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Potty Genius Blog

The ABCs of Potty Training

The ABCs of Potty Training

by Angie Long

Angie is an experienced freelance writer and mother of two. She has extensive experience working in professional training, including the development and evaluation of training and exam material. She has a background in elementary education. Angie has a 4-year-old who still struggles with potty training, yet her 8-year-old nailed it by two years of age.

There are certain milestones in your toddler’s life that seem to happen on their own, such as crawling, taking their first steps, or getting their first tooth. However, there are some milestones that only you can dictate, and one of them is potty training. Thankfully, a little background information is all you need. Before you tackle this task haphazardly, take a few moments to read up on the ABCs of potty training, from A to I.

A. Ask Yourself, “Are You Ready?”

Don’t jump into potty training before you and your child are ready. There are certain indicators of readiness for children including the following:
  • Recognizing when they have a full bladder
  • Taking interest in the toilet
  • Being able to walk
  • Being able to pull their pants down
You have to ask yourself if you’re ready, too. Many parents take three solid days to commit to nothing but potty training. Make sure that your child’s caregivers are just as committed. Don’t worry; many are just as excited as you are to say goodbye to diapers!

B. Buy a Potty Chair and Underwear

You’ll either need to buy a potty chair or an adapter seat to attach to your regular toilet seat. You have an opportunity to make yourself really popular here if you let your child choose the seat on his or her own. Let your child pick out some “big kid” underwear, too. There are tons of character underwear choices out there to make your child feel safe and make potty training more fun.

C. Create a Routine

For the first three days or so of potty training, you’re going to have to create a routine. Remember to set your child on the potty first thing in the morning, after meals, and before and after naps, at an absolute minimum. Have some potty training books available to read for a bit of extra motivation and entertainment.

D. Demonstrate How It’s Done

Children learn by imitation. If you don’t feel comfortable letting your child watch you use the bathroom, use books with pictures. Explain how to recognize when it is time to go, as well as how to wipe, flush, pull up underwear and wash hands afterward. This is a lot easier with older siblings, so don’t be afraid to let them help out too.

E. Explain the Process

Explain why and how potty training works. Show your child that the poop and pee actually belongs in the toilet when you’re a big kid, not in the diaper. It may help to empty the diaper into the toilet or potty chair so a visual connection is made. Again, books can help explain the process as well.

F. Foster the Habit of Using the Potty

Let your child know that it does not bothering you when he or she yells, “I have to go potty!” within only minutes to spare while you’re busy making dinner. Just take a deep breath, remember that it is temporary, and help foster the potty habit.

G. Give Positive Reinforcement

When your child makes his or her first potty training breakthrough, make a big deal of it (unless it embarrasses him or her). This is a great time to use positive reinforcement to your advantage. Sticker charts, candy, toys, trips to the park…you name it. You know what is best for your child. Motivate accordingly.

H. Handle Nighttime with Caution

Don’t get discouraged if your child can’t stay dry overnight. It takes longer for some children not only to recognize the feeling of “having to go,” but also to wake themselves up from sleep. Keep some nighttime diapers or be prepared to change the sheets in the middle of the night. Remember that it isn’t the child’s fault. He or she doesn’t want to disappoint you or wake up wet.

I. Indulge in a Reward for Yourself!

For those moments when the constant cleanup and laundry becomes a bit overwhelming, have a reward for yourself at the top of your mind. It can be something as simple as a quiet bubble bath when everyone is sleeping.

Additional Potty Training Resources:

The ABCs of Potty Training Key Points of Toilet Training

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