8 steps to potty training your child

The transition from diapers to toilet is a milestone in a child’s development that parents eagerly await. But accomplishing potty training requires lots of patience. It can take weeks or even several months, depending on the child’s age and level of resistance. The key is to do the training when your child is ready. Otherwise you’ll have a battle on your hands and nobody will be happy.

8 steps to potty training your child

1. When should potty training start?

  • Most kids are ready to begin between 22 and 30 months of age, but every child is different.
  • Before learning to use the toilet, kids need be able to control their bowel and bladder muscles. Signs of this may including having bowel movements around the same time each day, not having them at night and having a dry diaper after a nap or for at least two hours at a time.
  • Children must also be able to climb, talk, remove clothing and have mastered other basic motor skills before they can use the toilet by themselves.

2. Other signs of readiness include:

  • Your child seems interested in the potty chair or toilet, or wearing underwear.
  • She can tell you through words or expressions that she needs to go.
  • She can understand and follow basic directions.
  • She can pull her pants up and down.
  • She can sit on and rise from the potty chair.
  • She is emotionally ready for potty training and wants to be a “big girl.”

3. Buy the right equipment

  • You should buy a child-size potty chair or a special adapter seat that attaches to your regular toilet. This adapter can help to ease the fear some kids have about falling into the toilet.
  • If you're buying a potty chair for a boy, look for one without a urine guard or one that's removable. The guards may bump into a boy's penis as he sits on the potty, discouraging him from training.
  • As training gets underway, you should buy some cloth or disposable training pants for your child, which pull on and off like underwear. These allow her to dress and undress herself for the potty or toilet.

4. the fun begins

  • To get your child used to the potty, schedule regular breaks during the day to sit on it.
  • Give praise, even if the session isn’t productive and stay with your child as they sit.
  • You might consider dumping the contents of a dirty diaper into the potty chair to show its function, or let your child see family members using the toilet.

5. Watch for the signs

  • If your child starts squirming, squatting or holding the genital area away from the bathroom, these are signs she has to go.
  • Respond quickly and get her to the potty.
  • Praise your child for telling you when she has to go.
  • Also, praise any successful toilet use.
  • Let them have the thrill of flushing the toliet themselves and make sure they wash their hands afterwards.

6. Leave standing until later

  • For boys, it’s easier to learn to urinate on a toilet sitting down.
  • Leave the acrobatics of peeing standing up until after they’ve learned to do bowel movements on the pot.

7. Use incentives

  • Don’t hesitate to use rewards for successful use of the potty.
  • Stickers on a chart, extra bedtime stories and more of their favourite foods are a few good ideas.
  • Think of doing something big, like buying a new toy, for reaching a milestone, such as making the transition from diapers to pull-ups, or for a job well done.

8. When is a child toilet trained?

  • A child is considered toilet trained when he or she knows it’s time to go to the bathroom and is able to climb onto and use the toilet with little help.
  • The average time it takes is three months, with girls usually learning faster than boys.
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