This is a guest post by:
Shawna Poole has worked in Child Development for over 15 years and holds a degree in Early Childhood as well as a Site Supervisor Credential. As a teacher she has helped potty learn over 200 children. Shawna has a 14-year-old son and an almost 2-year-old daughter. She teaches parenting classes locally in Ventura and Ojai. Shawna aspired to be a lawyer until she laid her eyes on her first child, Joe. She wanted to be with him all the time and be able to be happy about it. She then changed her college focus from Law to Early Childhood Education! Joe has gone to some of the best preschools in the county with Shawna as a teacher and they have both loved every minute of it! You can contact Shawna at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about her Ventura County classes.
Potty learning is an extremely stressful time for parents and children alike. This information will, hopefully, help lessen the stress associated with the potty learning process and help you know when to start potty training. One thing to remember….Its NOT a race! Every adult you know can pee and poop in the potty and each child needs to get there in their own time, without pressure. Sure, what parent wouldn’t want to be done with diapers! But we have to be careful not to start before our children are ready. So….Let’s get started!
Common Signs of Readiness
*There is no set age to determine when a child is ready to potty learn. For some it is 18 months and others it is 3. Really knowing your child and their developmental level is important. On AVERAGE, girls potty learn around 2 ¼- 2 ½ and boys are closer to their third birthday.
1. Interest in the potty. It’s never too early to introduce your child to a toilet chair or seat (whatever you choose). Let them see it, become familiar with it and basically have it in their environment. When you go to the bathroom ask them if they would like to go. Even if they sit on their potty in their clothes, it’s a step in the right direction.
2. Interest in the bathroom. If your child wants to go to the bathroom with you, let them. They may be becoming curious about the process and procedures of what you do in the bathroom. If they have an older sibling and the child is ok with it, let them watch them too. There is no better example than an older brother or sister.
3. Dry diapers. Having a dry diaper for several hours is a sign that they can hold their urine. Most children need to have a diaper change about every 3-4 hours and they should be wet. If you are noticing dry diapers after longer periods throughout the day, be happy, you’re on your way!
4. Dressing on their own. A child interested in dressing themselves with the ability to pull pants/shorts/underwear up and down is key for potty learning. Many children do not want help getting dressed.
5. Hiding. If your child goes and hides BEFORE they have to poop or pee (more common with poop as some children will want privacy). This is a sign that they can recognize the signs in their bowels that something is coming!
6. Telling you they have to go! This one doesn’t happen very often, but some of you will be the lucky parent to one of these kids. They will just wake up one day and start using the potty! I have always wished for one, but my score is 0-2.
If your child is showing signs of readiness its time to begin! Here’s how to start potty training….
When you make this transition you really want to try not to flip flop between diapers and underpants. It is very confusing to have a lack of consistency during this process. So, you must choose. If your child is having a very hard time after 2 weeks of potty learning, just stop and try again in a few weeks (not days).
The most important factor in toilet training is YOU! You have to be ready to invest the time, patience and consistency (as well as several loads of laundry) to this process. It is very important not to get frustrated by the process either. It’s a very important stage for your child and you want them to feel proud of themselves and know you are proud of them as well.
As a reminder for both you and your child, set an egg timer to use the potty every half hour. Instead of asking your child, “Do you want to use the potty?”, which gives them the opportunity to say no, tell them “The timer went off, that means it is time to sit on the potty now.”
When your child naps I recommend using a diaper under their underpants. Putting a diaper under their underpants still gives them the responsibility of being dry. You can explain to them that their body is asleep and may not be able to wake up to go to the bathroom. If they have been dry during naptimes or at night for several weeks you can stop using the diapers.
If you have a boy it is very important that they see their dad going to the bathroom (provided they live in the same house). The man is the role model for how men do things and it is important for young boys to see this. I always tell parents that if your husband pees standing up your son should too. It will not do any damage if you don’t want to do this, however, it does aid the process because most boys want to be just like their daddy! You can also put Cheerio’s in the toilet to practice that aim and let them have “target practice”.
Please be aware that the seats that can go on top of regular toilet seats can get stuck on children’s heads. They can get them on but not off. Just be aware and keep an eye on it if you have one.
I wish you luck! Enjoy the process. They are only young once!