Potty training can be stressful and messy. It’s likely to take a while before it becomes a normal part of everyday life for you and your child, and there are definitely going to be accidents and mishaps along the way! With preparation and planning, the process can be a lot smoother though. Here are 5 steps to help get them out of the nappy and onto the potty:
1Determining whether or not your child is ready
You don’t want to rush them into something they’re not ready for and each child is ready at a different stage. The Baby Center says that some of the telltale signs of being ready include having dry nappies for longer periods of time, telling you they need to go to the toilet or that they went in their nappy, trying to remove a soiled nappy, completing tasks independently and being able to follow simple instructions. These signs demonstrate control over their bladder, awareness of their needs, and the ability to process information. Curiosity about the toilet doesn’t hurt either. Maybe they’ll want to see what all the fuss is about!
Your child needs to feel comfortable and motivated, so deciding between a potty or a toilet seat insert, or both, really depends on the child. Parenting.com goes through both of these options. Whichever you choose, it helps if the child has a special attachment to it, such as it being their favorite color, or displaying their favorite character. The same goes for underwear; let your child choose underwear that they’re excited about wearing. Pull-up pants can help with this transition from nappy to underwear, and waterproof bed sheets will help with nighttime accidents.
3Set aside time
The University of Michigan’s Health System encourages parents to pick a day to start and stick to it. Ideally, try to choose a time that’s free of other commitments, where you can be at home for a few days. It’s a much better idea to let them master the task at home before taking them out without a nappy on. Make sure that their clothes are easy to get on and off, and in fact, sometimes it helps to just let them run around naked at the very beginning. That way, they’re ready to use the toilet straight away and they also might feel less like they have something to go to the toilet in.
4Diet and drinking
Eating foods that are rich in fibre prevents constipation, and having frequent, soft stools will really help with potty training. Parent Dish recommends reducing dairy intake and increase intake of foods such as apples, grapes, corn, beans, and other high fibre foods. In addition to diet, make sure your child is drinking plenty of water. That way, they will need to go to the toilet more frequently, and drinking water also helps to prevent constipation. It’s always good to avoid too much water right before bed though, to prevent bedwetting.
5Reward charts and encouragement
Always be encouraging and offer praise when they get it right, rather than getting cross about accidents or mistakes. It can be frustrating, but it will only put them off potty training in the end, and won’t help them learn any faster. Funky Fairy Parties states that the key is not to push them. As with everything, if you stay calm, they will stay calm. A reward chart can be a very effective way to keep track of their progress, and offering “potty prizes” might also be a good idea. What kid doesn’t like a challenge that ends with a reward? Having positive associations is always a plus.
Above all, try to relax and let nature take its course. Remember, all kids eventually do catch on and it becomes a very regular part of life. Don’t worry; you won’t still be trying to get them to use the potty at their graduation! It will happen.
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