Potty training is a major milestone for both you and your child. Check out our potty training guide put together by licensed therapists who also happen to be moms! This guide will help you discover if your child is ready, what steps to take, and how to celebrate your child's success.
Is it time?
Potty-training success hinges on physical and emotional readiness, not a specific age. Before you start thinking about potty training, first ask yourself two questions:
1. Are you as a parent ready?
2. Is your child showing signs of readiness?
- Is he/she pulling at a wet or dirty diaper in attempts to get it off because he/she does not like the feeling of being wet/dirty?
- Does he/she communicate the need to potty at all?
- Will he/she willingly sit on the toilet without a fight?
If you as the parent are ready and you answered “yes” to the majority of question two, then you are ready to start potty training!
Ready, set, go!
We are ready to start, now what?
Step 1: No more diapers or pull-ups (except when the child is sleeping). The child will wear underwear, so make sure you have plenty changes of clothes!
Step 2: The parents set a timer every 15-20 minutes to take the child to the potty. The child sits on the potty for around three minutes, and the parents encourage the child to push. Make sure you are praising the child for sitting on the potty. You can also pair the potty time with small reinforcements so that going to the potty becomes more motivating for your child. However, do not use it to bribe the child. This type of reinforcement should only be used to help motivate the child (I.e. “yay, we are going to the potty”, as the parent says this the child is given a raisin, M&M, etc.).
Step 3: If the child soils themselves between the 15-20 minute interval of taking them to the bathroom, then take them to the potty immediately and talk about the feeling of being “wet” or “dirty”. This will help your child to associate this feeling and that it “belongs” on the potty. Then have your child to associate this feeling and that it “belongs” on the potty. Then have your child sit on the potty for three minutes before changing them. Then reset your timer to 15-20 minutes from this time and repeat the process.
Step 4: Your child successfully went potty in the potty! First, do a happy dance! Then, praise, praise, praise your child! What’s next?
"My child went potty in the potty. I do no have to take them to the potty every 15-20 minutes, right?” Not so fast…until they are successfully having NO accidents within the 15-20 minute mark you should not increase the time interval? When your child starts consistently having no accidents during the 15-20 minute interval, then you can increase the length of time between potty times. Use the following time increases when they are having NO accidents at each time interval:
- Every 30 minutes
- Every 45 minutes
- Every 60 minutes
- Every hour and 15 minutes
- Every hour and 30 minutes
- Every two hours
Once these benchmarks have been met and your child is consistently accident free, it’s time to celebrate a major accomplishment. Be sure to reinforce to your child that this is a big milestone to be proud of, and don’t forget to congratulate yourself as well. Potty training is a team effort, and once it’s done you won’t have to ever worry about it again. Until next time, of course.