Parenting Class 3: Potty Training

This Month’s Parenting Class: Potty Training

Thank you so much for joining us today as we tackle a topic that as parents we all have to deal with as much as we may dread it: potty training your child. Have you ever had the thought, “If I had a dollar for every diaper I have changed since becoming a parent…”? We’d probably be well into that college account by now. However, now your baby is a toddler and it may be time to consider potty training.

We have our pick of books, websites, friendly advice telling us the best way, how their child did it. The good, the bad and the ugly. But how do you know which way is the right way? The last thing I am is a potty training expert, believe me, I wish I were. We are approaching it in our own house right now with our daughter. This month we would like to give you some helpful tips and guidelines that may help you if you are trying to board the potty train.

The first thing you need to decide is if your child is ready. Many children show interest between 18-24 months, while some are three or older. Some kids just get it really quickly and some struggle for a while. The important thing to remember is that if you start too early and push your child before they are ready, it may take even longer.

Ask yourself these questions about your child:

  • Do they seem interested in the potty chair or toilet?
  • Can they understand and follow basic directions?
  • Do they complain about a wet or dirty diaper?
  • Does your child tell you through gestures, words or facial expressions when they
    have to go?
  • Are they staying dry for two or more hours during the day?

If you answered yes to most of those questions, there is a really good chance that your child is ready to start potty training. If the answers were mostly no, you may want to wait a little while longer.

Now that you have established that they are ready, what should you do next? Most parents buy a potty chair or a special seat for the toilet. Remember, they are very small and a big toilet may seem intimidating. Let them be part of picking out their potty. It may help their excitement level about this whole process.

Once you have done that, establish a routine with your child. This is going to take work on your part. You can’t be so busy that you hinder their progress. You may want to plan a few days at home so you can create a routine of going to the potty repeatedly without having to worry about traveling or public restrooms. When my husband and I potty trained our son, we set aside a weekend and created a potty training boot camp. We lived potty training that weekend, it’s all we did! I know this can be hard to fit into our busy schedules, but it’s so important. Make sure that
you are committed to this if you want them to be. That being said, be very aware of what is going on in your own life. If you are about to have a baby, go on a trip or move into a new home this probably isn’t the best time to begin.

Be open with your child about what you expect from them. This is completely new. We can’t expect them to know exactly what we want them to do. Don’t be afraid to get honest with your child. If they succeed, be giving with your praise, but be careful about discouragement if they don’t get it right away. This may take more that a weekend for them to catch on. This is one of those times that you are just going to have to be patient.

Potty training definitely isn’t one of the glamorous parts of parenting, but it is one of the areas that we all have to go through. Ask parent friends of yours what worked for them. Read books and articles by the experts and then create a plan that works for your family. There is no one way to potty train. We just want to give you some support and hopefully helpful advice along the way.

Later this month be on the lookout for our next parenting class email. We will go a little deeper into some of these steps and give some suggestions that we hope will help your little one conquer this step in growing up and become fully potty trained.