Top 10 Tips for Potty Training (without frustration)

There comes a certain phase in every parent's life that will involve potty training.  Love it or hate it, this is a fact of life.  As a mother of 4 and preschool director with over 17 years of childcare experience I can tell you that no one is an expert in this area.  I will also tell you that no child will be going to college in diapers.  In this post I will give you my potty training tips along with a few other tips from fellow parents and teachers. 
  This unfortunately is a hard and disappointing fact for some.  I see this VERY often in preschool.  Parents will want their child potty trained to move them up to the next class, to save on tuition, save on diapers, to get them into school, to fit in with the rest of the kids his age ect.  Let's be honest, nobody loves buying and changing diapers.  However, if you attempt to potty train a child who isn't ready it will be a LONG and frustrating road for you and your child.  Your child will let you know when he is ready.  Readiness isn't something that is determined by age.  Some children will be ready at 18 months and some at 3.  Just as each child will learn to crawl, walk and read at their own pace they will also be potty trained when ready.  It is our job to catch those signs of readiness and act upon them. 
Independence, is the first sign of readiness.  If your child is beginning to dress himself, wash his hands and help clean up then it is a sign of independence.  Another sign is dry periods.  If you child wakes up from nap dry or goes a few hours and has a dry diaper it is a sign of strengthening bladder control.  Not wanting to be dirty and noticing the feeling of a dirty diaper is a strong sign of readiness and a good opportunity to gain vocabulary skills to help the child communicate potty words.  I believe that verbal skills also need to be present.  The child needs to be able to express when they have to go potty or that they are going potty.  The final and possibly most telling sign is when a child will hide or even go into the bathroom to go poop in his diaper.  This shows an awareness of what is going on and a need for privacy. 
  Potty training needs to be a team effort and something that all parties involved are totally prepared for.  If your child attends preschool or daycare you need to communicate with the teacher that you plan to begin potty training and work as a team with the teacher to come up with a plan.  Chelsea from my school told me "It is difficult if the parents don't tell us what's going on at home so we can't mimic it at school and work as a team."


Get your house, your car and your self ready.  Set up a designated potty area for consistency, buy ALOT of underwear.  I do not recommend pull ups other than nap time.  The child needs to feel wet and dirty.  If you have a lot of carpet or furniture that can easily stain I would suggest that you put the underware on then have a pull up over it.  That way the child will feel wet but it won't get all over the house.  I always packed a potty chair, plastic bags, wipes, Clorox wipes, changes of clothes and potty treats in my car because you never know when you may need it.  We used the car potty often in our potty training years.  Make sure you always have a watch, timer or clock to keep track of the last time he went potty. 

This will be frustrating and it WILL NOT happen over night!  Ashlee a mother of 4 and teacher said "potty training my children was the hardest part of parenting so far.  You constantly feel defeated!"  This is so true but trust me you are not alone and this too shall pass!  If your child feels rushed or belittled he will regress or rebel all together.  Melissa teacher and mother of 4 told me that she learned that it is ok to take a break and try at a later time to save her sanity and that of her family members. 
  A great way to start potty training is to stay home all weekend and set up an area that you will spend most of your time.  Put out tarps or mats if you don't have hard floors.  When I was potty training I put the potty chair in the living room on a mat and let my child stay bottomless for the entire weekend.  Set a timer, drink a lot of liquid and go potty every 45 min. 

 Read books about going potty, have your child go in the bathroom with you ect.  Jaymie a mother of 2 and teacher told me an experiment that she did to show her daughter what happens when she had a full bladder.  She filled up a cup all the way and walked quickly across the room.  Obviously, the cup spilled.  This is how she explained that if you wait too long the go potty your bladder would be full and leak or spill. 
  Sometimes boys are afraid that their parts will fall off in the potty.  It will help to show them pictures of their anatomy and that they are attached.  A few kids will not want to sit long enough.  It is a good idea to have a basket of books by the toilet, sing songs and make this time fun and special.  If it is a positive experience than kids will relate that to going potty. 

This is extremely important that you teach your child to wipe themselves and wash their hands themselves.  Parents think that their children simply "can't" wipe themselves so they do it for them.  When in reality this is crippling your child and will cause problems later in their preschool years.  As parents it is vital that we teach our children independent skills.  To teach a child to wipe you show the child by placing your hand on his and talk about what you are doing while you are modeling it.  The next time you allow them to do it while you supervise.  Encourage them to keep wiping on a clean part of the paper until their paper comes out clean.  Also, tell them to wipe from front to back. 
 You can reward but not too much.  You want your child to be proud and learn with out too many rewards.  More importantly, just be positive, encouraging and excited!  This is a huge step for your child and it deserves to be praised. 

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