Help Your Child Stay Dry In The Daytime
Your first goal during potty training is to help your child stay dry in the daytime hours. Nighttime dryness will come a little later since they won’t be in control of their bodily functions while they’re sleeping.
A routine will help in making your child more confident and comfortable during training. In fact, having your child on a schedule before training time can actually make the transition easier.
By the age of one, your toddler should be on a regular schedule of eating, sleeping, playing and having diaper changes. These regular diapering times will prepare your toddler for a regular daytime potty schedule in the future. This doesn’t mean that you have to maintain a rigid schedule for years, but your toddler should know that he or she has a regular, natural pattern to each day. This sets your toddler up to succeed when the time is right for toilet training.
Make frequent trips to the bathroom. You can’t force your child to urinate or produce a bowel movement, but you can encourage him to practice. Have your child sit on the potty for 2 to 4 minutes every hour or so. Schedule these sittings close to times your child usually has a bowel movement or urination, such as just after a meal, snack or nap. Remember that you cannot control when your child urinates or has a bowel movement.
You really need to know when it’s time to stop. Don’t expect performance at first. If your child can’t urinate or produce a bowel movement after 2 to 4 minutes, it’s time to try later. If your child protests strongly when you suggest s/he return to the potty, don’t insist. Such resistance may mean that it is not the right time to start potty training.
Let your child learn from you and those around him or her. Children are often interested in their family’s bathroom activities. It is sometimes helpful to let children watch parents, older brothers and sisters, trusted friends, and even relatives when they go to the bathroom. Seeing these people use the toilet makes children want to do the same.
Make sure your child is an active participant in getting himself or herself dressed and undressed. Let your child practice lowering and raising their underwear or training pants sometimes, or putting them on and taking them off.
As far as the bathroom is concerned, take steps to keep the door from closing or locking. To prevent children from locking themselves in the bathroom or closing the door on their fingers, put a towel over the top of the bathroom door. This will stop it from closing.
Training boys can be much easier than training girls. Have them try sitting on the toilet before making them stand. This will minimize sprays and dribbles on the walls and floors – not to mention all over the potty chair!
You should take steps also to respect your child’s feelings and privacy. Even though they are little people, they do have these feelings. Potty training focuses on the most personal and private parts of your child’s body so proceed in a dignified respectful manner. Some children need privacy and will not go if anyone is looking or is in the bathroom with them. Respect this.
Expect some fooling around by toddlers. For example, when they go through the phase of saying “no” to everything, their “no” does not always really mean “no.” In short, if you ask your toddler if s/he needs to go potty and are met with a resounding “no,” this response may sometimes have little to do with your question. This is all part of learning to read your child and becoming familiar with all forms of communication.
In the beginning phases, take your child to the bathroom every hour and then after meals, snacks, and sleep. The obstacle a lot of parents face is that they get into the habit of asking their child if they have to use the potty. Instead, try telling them and then take them. Initiating is often the last step in the process.
Remember that this is probably not going to be an overnight process. Be patient with your child and back off if it really doesn’t seem to be working.
I agree with experts that a reward system is almost necessary during this important time.