“We’ve tried potty training this week and I broke down crying within the first day,” is something I’ve commonly heard from parents when they start this new routine. Potty training is a phrase that can bring both excitement and fear to a parent’s routine. While most are excited for less diapers to consume their house, it can also bring tough moments figuring out when the child is ready to potty train, what the child is motivated by and how long it will take for them to be independent on the toilet. These factors can be overwhelming to tackle all at once but breaking them down into systematic steps and becoming organized with a routine can create ease into a new routine for both the child and the family. Here are a few pointers to help create a calmer environment for both the potty trainer and the family along the way:
- Have the bathroom stocked– It is important to have the bathroom full of supplies from underwear to clothing in case of accidents as well as creating a fun space for the potty trainer with toys and food that are used for potty training.
- Set out toys and treats exclusive to the bathroom– This will make the bathroom space more inviting and motivate the potty trainer to want to go to the bathroom more often because of the items inside.
- Create visuals and read stories that talk about bathroom routine– This will show the child the process of using the toilet and washing hands which will help them to understand the process in a more direct way and will normalize the bathroom routine in their everyday life.
- Stick to consistency- As the old phrase says, “practice makes perfect”, and in potty training this remains true as it will help the potty trainer to practice no matter the environment to gain the skill and decrease the time needed to potty train. Also, remaining consistent with the type of underwear used will help the child to be able to understand the routine and to be able to engage the senses to gain independence in the skill.
- Allow others to be a part of the routine and go on field trips- Let’s be honest, you’re going to need a break at some point, and other family members will need to know what the routine is for your child so that they can help them in different environments or when you’re not there. It’s also important for your child to be able to use different toilets in places that they frequent including school, stores, and places you go for community outings such as the library.
This is an entirely new routine for yourself and the child. Giving yourself and the potty trainer some forgiveness during this process is crucial. Reach out to family members and friends for help and remember that this is temporary. Pretty soon you’ll have a full fledged potty trained child!