How do I start to Potty Training? any tips?

Monica - posted on 03/31/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My little one is 20 months old and after Easter I want to start the process of Potty Training. I have no idea how to start ............ actually I am nervous of the idea! Please help!!!

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Angela - posted on 03/31/2010

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First make sure both you and your child are ready for potty training, after all 20 months is still quite young. Can your child dress themself? i.e pull they're own pants up and down? do they show awareness of when they're going to the loo? Like going quiet or concentrating hard? Can they carry out simple instructions? i.e 'put the ball in the basket'? Do they recognise the names of they're body parts? If the answer to any of these is no then I wouldn't start potty training just yet.

When you do decide to start then the key is to make sure you are ready and sure of how you're going to do it, after all if you're not sure then you'll send confusing signals to your child. Buy at least 10 sets of pants (maybe let your child help choose them) , 2 pottys (one for upstairs and one for downstairs). Make sure they are the same colour and style or else you may get caught short when your child wants to go in the red one upstairs instead of the green one downstairs! Also keep a mop, bucket and dissinfectant handy for accidents. I personally wouldn't use pull ups, part of the point of potty training is to teach them to recognise when they need to go and the difference between wet and dry. Pull ups can be confusing because the child has gone but doesn't feel wet.

Start for the first week or so by putting the potty next to the toilet and encouraging your child to sit on the potty when you go to the toilet. Don't take the nappy off just yet, just let them sit on it. Use simple language to explain what you are doing like ' mummy needs to do a wee wee' 'mummy is pulling down her pants' and so on. This will encourage your child and show them that weeing and pooing is normal and everybody does it.
Then make sure you have one or two days free to spend at home with your child. The first day just put your child in underwear and a t-shirt so they don't have to worry about pants to start with. Explain to them that they are big now and are wearing big pants, they now need to do their wee wees and poo poos in the potty. Put the potty in the same room as them, when they move, it moves. Every 40 mins or so tell them it's time to sit on the potty and sit them on for 10 mins, keep books handy or put something on for them to watch so they're not bored while they're sitting. You have lots of accidents the first day but don't get angry or scold, just clean them up and say something encouraging like 'never mind, lets try to do it in the potty next time'

It can be helpful to use a chart detailing how often you're putting them on the potty and how often they're actually doing something in it. After a few days you'll hopefully see a pattern emerge with how often they're going so you'll know better when to put them on it.

If you're going out then invest in a cushion with a removable washable cover, on the inside of the cover put a plastic bag. Put this in the childs buggy and child seat, that way if they have an accident you don't have to clean the buggy or seat, just wash the cushion cover. This can be they're 'special cushion'. also to remember to take some spare clothes.

If all goes well and your child becomes dry after a week or so then you can start letting them decide for themselves when to use the potty. Just make sure if they're excited or busy with something then you remind them about the potty from time to time. Make sure you still put them in nappys for their naps and overnight.

Remember to give lots of praise and encouragement and don't make a fuss when accidents occur. Whatever you do DO NOT scold them or use words like 'smelly' or 'disgusting'. This can seriously damage your child and make them feel like weeing and pooing is something wrong and dirty.

If all goes well and your child becomes dry then gradually start moving the potty closer to the bathroomcuntil eventually it's next to the toilet, by that point ou should be able to introduce the toilet. Make sure you have a step and a child's toilet seat so they feel safe. Also remember to teach them about proper wiping and hand washing, fun soaps and towels can help with that.

It sounds like a lot of work, make no mistake it is. Do not attempt it unless you can give it the full commitment. If you're child does fine with one stage but can't get the hang of another then step back for a while. You know your child so you'll know when you're doing it right.

Er...hope that helps! Good Luck

Rina - posted on 03/31/2010

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All three of my kids, were 3 years old when I started, literally the night of their birthday. I just stopped buying diapers right away, never used pull-ups, and because of the age they were big enough to use a big potty so I didn't have to buy one for them. I felt that having a few "accidents" was the best way to learn, within a week, and a few loads of laundry later, they were completely trained. I have two girls and a boy :)

Maria - posted on 03/31/2010

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Hey Monica, i know how stressful that is since i had the same issue with my son. I was told my by the doctor and a few friends that having a male helping him going potty would actually give him to interest and wanting to go potty like a big boy, but since i was a single mom back then i didn't have the help i needed. What worked for us is that i started telling him he was getting big, he is a big boy now, and he does not need diapers because he is not a baby. i slowly introduced him to the toilet, he never used a potty trainin toilet. (To me that was more of a hussle, since i knew if i were to train him on that then i would have to have him get used to the regular toilet) I would notice, while he was using the diaper, when he was "going" or about to "go" and thats when i started asking him if he needed to go potty. i changed the regular diapers to the pull ups (the have now the ones which help them feel when they are going), and that is when he started to show interest of going to the bathroom. Even if he didn't want to go, i would take him anyways, and have him flush the toilet. it took a couple of months, it was a little stressful at first but at the end it was worth it. Soon after that he stopped using pull ups and started using big boys underwear.

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