Facing potty training for the first time may feel like climbing Mt. Everest: You have no idea what it’s like until you’ve done it. Fortunately, potty training is much easier than mountain climbing. But when you’re done, you may feel the same mammoth-size sense of accomplishment!
As you start preparing, know that there’s no one potty training plan you need to follow. But there are some great tips to put together the best potty training plan for your child.
Individualize Your Potty Training Plan
Dr. Ari Brown, author and pediatrician for the Texas Children’s Capital Pediatric Group, believes that having a plan is half the battle.
“It’s important to have a potty training plan so you aren’t continually spinning your wheels in the attempt to lose the diapers,” Dr. Brown says. “You will only get frustrated, and your child will start to feel a sense of failure.”
As you’re getting started, use these tips for creating a Pull-Ups® potty training plan that will work for your child:
- Think about your parenting style. Are you a schedule-driven person? Or are you more into child-led learning? This will help you decide what you are looking for in a potty training method.
- Consider your child’s personality. Every child is unique, so their potty training journey and their needs throughout it will be too. Try taking this Potty Personality Quiz to get access to tailored tips and advice depending on their personality.
- Do some research. Check out online medical resources, parenting blogs and even your own social circles for ideas and read about the merits of different methods. Your pediatrician and other parents can also be a great resource.
- Start a journal or take notes. Jot down what you’re learning and liking from your research, the main points of the potty training plan you’ve chosen and the supplies you’ll need. Maintaining this journal while potty training can also help you keep track of your child’s progress and any obstacles that come along the way.
- Pick up the supplies you’ll need. A great starting point would include Pull-Ups® training pants and a child-size potty seat. Grab something fun too, like stickers or other rewards for your child.
- Choose a weekend to start. You and your child are both hoping for easy potty training, so don’t add complexity by choosing a time with a lot going on. Check for any strong reasons to hold off on potty training, and if you’re in the clear, pick a weekend when you’ll be home a lot so that you can start your potty training plan in a familiar place with little interruption.
- Create a schedule. Defining a realistic routine and sticking to it will help you and your child stay accountable during this adventure. Take your child to the bathroom after they wake up from nighttime or naps. Allow them to sit on the toilet for a few minutes without a diaper to give them the opportunity to go. Throughout the day, continue taking them to the bathroom every two hours or when they start showing signs that they need to go. Celebrate the successes and remember that accidents may happen. If they do, take a step back and remind your child of where to go potty, then continue as normal.
- Sprinkle in some fun potty training activities. Try starting with some ideas from the Pull-Ups® ways to make potty training fun, such as:
Every kid learns differently, and there is no exception when it comes to potty training. Before beginning, make sure that your plan fits the needs of you and your child. What worked from your neighbor’s son a few months ago may not work for your child. Individualize your potty training plan based on your unique situation to be all the more successful during this exciting time.
Getting Ready to Potty Train
“I’m not a believer in the philosophy that you must get your child to be potty trained by a certain date and time,” Dr. Schneider says. “Too much pressure! Having a good approach, however, can make a big difference — especially if you begin to introduce your children to the idea of learning to use the potty in many different ways.”
Schneider believes a good plan should always begin with gauging a child’s interest. If the child isn’t interested, all the planning in the world won’t matter.
“I think a good approach begins with introducing them to the idea, talking about it when you change their diapers, inviting them to see you use the toilet, buying books and videos about potties, buying a potty chair and making it easily accessible to them,” Schneider says. “If they’re ready, they will try. If they are not, they won’t. Forcing them could make them refuse and fight you on it, causing you both enormous amounts of frustration. Take your lead from them and it will be a much more pleasant experience.”
Getting the Right Potty Training Supplies
“Parents should be prepared with a lot of reading material,” Dr. Schneider says. “Kids do not finish with the potty very quickly, and you could find yourself spending a lot of time sitting next to them while they are on the potty or toilet. I actually found this to be one of the benefits of the toilet learning process — my relationship with my kids got stronger because of the time we would spend together, one-on-one, while they were on the potty or toilet.”
Once you have everything you need, it’s time to put your potty training plan into action. Refer to your journal whenever you feel like you’re getting off course. It’s the equivalent of checking a trail map on occasion as you hike up the side of that mountain — and just think of the sense of accomplishment you and your child will experience when you get to the top!