My son turned 2 in December and we have started some simple prep work for making potty training easier when the time comes. My daughter potty trained so effortlessly with only a handful of accidents (literally I can count them on one hand), that I thought I would share the successful things we did with her as we gear up around here to tackle potty training my son.
To prepare, start talking all things potty (my daughter thinks this part is terribly funny). When mom and dad are in the bathroom he is invited to come in (although usually he just walks in without waiting for an invitation). While in the bathroom we explain what we are doing (you know… #1 or #2), how we clean ourselves, and where the potty goes when the toilet is flushed.
When we catch him going potty in his diapers we confirm with him what he is doing so he can become self-aware and attach labels to his bodily functions. Sometimes kids are a bit shy about going potty, so if other people are in the room you may not want to make an announcement and risk embarrassing them. Going potty takes physical action, and children need to learn what they do to get their body to do it’s doody.
When we change him we talk about what is inside his diaper, he can even look at it if he wants to, then we compare where he goes potty (diaper) and where mommy, daddy and sister go potty (toilet). Often times parents (myself included) quickly wrap up and remove diapers so kids don’t really know what exactly is coming out of them. Let them check out what their body can do so it isn’t a surprise the first time they go in the toilet.
Choose a plan on how to motivate and reward…positive reinforcement. My daughter received a small treat (like a Skittle or M&M) every time she went potty because she was very food motivated. My son however is not food motivated at all so we are looking forward to using the DeeDee & Dooley’s Potty Progress Game™ that turns potty training into a fun activity (which you know we like around here). At the end of his daily game play we plan on rewarding him with something he loves.
Think ahead and make sure you can follow through. It’s never good to start something and then have to break the rules. A camping trip or vacation where routine and schedules are messed up can completely ruin potty training. Wait until you can stick to your plan without interruptions. For example when my daughter turned 2 my son was born 4 days later. We delayed her potty training until my son was more independent and I could rush to the bathroom with her when she needed.
When you feel like your child is ready to potty train, take them shopping to pick out their new underwear. Having underwear your child is excited about will make it fun for them to make the switch and helps them feel included in the big transition.
My last piece of advice before you start potty training is don’t be in a rush. I don’t know about your toddler, but my toddler won’t do anything he doesn’t want to do. Avoid frustration and wait until your child is ready and chooses to start potty training.