Potty training is pretty exciting in the beginning. Kids love to shop for their first Pull-Ups® training pants. They thrive on the attention they get at the beginning of the potty training process.
And hearing all that encouragement can really build their confidence. But what can parents do when the thrill is gone, and their kid doesn’t want to interrupt a fun activity to go to the potty?
Starting from Scratch?
Then, plan for a potty-related activity that will be ongoing until the child is reliably using the potty. Mom and potty training expert Vicki Lansky suggests a chart or calendar that rewards the child with stickers for successful trips to the potty.
For slightly older children, Dr. Michael F. Wasserman, a pediatrician with Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, LA, suggests making potty training fun by offering a little prize at the conclusion of each potty training session. He suggests a jar of coins, small gifts or snacks kept near the potty.
“Older children recognize that money is important, and it can be very motivating,” Dr. Wasserman says. “But I would caution any parent not to make it too large of a monetary reward or you can go broke.”
Jan Kreider of San Diego, CA, made this fun for her son, Aaron, by putting cereal pieces in the toilet bowl and having him aim for them. “This is an inevitably messy process, so I also had him help clean up after he was done when he missed,” Kreider says. “I think that motivated him even more to aim well so he didn’t have to get out his little bucket and sponge.”
For kids of all ages, be sure that hand washing techniques are emphasized throughout the process of toilet training. This is particularly important for little ones because they may not have the coordination to keep their hands from touching their bottoms when wiping. Consider a “fun” soap and their own little set of towels. Download our printable hand washing poster to hang in the bathroom, and if you have a Google Home or Amazon Alexa smart speaker, ask the Pull-Ups® Voice Assistant to play the Handwash Song while they scrub!
Ready or Not?
The signs of potty training readiness can be rather subtle. That’s why the parent of the backsliding potty trainer needs to first reexamine the situation and be sure that the child isn’t being pushed or encouraged to potty train before they are ready. Our Potty Training Readiness Quiz can help you decide.
“People often make decisions about potty training based upon a child’s age, but, regardless of what grandma says or friends’ kids may have done, there is no magic age when potty training should begin,” says Dr. Wasserman. “A child who is not ready to train may get caught up in the excitement at first but will not be able to succeed over the long term.”
There are also some important reasons to hold off including the birth of a sibling or switching to a new daycare. If your child is experiencing any of them, it might not be the right time to work on a big new skill like using the toilet.
It also helps to know what kind of personality your potty trainer may have. If you take our brief assessment, we can help by providing you with personalized tips and advice based on your child’s personality.
“Potty training is a process that will take weeks, and you have to think of staying with it over the long term,” Dr. Wasserman says. “Thinking this will be accomplished in a matter of days can lead to too much unrealistic pressure on everyone.”
Keep Up the Fun
Fun Ideas for Potty Training a Boy
- In the tub, have him pee into a cup.
- Allow him to go outside when there’s no one around. Have him aim for a leaf or rock.
- Let him “write” in the snow.