Navigating Potty Training
“Having a child is like getting a tattoo … on your face. You better be committed.”
Navigating potty training can be a challenge, even for the most seasoned parent. My daughter and my son took to potty time at different ages but it wasn’t smooth sailing thereafter. They still had plenty of messy as well as runny accidents and sometimes bedwetting too but I never judged or made them feel bad because heck, no one is perfect (I wish we remembered that as adults too).
For potty training tips, talk to your pediatrician. He or she can help you determine if your child is ready and give you advice on how best to prepare for this big step. In the meantime, here are some helpful steps that may get your little one closer to being diaper-free.
-Timing is everything.
Most children are able to stay dry for at least two hours during the day by age 3, and most toddlers are able to stay dry all night long by age 3. However, this isn’t a competition, so do not panic if it takes longer just hang tight and keep trying.
-Prepare your bathroom.
Have your child use his or her potty seat on the regular toilet seat, not a stool. Pick low-profile plastic pants with easy snaps and make sure to have extra clothes ready for accidents. If you are unclear about what to do next, ask parents of older children for help.
-Pick a potty-training strategy that works for your child.
Some children can learn to use the potty by following a sticker chart or be given a reward for going in the potty at the end of every day. If you have a child who isn’t interested in stickers then try getting a high five instead!
-Keep your cool.
As difficult as it may be for you and your child, try not to get frustrated when accidents happen. Keep in mind that this process is all about patience and finding whatever works for your child. If you get upset, the process will only be more difficult than it needs to be.
-Take your cues from your child.
If he or she seems uncomfortable, angry, or overly tired, it may be a sign that it’s time to use the toilet. If you feel that you have been patient enough and given your child enough time, but he still has accidents, wait another day before trying again.
-Keep your child adequately hydrated.
Drinking fluids is essential for proper bladder function and can help reduce the frequency of accidents. Offer water often throughout the day.
-Give your child opportunities to use the toilet regularly.
Schedule about three or four trips to the bathroom per hour, then gradually increase this time as your child becomes more adept at completing the task.
-Be patient with yourself.
Don’t be discouraged if accidents occur; it is normal for children to regress now and then. Just keep reminding yourself that accidents are a normal part of the potty-training process.
-Don’t forget to enlist support from family members, friends, and other caregivers.
If your child is in daycare or preschool, encourage teachers to give regular opportunities for toilet use. If your child is seeing a physical therapist, make sure they know going potty is a priority.
-Be prepared for wet and dirty moments.
Stock up on extra clothes, towels, and bedsheets to help your child feel comfortable if accidents occur.
-Reward good behavior…and ignore bad behavior.
Give praise for successes and leave no mention of accidents or misses at all so your child doesn’t get discouraged. For every success, offer words of encouragement and enthusiasm — even if it’s just a dry pull-up!
Again, potty training is a process so don’t get discouraged when accidents in the bathroom happen(or anywhere else). Also look at it this way: accidents are actually good because they mean you child’s body is getting rid of waste and keeping the bladder/bowel muscles toned. That said, if your child continues to have lots of accidents and starts to show signs of urinary tract infection, please take her/him to see a doctor asap.
Lastly, remember that potty training is a big milestone in your child’s life and they’ll let you know when it’s time to shift gears. So, relax, enjoy the process and remind yourself how lucky you are for having a funny little toddler in your life.