Potty training, also known as toilet training, is an important stage in a child's development. Although it's not always easy to manage, the best way to encourage your kids is by being committed to the process. A small dose of patience, consistency and joy, along with a few practical tips, will help you succeed in this transition.
The ideal age for potty training
First of all, it's impossible to "teach" potty training. Your role as a parent is to support your child through the potty training process.
Although each child has their own physiological and psychological development rhythm, daytime potty training generally occurs between the ages of 2 and 4.
Use real words
To make potty training easier for your child, it's essential to use the correct vocabulary, i.e. words associated with elimination, such as "pee-pee," "poo-poo," "potty," "toilet," etc.
What's more, since children learn a lot by imitation, they're tempted to do what you do in many situations, including going to the bathroom. So it's a good idea to put your child’s potty next to the toilet you use, inviting them to imitate you. They will be proud to do what Mom and Dad do when they are ready.
Signals to watch out for
There are a few signs that your child is ready for potty training. These include:
- Your child's diaper remains intact and dry for a few hours
- Your child can tell you when their diaper is full
- Your child can express their needs
- Your child wants to take off their diaper and wear underwear
- Your child keeps their balance when sitting on the toilet or potty
Your child's bowel movements become regular and predictable
Despite all the signs, never pressure your child or force them to become potty-trained, which could cause stress and have the completely opposite effect.
The little potty and the big toilet
The choice of potty or toilet should be left to your child to make them as comfortable as possible. Sometimes, the big toilet can be frightening. Respecting your toddler's preference fosters trust and a positive atmosphere during this period.
The small potty may seem safer for your child since they can place their feet on the floor and lean on it to maintain their balance. If your child chooses the big toilet, make sure you have a booster seat and put a small bench under their feet so they can feel secure.
How to show your child the ropes
Parents don't always know how to start potty training, and it's perfectly normal to wonder what to do. Here are a few clues to help you get started with toilet training:
- First, explain how to use the potty and stay with your child in the bathroom.
- Establish a routine and take your child to the toilet at specific times of the day (waking up in the morning, before and after naptime, before bedtime, etc.).
- Watch for signs that your child wants to relieve themselves.
- Encourage your child and congratulate them every time they succeed; avoid teasing or reprimanding them if any "accidents" occur.
- Teach your child to wash his hands after every visit to the toilet.
- Be patient and persistent with your child.
The first unsuccessful attempt
It may be that the first attempt is unsuccessful. Perhaps your child just isn't ready. There's no need to rush things. Let a few weeks pass. Then you can try again.
Cleanliness at night
Night-time potty training can take a little longer. It's important to encourage your child to use the potty at night, with your help if necessary.
When diapers stay dry for a few nights in a row, you can try putting your child in cotton underwear. Don't be discouraged if this doesn't work. Put a diaper or toddler training pants back on for a while and try again a little later.
Ultimately, it's up to your child to lead the way in this potty-training milestone. Your child evolves at their own pace. Trust them!
Text written in collaboration with Vie de Parents