It may seem impossible right now, but your toddler will eventually do her business in the toilet instead of in her diaper. Sure, it takes some toddlers longer than others to master the potty, but they all eventually do really. The key (as with many toddler trials) is patience; it’s also wise to wait until your child is truly ready to get started and to take potty training setbacks in stride. Remember, if you keep potty learning low-key, it will go more smoothly for everyone involved.
Whether you’re training a boy or a girl, these tips apply :
- Get equipped : You’ve got two choices: a separate, low-to-the-ground potty chair or an insert that fits on the big toilet seat to make it small enough for little bottoms (if you go this route, you’ll also need a step stool). If possible, check out both options together and see what your toddler prefers (buying both won’t break the bank, either). Also stock up on liquid soap (for washing little hands), cleansing wipes (the flushable kind for behinds, and the kind for floors and fixtures) small rewards (such as stickers or dollar-store trinkets), and pull-on, disposable training pants or thick, absorbent cloth undies.
- Get naked : Not you — your toddler. If possible, allow your toddler to spend some time diaper-free, either in your backyard, or inside (in a space with easily cleaned floors!). When she must be dressed, keep her in easy on/off pants or skirts with elastic waistbands (there’s no time to fuss with buttons or zippers when she’s really gotta go!).
- Get reading : Buy or borrow books and dvds about potty training to share with your toddler. Most are available in both boy and girl versions. What to Expect When You Go to the Potty is a good choice.
Potty Training BoysBoys tend to have a tougher time with the toilet. For one thing, it’s probably Mommy, not Daddy, who’s doing most of the coaching, so there’s little opportunity to actually show him how it’s done. Plus, boys need to master both sitting and standing to do their business. These tips should help your son catch on, though a male role model is a definite plus.
- Start with sitting : Have him sit down for both peeing and pooping at first. For now, it’s tough enough just getting to the potty in time without having to decide whether to sit or stand. Plus, since one bathroom visit might produce both, er, outputs, it’s easier if your son stays in one spot for the whole shebang. Once he’s really got the hang of things, he can stand “just like Daddy.”
- Point in the right direction : Whether he’s standing or sitting, show your son how to aim (you might give your hubby a refresher course, too). He needs to point his penis down into the toilet to make sure the pee goes where it needs to go. If/when he stands to pee, you can do target practice by floating O-shaped cereal, bits of toilet paper, or drops of food coloring in the toilet bowl and challenging him to go for a bull’s-eye.
- Teach ups and downs : Now’s the time to teach your son some basic potty etiquette. If he’s standing up to pee, show him how to raise the seat (all the way, so it won’t fall down on him midstream) and then lower it again when he’s finished. (Here’s another lesson that Daddy may need to brush up on!) And don’t forget to flush!
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