Potty training! Just the phrase can cause parents to worry. The task may feel overwhelming. Thoughts of accidents are stressful. What we need is a plan. Where should we start? At the beginning!
The age chosen to start potty training can vary greatly. I chose 18-24 months to train my 4 kids. The most common age seems to be 24-30 months. Other families choose to wait until age 3. So how do you choose the right age for your child?
Clues to readiness:
A. Staying dry 1-2 hours at a time during the day
B. Ability to follow a 2- or 3-step instruction, ie “Put the green ball in the box by the stairs.”
Need help? Check out my favorite readiness quiz.
What do you need to begin the process? Being prepared really helps.
A. 12 pairs of cloth trainers (paper pull-ups delay training)
B. 2-3 cloth diaper covers (for in the car)
C. Potty training DVD (to watch over and over)
D. A basket of small prizes for success (stickers, toys, candy)
E. Potty training book for the child
F. Potty chair or potty ring
There are many systems out there. My system is parent led. I call it “Potty Party.”
The two weeks before you begin potty training, sit your child on the potty a few times every day (with no expectation). Offer a small reward every time they sit on the potty (a chocolate chip works well). The goal is just to get them comfortable sitting with no battle. Make it fun. Sing a song or read a book.
Schedule “potty party” on a week when you can stay home most of the time and give your child undivided attention. Make it fun and festive.
- Watch the video with your child several times.
- Read the potty book with your child.
- Fill their sippy with a favorite juice; offer it every half-hour.
- Take your child potty every 30-45 minutes.
- Reward every success.
- For every accident take your child potty and remind them where our potty goes.
- Remember that accidents are a training opportunity, a learning moment.
For help, you can check out my step-by-step system.
The key is to start and continue until finished. Starting and stopping only confuses the child. I found using a timer helps reduce the battle. When the timer sounds announce “potty time” and scoop them up and take them to the potty. Laugh, sing and read a book.
Potty training comes in stages:
Stage 1 – Learning to sit on the potty
Stage 2 – Turning on the pee while sitting
Stage 3 – Going potty when asked
Stage 4 – Staying dry for 60 minutes or more
Stage 5 – Staying dry for 90 minutes or more
Stage 6 – Asking to go potty before an accident
Remember that your child telling you they need to go potty is the very last step. Your guiding them to go when needed comes first. Most children are achieving 50% success on the potty at the end of a week or two. Be patient and have fun!