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Parents Share Their Best and Most Effective Potty Training Tips

Potty training can be very stressful for both the child and the parent, especially when you don't know where to start and what approach to take. Children are emotionally ready to begin potty training between 18 months old and 3 years old. Every child is different and patience is key in this process.

We at Bright Side compiled a list of 13 steps that will help you potty train your little one.

1. Do not rush your children.

We all know that everyone learns at a different pace, especially when it comes to children. Just like not all of them start to walk or talk at the same time, they also start to learn to control their bladder at different ages. According to research, girls usually learn to use the toilet earlier than boys. But if you are unsure about when it's time to start teaching them how to use the toilet, look out for these signs that your child is ready:

  • They show an interest in going to the bathroom and how people use it.
  • They can understand instructions and follow them perfectly.
  • They are interested in getting out of their diapers and they want to act more grown-up.

2. Know that it takes time and effort.

It requires a lot of patience to train a child to use the toilet. It's a process and it is nothing that can be achieved overnight. With patience and a little creativity, you can work with your child to understand their regimen and overcome any accidents that might occur.

Here are some things you need to remember:

  • Be encouraging with your child, especially when they have little "accidents," in order to help them understand that it is ok and that they will learn with time.
  • Keep in mind that even children over the age of 5 can wet their bed. This is because it's more difficult to gain complete bladder control in the evening until it becomes muscle memory, and this takes time.

3. Get a training potty or a mini toilet seat.

A mini toilet seat or a training potty is the easiest and the least intimidating option for a child to start learning. This is because it's small in scale and it will be less scary for them to sit on. Also, consider buying something with a removable seat so that you can place it on the toilet after your kid is ready.

  • Place the training potty in places where they feel more comfortable at the beginning instead of placing it in the bathroom alone. Try placing it in places like the bedroom, the living room, etc.
  • One thing you can do in order to motivate them when the training starts is to entertain them with books and songs about going to the bathroom.
  • Then, once they get comfortable using the mini toilet and understand how it works, move a step further and show them how the real toilet works by allowing them to use it.

4. Start the training during the right phase.

It is important to choose the right time to potty train your child because this will determine your success. It is important to NOT start the potty training when a child has gone through a major change. When they've been through an illness or emotional change this can make their environment feel confusing. All changes can be stressful for children because the majority of the time they don't understand what is going on and potty training will add more stress to their life.

  • Pick a period where you'll spend a lot of time with your child, like during the holidays or during the summer.

5. Set a plan.

When you set a plan to potty train your child it will then help you build a schedule to deal with and succeed with the potty training even faster. Children learn better with repetition. Once you repeat something every day for more than a week, your child will then start to adjust to it, and it will give them a sense of responsibility.

Select 3 to 4 times during the day in which you will put your child on the potty for a total of 10 - 15 minutes.

  • In the morning
  • Before lunch
  • In the afternoon

6. Demonstrate how the potty works.

It is important for the child to understand what the point of the potty is and how it functions. Try to show them that diapers are something to get rid off not something permanent and that the toilet is what they need to use instead of a diaper.

You can tell them that the potty is where the "pee-pee" and the "poop" goes, or you can demonstrate how to use the potty by bringing them into the bathroom with you when you need to use it. You can set them on their little training potty while you sit on the toilet and show them how it's done. This should be a relatively easy process since children are very interested in copying adults.

7. Sit on the potty for at least 15 minutes a day.

As mentioned earlier, it is important for your child to get accustomed to the toilet/potty by letting them sit there for at least 5 minutes at a time, 3 or 4 times a day. While they are on the potty, it is important to encourage them mentally "to go," this will make them feel more comfortable and supported.

  • While they are on the potty, keep them entertained to make them feel more comfortable.
  • NEVER force them to sit on the toilet if they don't want to, this will make them resist even more and may traumatize them.

8. Use the correct words.

While training your child, try to use words that are comfortable and familiar to them to describe what's going on during the potty training like "pee-pee," "potty," "poop," etc. Do not use words that they are not familiar with or words that are considered negative. This can make a child feel more embarrassed about their actions without knowing why. This could also make them start to hold everything in and could have a negative impact on their health.

9. Be next to them while they use the potty.

Kids begin to feel very anxious when using the potty at the beginning because it's something completely new to them. So it's important to stay next to your child when they are using the potty, especially the first 5 or 6 times.

  • Always smile at your child and praise them.
  • Use a calm and soothing tone at all times when talking to them during the training process.
  • Try to make it a fun experience with toys, books, and songs to entertain them.

10. "Need-to-go" signals

Children give us various signals when they need to go to the toilet, even when they aren't potty-trained. So it's important to look out for these signals and once you see them take your child to the bathroom immediately to show them that's where they are supposed to do their business. Try to encourage them to let you know when they need to go the toilet so that you can help them until they also recognize the signs themselves.

Here are some "need-to-go" signals:

  • Pausing an activity that they are doing
  • Squatting
  • Holding their diaper
  • Grunting

11. Get rid of the diaper for an hour.

A lot of parents suggest taking off a child's diaper for approximately one hour and letting them roam around the house naked. This will let the kids enjoy the feeling of "freedom" while also learning to recognize the signs for when they need to visit the toilet.

You need to remember that even though this method is effective, you will probably encounter a few accidents. When they happen, just do not act disappointed in them. Keep them calm and let them know that they will make it to the bathroom next time.

12. Offer rewards for their success.

A lot of children respond well to positive reinforcement. So giving them small rewards for their efforts and successes will be the ideal way to train your child. The rewards that you give your child will depend on you and what they like and respond to.

Here are some ideas:

  • Candy
  • Snacks
  • Stickers
  • Toys
  • Books

13. Have patience.

Remember to always be patient and gentle with your child. Nobody learns the first time, and none of us were fully potty trained from our first experience. It is important to stay calm when they have an accident because they might be even more scared than you think.

Once they see you being calm, they will also become calmer right away. Plus, if they get terrified of going to the bathroom, this will make the training process a lot more difficult and time-consuming.

Have you tried any of these methods to potty train your child? What would you recommend to other parents? Please let us know in the comments below.

Preview photo credit tuhgttg / reddit
Illustrated by Sergey Raskovalov for Bright Side