The science and art of potty training

Are you changing fewer diapers lately? 

Is your child awaking dry from a nap?

Do you find your child hiding when they need to pee/poop? 

If yes, then your child has reached the potty training age. Depending on the child’s development pace, the average age ranges from 18 months to three years.

Following are some signs that tell if the kid has reached the right age to start potty training.

  • The child is becoming self-aware. Your kid may start cry, fuss or show obvious signs of discomfort to a  dirty diaper or start hiding when they need to go.
  • Diapers stay clean for a longer time than usual.
  • Waking up to more dry beds. No wet sheets after naps.
  • The child starts recognising bathrooms and their need to go. Plus, becomes vocal about it. May tell you when/if they want to use the washroom.
  • The toddler starts undressing or pulling down their pants.

If this checklist matches your kid’s behaviour, it is time to know THE ART potty training your toddler:

#1 Gradually introduce them to the toilet– 

Introduce childrens books that will talk about going to the toilet. When you are going to the toilet, say it loudly so they understand and learn to model you. This is also the stage where you gradually wean off the diaper.

#2 Words matter- You need to choose the potty lingo for your child. Using words like, “poo-poo”, “number 2” etc are preferred. Avoid using words like, “stinky”, “dirty”. Your child should feel comfortable telling you about their excretory needs in public. 

#3 Talk about hygiene– This is the time when your child starts understanding the concept of hygiene. They start liking clean clothes and sheets. You must explain to them what and how of hygiene. Tell them what hygiene means and how they can maintain it. Start by insisting on washing hands after using the restroom. Avoid talking negatively about dirt and soiling clothes as this can have an impact on how they perceive themselves. 

#4 Start with simple equipment- Buy a potty chair. The traditional seats may become intimidating for the young one, therefore start by buying them their own customized seat. Flushable wipes are mandatory. These wipes are easily available and should be used instead of toilet paper. During potty training, the child must feel at ease and should know the function of a wipe. 

#5 No overalls– Potty training will be easier for you and your child if the matter of dressing and undressing is also simple. Ditch the cute overalls for this time period and make your child wear easy on-and-off pants. Always be prepared with an extra pair of clothes in case they soil them.

#6 Make a schedule for potty breaks- Condition your child to sit on the seat after every 1-2 hours for a few minutes. Notice their elimination pattern. Is it directly after meals? Or around a fixed time every day? After this, the next step is to ask your child to sit on the chair around the expected time. This will train them to use the chair when they feel the need to go.

#7 Action and reaction– if you see your child acting as of they need to “go”, react instantly. During this time your child may start squatting, hiding, making faces when they need to use the restroom. You need to be quick in responding. This is the time when you let them understand the correct place to excrete. 

#8 Night time– do not go hard on your toddler for nighttime potty training. Dry nights are usually achieved between the ages of 5-7. Therefore, focus on daytime training. 

#9 Positive reinforcement Praise them regardless if they did or did not use it. Remember it should be a fun activity and not something that your child “has to do”. Else the process will become tedious for your child and the outcome will be delayed. For this reason, give them something to play with or keep them engaged while they sit on the seat. It is important to make the whole process a positive experience so they don’t resist it and learn quicker. 

#10 Patience is key– Potty training takes time! Accidents will happen. You need to stay calm as a parent and extend this calmness to your child as well. Not making them feel anxious during such a situation will speed up the process. Gently remind them of the right protocol and make sure they understand what went wrong. 

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