When it’s time
Tried-and-true potty training tips

By Cara Johnson-Bader

The parenting journey is full of questions, firsts, and sometimes frustrations. Using the potty-training tips below can assist you in avoiding some common frustrations.
As you read the potty-training tips, keep in mind some children are ready to potty train between the ages of 18 and 24 months; however, every child is different, and there is not one right way or one right time to start teaching your little one how to use the toilet.

Potty Training Tips
Here are some tips and things to keep in mind while beginning the potty-training process.
How will I know when my child is ready to start potty training?
• When your child stays dry for at least two hours at a time or after naps.
• If your little one starts copying a parent’s toilet behavior, this is a sign they may be ready to start using the toilet.
• When your child develops the skills that are necessary to start potty training, such as ability to walk, pull pants up and down, and getting on/off the toilet with some assistance.
• When your child is aware that they are going to the bathroom. For example, they might hide to go poop or pee.
• Another sign that your child may be ready to potty train is that they are uncomfortable in a dirty or wet diaper.

Even before your child may be ready to start potty training, you can help to prepare them for the process by doing the following:
• Introduce your child to the toilet.
• Determine what kind of toilet you will use to potty train. (A stand-alone toddler-size toilet or a toddler-size seat that can be placed on top of your toilet seat.)
• Make sure you have diapers, Pull-Ups, and underwear for the child, and that the child understands how each one works.
• Use words that express the act of using the toilet such as “pee,” “poop,” and “potty.”

Once you have determined that your child is ready to start potty training, here are some tips to help the process go smoothly:
• Show your child how you sit on the toilet – your child learns by watching you!
• Establish a routine of when to use the potty. For example, have your child sit on the toilet after waking up from a nap with a dry diaper or about 30 minutes to an hour after mealtime or drinking lots of fluids, etc.
• Make sure your child’s wardrobe is adaptable to potty training. Simple clothes are a must at this stage so the child can undress themselves.
• Try to catch your child in the act of going to the bathroom. Many children give clear signs that they need to use the toilet; for example, their face may turn red or they may grunt.
• Make sure that all caregivers follow the same routine and use the same words for your child while toilet training.
• One thing to avoid while potty training is making the child sit on the toilet against their will. It may take time, but eventually your child will get comfortable with sitting on the toilet.

Read child-appropriate books about potty training. Here are a few of our favorites:
• Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frabkel
• A Potty for Me! by Karent Katz
• Potty Time with Elmo

Above all, make sure to praise your little one at all attempts to use the toilet, even if nothing happens. Remember, accidents will happen, and it is important not to rush the potty-training process. If you are having a hard time determining whether to start the potty-training process, let your child be the guide, and don’t let others pressure you into it.

Cara Johnson-Bader is the Vice President of Marketing and Parent Experiences at New Horizon Academy and mother of two young boys. Learn more about New Horizon Academy at newhorizonacademy.net.

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