Teaching your kiddo to use the toilet can be stressful. And frustrating. And tedious. And make you want to lock yourself in the closet inhaling an entire can of pringles. But, guess what? It doesn’t have to be this way! There are a lot of things you can do to help the transition from diaper to toilet a lot easier.
Here are my top 10 tips on how to have a successful potty-training experience…
1. Talk it up BIG TIME before you ever try to potty-train. Show them the toilet, and tell them all about it. Kids feed off of your enthusiasm, so if you act like going potty on the toilet is the coolest thing since sliced bread – they’ll believe it! Talk about how fun things will be once they are potty-trained. Sophie was sooo excited to go to preschool, so I told her that she wasn’t allowed to go until she used the toilet. That got her really excited about it! The more you build up the hype, the more excited they will be to go.
2. Get them involved in your potty time. This may seem a little weird, but it works! When Soph just wasn’t getting it, one of the things that really helped was to switch roles. When I had to go, I would bounce around like she did, and say “oh no! I feel something in my belly! I think I might have to go potty, what should I do?!” She loved being able to tell me what to do, and she would cheer and clap when I went on the toilet 🙂
3. Let them pick out new underwear. With Sophie, I let her pick out her own undies (they were Minnie Mouse, of course). She was so excited to wear them. I told her that Minnie had to stay dry, and if she peed on her and got her wet, I would take her away. She was heartbroken the first time she peed on Minnie, which helped motivate her to not have accidents!
4. Make a big fuss over every “success.” The first couple of days, every time Sophie made it in the toilet, we went crazy! We jumped up and down, screamed and cheered, and got over-the-top excited. We called relatives, and skyped cousins, spreading the news of what a big girl Sophie was. All of the positive feedback she got helped build momentum and stay motivated.
5. When they have an accident, immediately put them on the toilet. Even if they empty their bladder on the floor, still put them on the toilet. This will help associate going potty with being on the toilet (so hopefully those will happen at the same time in the future!)
6. Keep things positive. Even when you feel frustrated and upset, try to stay upbeat! Don’t get upset over accidents – getting angry will just make things worse. If you make your child feel bad for not catching on, they’ll get discouraged and end up taking even longer to learn. Be proud of their progress, even if it’s not as quick as you’d like it to be.
7. Let them flush their own… business. Every time Sophie went #2, she would flush the toilet and yell “bye-bye poo-poo! See you later!” She loved it, and got excited every time she was able to flush the toilet.
8. Make them clean up their own accidents. Let’s be honest, cleaning up pee (and heaven forbid, poop) is gross. We don’t want to do it, and the kids won’t either. If you give them a rag and make them clean it up themselves, they sure won’t want to do it again!
9. Accept that accidents happen. Remember, this is a learning process. They don’t know how to use the toilet, and it’s your job to teach them. You can’t expect them to be perfect right off the bat, that would just be crazy! They will have accidents, and that’s normal. Expecting perfection will result in frustration, disappointment, and a whole lotta stress.
10. They need to be ready. After all is said and done, the child needs to be ready. You may try every tactic under the sun, but if they aren’t ready, it ain’t gonna happen. Be patient, and sooner or later, diapers will be a thing of the past.