When your toddler reaches a certain age, you just know it is time to start weaning your child off of diapers. Yet at the same time, even though you know this, you will be wondering how to potty train your toddler. In fact, the idea of going through this transition scares you probably more than it would scare your little one. But before you become all panicky, if you utilize the tips below on how to potty train your toddler, the process will not be nearly as bad as you fear.
Your Child’s Age and Development Are Important
In the majority of cases, when your child is between the ages of 18-months to 4 years old, that is the ideal time to begin the toilet training process. If you attempt to potty train a child under 18-months old, it will be a wasted one because the baby has very little control over his or her bowel movements and bladder.
If your child is developmentally delayed in any way such as being caused by autism, you may have to wait to start the process. Many children that are on the autism spectrum, even on the higher functioning end will not be likely to understand the concept of going to the bathroom until closer to the age of 4. Be sure to consult your pediatrician for proper advice in this type of situation.
Another situation when potty training must be delayed is when there is a big change happening. Examples of those are the upcoming arrival of a new baby, moving to a new home, or moving the toddler from a crib to a bed. Too many changes happening at once will only overwhelm your child, and you as well!
Be on the Lookout for Signs that Your Toddler is Ready
If you are worried about how to potty train your child, then perhaps if you are able to look for certain signs that can be an indication that your little one is ready will be helpful. Here is what to look for:
- Your toddler can stay dry for 2 to 3 hours. If you are not having to change your child’s diaper as often as you used to, then that is most definitely a sign that he or she is ready to start learning how to use the toilet!
- Bowel movement predictability. Are you able to predict the time of day when your toddler will be doing #2? If so, then you can start training.
- Your child is noticeably uncomfortable to be sitting in dirty diapers. Does your child display unpleasant facial expressions while sitting in a soiled diaper? That is a good thing because this is a clear indicator that he or she is ready to be potty trained.
- Your toddler is able to follow instructions. If your child can follow simple instructions, then you can most definitely start the process.
Be Sure to Have the Potty Training Toys and Apparatus Around
When you are ready to toilet train your little one, you need to start shopping for toilet training apparatus. You will also want to bring your toddler along so he or she has a say in what he or she wants to use as well while learning how to use the bathroom. Here are the following items to have for when you begin the process:
- At least 2 or 3 potty chairs. This is important because you will be training your toddler in different bathrooms in your home, and make sure they are identical or have the same appearance. A slight difference in the appearance can throw the child off and that is the last thing you want to see happen.
- Buy a doll or stuffed animal specifically for potty training. That is because you will be training the doll or stuffed animal as well. If possible, try to choose a toy that is the same sex as your child. If your child can relate to this toy, then it will be helpful to create a successful outcome.
- Buy plenty of underwear or training pants. You will need plenty of those because accidents are guaranteed to happen.
- Buy rewards for your child. When your child does his or her business in the potty, that is a huge accomplishment. Your toddler must be rewarded with either a candy after being so successful. Also praise your child a lot, because he or she did something amazing.
Keep Encouraging the Child to Use the Potty
Always encourage your child to sit on the potty chair, as well as going through the steps of putting the pants and underpants down before sitting on the potty. Your toddler must be encouraged to wipe, flush and then to wash his or her hands with soap and water.
Even if the child does not show any signs of having to use the bathroom, keep getting him or her on the potty. It is important to create a routine out of this because your child will learn this is what needs to be done to use the bathroom. In fact, you may even want to set aside a day which will be designated to potty training your child.
Give Your Child Plenty of Fluid
In order to prevent constipation, and to help with frequent urination, it is crucial to increase your toddler’s fluid intake while he or she is being potty trained. That will also help your child become successful quicker, and it will be less frustrating for the child and for you!
You Must Be Extremely Patient
It can take a very long time to potty train your toddler, and you will also need to expect setbacks to occur. This will be incredibly frustrating but it is critical to remain calm no matter what. If you lose your patience in front of your child, this will only backfire. Your toddler will become afraid to use the toilet which will complicate the process even more. If your child is struggling with the process, then it is a good idea to consult with your child’s pediatrician, as well as joining some support groups on Facebook.
With these tips, you will have a much better idea of how to potty train your toddler. This is a huge transition. Make sure that you are well prepared and be aware of what to expect during the process. Best of luck to you and to your little one! This is a huge milestone.