed signs of readiness to begin potty training and then began resisting it once you started. It’s possible that something small might have deterred them. Don’t worry. Stop the process and go back to diapers. Try it again in a few weeks and see what happens.
We hope we’ve answered all your potty training questions! If we’ve left anything unanswered, simply leave us a comment or message us and we’ll do our best to help. Happy training, folks! Remember to be patient, and most importantly, have fun!