Potty Training 101
Potty Training Approach
A gentle and supportive approach to potty training will work well for both you and your little one. It’s about recognizing the needs of your toddler and being supportive of his or her feelings. Trust and encouragement are the best tools you have during this transition period. Rather than trying to rush the process, allow your child plenty of chances to practice these new skills. Praise is equally appropriate for both attempts and successes, as each occasion brings potty independence one step closer.
Potty Training Gear
There are plenty of potty training accessories available to help support you and your toddler during the potty learning phase. You will find that a portable potty will be a convenient option because it can easily be transported from room to room, and you can take it when you travel. It provides consistency, which can help to eliminate the fear of falling into the toilet that some children have. Toilets also come in a 3-in-1 design that offers a portable potty, a stool to use for reaching the sink, and a potty seat to place on top of your toilet seat.
Talking about going potty is a good precursor to actually attempting to go potty. Use plain and simple terms. Also, letting your child see other family members using the toilet can make them want to follow suit. Next, place a potty chair in the bathroom and encourage your child to sit on it — with or without a diaper. Some chairs have a removable top that can be placed directly on the toilet when your child is ready. Determining the proper chair height is easy: your child’s feet should rest firmly on the floor or a stool.
If your child is interested, have him or her sit on the potty chair or toilet without a diaper for a few minutes several times a day. It’s important that you stay with your child throughout the scheduled visit. Even if nothing happens you can still offer praise for trying.
When you notice your child squatting, squirming or holding the genital area you need to move fast. After you reach the bathroom, make sure to remind your child of the signals that just occurred and offer praise for advance notice. The sound of flushing can be a bit scary to young ears: let your child do the honours, and teach hand washing immediately afterwards.
After a few weeks of successful potty breaks you may want to try swapping diapers for training pants or regular underwear. This is cause for much celebration, and should be recognized as an achievement. If it lasts... great, but avoid belts or leotards for a while — they will hinder quick undressing in the event of a relapse. If it doesn’t, then simply treat it as another big step toward success.
Night Potty Training
Night potty training can take a little bit longer for your toddler to learn. This is because when your child is sleeping it isn’t always easy for him or her to recognize the need to go. It is okay for you to put diapers or training pants on your child at night until he or she is more confident. You may also wish to use disposable bed mats to make cleaning up accidents as simple as possible.
Potty Training Boys
For boys, it's usually easier for them to master urination sitting down, and then try standing up after bowel training is complete. It is common for potty training boys to take a little extra time than girls. You will want to offer your son plenty of encouragement but let him advance at his own pace. Some boys are ready to start at 18 months whereas others may not be ready to potty train until 4 years of age.
Potty Training Girls
When potty training should start will depend on when your little girl expresses a desire to learn. This can mean wanting to copy the behaviour of older family members, or simply recognizing the physical need to go. Most often, the potty training phase for girls begins between 2 and 3 years of age. Take care to teach your daughter to wipe carefully from front to back to prevent bringing germs from the rectum to the vagina or bladder.
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