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Potty Training Basics
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Potty training is an exciting and often challenging time in a parent/child relationship. It is important to wait for signals from your toddler that they are ready to begin using the potty, such as waking up dry from naps which indicates that their bladder is mature enough to hold larger amounts of urine for longer periods of time, your child’s ability to notice and comment when they are using their diaper, and their comprehension and mobility. If they can’t manoeuvre their underpants or get on and off the potty, you can guarantee that your training session will not be successful.

Once your child is ready to begin training and you have braced yourself for the ride, it is recommended by some experts that you wait another 3 months beyond that to start, so that their new understandings, mobility and communication skills have had time to become habitual. During this 3 month period, it is suggested that you allow your child to watch you and perhaps siblings using the toilet, especially if there is a same gender parent in the household. This models the behaviour that you want your little one to copy. It’s also very important to know that if your household is under some sort of stress such as a new baby, a recent move or some other stressful situation, it is not the right time to begin training. Wait a little while until things level out, and you will have much more success.

The next thing you will need to do is go potty shopping. You can also bring your toddler on the shopping trip with you, as that will cause them to be more invested in the potty because they helped to pick it out.

Several things to look for in a potty are:

1) Sturdiness – you certainly don’t want your little one to have any unfortunate accidents such as a potty collapse when they are trying to use it.

2) Deep bowl – the detachable collection pot should be nice and deep and easy to empty. It is recommended to start out with pullups, because they are convenient and useful and are also great for bedtime and naps.

Be observant though, as some little ones quickly figure out that the pull-up is as absorbent as a diaper and begin to use it as such. There is no major difference between training pants and regular underpants, except that the training pants are more absorbent. I always found that there were still puddles after an accident even with the training pants, so which style you move to after pullups is completely up to you. Just remember that some little ones will feel “humiliated” if they have lots of accidents in training or underpants, so it is recommended that you allow them to have many successes in the pullups before transitioning them in order to build and boost their confidence in themselves.

The next thing to be aware of is the need to keep the training a totally positive experience for the little one. Poorly handled potty training can cause long lasting emotional issues according to some psychologists. Bear in mind that accidents happen and are expected in the early stages. Some people also like to reward successes with star stickers or a little treat. Above all, remember that there will be good days and bad, successes and accidents. Potty training is a process that takes time. A tired, upset or hungry child will have more accidents than a happy little camper.

Potty training is an adventure for both parent and child; however it is totally in the control of the toddler. Just because you are ready doesn’t necessarily mean that your child is ready. If your little one becomes very upset or resistant, it is recommended that you back up, re-evaluate the little one’s readiness and perhaps try again in a few days or even weeks depending on the level of resistance you are meeting. Good luck!!!

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