There are many factors to consider when your child is approaching potty training age, but one theme is evident throughout: The right path to follow is that which is right for your child. This path might be different than the path of a sibling, friend, or neighbor. This path might change slightly throughout the journey. But this path will ultimately lead to successful potty training.
Of course, having a potty-trained toddler is a day every parent longs for, but you can’t rush the process. Watch for the signs in the following list; the first five are absolutely essential:
- Stays dry at least two hours
- Gets bummed by wet or messy diapers
- Likes to please
- Imitates and follows simple instructions
- Walks and runs
- Asks you for diaper changes
- Tries to dress herself
- Likes things in proper places
- Knows potty lingo: wet, dry, pee, poop, BM, messy, dirty, clean, bottom
- Paces or retreats to a favorite place in the room when they need to go to the bathroom
- Seems uncomfortable and bothered when dirty
When you and you’re child are ready, it’s time to go shopping. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you involve your child in the potty selection process. Child-size potties are great for independence. However, do consider where you will place it, how often you will need to clean it and if it makes noise, how often you will hear it. When researching a child-sized adapter seat for your potty, consider one that bolts onto the existing seat and can be lifted for convenience and cleanliness factors. Also don’t forget a stool so little ones can safely climb up on it. Adapter seats do tend to ease the toilet transition later in the process.
There are a few additional tools worth considering as you set out on this journey. Find a good DVD to explain the concept and reinforce the behavior of using the potty. Check your local library for titles first. Turn a favorite doll or stuffed friend into a potty training practice tool. Lastly, keep a kit of wipes, training pants or underwear, and quick clean-up supplies for accidents.
Poll friends and read books and magazines for effective strategies. Remember, it’s been done before.