The Nuts and Bolts of Toilet Training
5/28/2008 | by
So you’ve realized your child is ready to begin potty training. What now? Where do you begin? What sort of equipment do you need?
First Things First
The first thing you need to remember is that this is your child’s unique experience. Everyone wants to give advice and that can be confusing and sometimes frustrating. Just ask Kelly Pollard, a mother of two from Livermore, Calif.
“I'm in the thick of potty training [with] my first son right now [who] turns 3 at the end of next month,” says Pollard. “I have to say it isn't going well at all, and I am sick of people in my life giving me advice, which is really more like scolding because he is so close to being 3 and still in diapers. The whole process is very frustrating for me, yet he doesn't seem to care in the least!”
First, it’s important to take other people’s negative “advice” with a grain of salt. Once you do that, it’s time to get down to business. Start by gathering some helpful tools:
- A potty chair.
- Wet wipes for easy cleanups.
- Several pairs of training pants such as PULL-UPS® Training Pants.
- A basket of toys and books used just for potty time.
- A special hand towel just for your child to wipe his or her hands on after washing hands (special kid-friendly soap is a good idea, too!).
Getting Down to Business
“The most important thing is to avoid power struggles around toileting,” says psychologist Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore. “If your child is balking, just wait a few weeks and try again.”
Dr. Kennedy-Moore offers the following tips for toilet training:
- Start by talking about using the potty. Get books from the library. Comment when you see your child working on a poop. Admire underwear in the store. Tell your child, "Pretty soon you'll be ready to use the potty," but don't start actual training until your child seems very interested and stays dry a lot during the day.
- Make checking the potty part of the daily routine. Just have your child sit on the potty for a little while after lunch and/or before bed. Have some books or toys that your child only gets to use while sitting on the potty. If nothing happens, no big deal. If something happens be very excited for your child. When your child is comfortable with this routine and has had some successes, move on to the next step.
- Make the switch from diapers to PULL-UPS® Training Pants. This is a good time to make the switch because it allows children the opportunity to take the initiative to use the potty chair on their own if they so desire.
- Save the rewards for when motivation lags. After their initial enthusiasm wanes, many children seem to decide it would be easier just to wear diapers. This is the time to pull out the stickers. Dr. Kennedy-Moore used just an 8-1/2-by-11-inch piece of poster board and let the kids put star stickers wherever they want on the paper after using the toilet (one star for pee, two stars for poop).
Potty training shouldn’t be intimidating for parents or children. Be supportive and low key and remember all children develop differently. You and your child will get through this successfully!