Effective Strategies to Prepare Your Child for Toilet Training

toilet trainingToilet training is an exciting milestone in your child’s development. You finally feel that it’s time to take the next step to eliminate their reliance on diapers. However, an eagerness to complete this giant accomplishment and a lack of understanding about the process can cause significant frustration for you and your child.  You may have read and listened to many experts on the subject of toilet training to prepare yourself for the experience, but the preparation is incomplete if you don’t help your child get ready as well. Your child will be a partner in this venture, and it is imperative that he or she is also adequately prepared. Using effective strategies to equip your child will help you go through this milestone with fewer frustrations.

When is the Right Time?

Each child is unique, and there is no perfect age to start toilet training. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting toilet training at 18 months, but there is no need to be concerned about starting toilet training at a specific age. Like other important milestones, children complete toilet training in their own time and at their own pace. Starting toilet training when your child is ready is one of the most important strategies to ensure success. You need to pay attention to the readiness cues that your child provides to determine if the time is right to start toilet training.

Effective Strategies to Prepare Your Child for Toilet Training

Parents with a narrow window of opportunity may want to complete toilet training in the shortest possible amount of time, but an intensive or crash course in toilet training may sound daunting. However, psychological research has shown that most children can actually complete toilet training in fewer than 12 hours. Intensive treatment is easier if your child enjoys the process, receives rewards for the right behavior, relaxes on the potty and has the physical ability to use the toilet.

The key to success with intensive toilet training is preparing your child. The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends preparing your child with education, a potty seat, big kids’ clothes, flushing the toilet, and positive reinforcement. Toilet training is a new activity for your child. According to the American Academy of Pediatricians, library books, personal demonstrations, and doing a potty dance to make using the toilet appealing are good strategies to educate your child and help them become acquainted with the unfamiliar activity.

Toilet training can also be intimidating because your child is not accustomed to the toilet bowl. You can make it appear less threatening by using a potty seat. A demonstration of how to use the toilet will help your child to know what to do when using the potty, and make toilet training a less stressful experience.

Are You Prepared for Accidents Whilst Toilet Training?

Accidents can happen anytime during the training process. The key is to not show frustration or anger when an accident happens. Let your child know it is okay to have an accident. According to Potty Training Concepts, you can prevent toileting accidents with a plan for strategic toileting after your child wakes up, before sleeping, and prior to leaving the house. There are several things that you can do to prevent the harmful effects of toileting accidents as well. Protect mattresses from becoming damaged by using covers and prepare for accidents outside of the home by taking an extra change of clothing on trips or outings. By reducing these potential stressors for yourself, you’ll ensure a calmer response for your child when an accident does occur.

While this is a wonderful milestone for you and your child, make sure that both you and your child are prepared for the experience. With education, demonstrations, and by investing in a potty seat, you can ensure that your child will have a pleasant and successful potty training experience. Anticipate occasional accidents, and keep your cool. Remember that your doctor is a great resource for addressing any of your concerns about toilet training, and consider raising the topic at your 18 month well-child visit.

Additional Potty Training Resources:

Potty Training Prep

Start Elimination Communication When Potty Training 

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