I find little in parenting more controversial and competitive than potty training. After baby sleep, there are more websites and web pages devoted to telling parents how to potty train their toddler than any other subject. If it is not websites telling you how to potty train your toddler, it is older relatives and complete strangers.
In my bid to understand how to potty train my toddler, I found a quote on fatherly On How To Potty Train “I hear and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand.” Confucius
This really resonated with me and went against what I thought my plan for potty training was, so I revised it. I had originally planned to wait until my son was ready to potty train, but this quote made me realise that he needed to understand a few things first. So not starting some form of learning/experience process, would prevent him from getting this understanding. I would say that it was me that needed to be mentally and emotionally ready.
Here is a checklist for parents emotional, mental and physically readiness to potty train a toddler:
- There are no major changes going on.
- Do I feel patient?
- Do I have everything I need? Potty, underpants, lots of clothes, time for extra washing, etc
- Am I in a position to implement something new consistently?
- Do I have the stamina right now?
- Am I feeling creative and playful to find fun ways to get my toddler to sit on the potty?
8 things you need to know first as a parent before starting potty training:
- All toddlers are different, no way is right for everyone.
- You need to decide your way.
- There will be times during the day that your toddler has greater control over their bowel and bladder movement than others.
- Toddlers don’t know yet what you want them to do; you need to show them in the most compassionate way you can.
- Potty training is about your toddler acquiring understanding rather than training them per se.
- Summer months are the best time when you can be outside more and wearing fewer clothes. I confess I did not manage this even though it was my aim.
- Incentives are as expensive as nappies, so try to go without.
- If you use incentives, you are setting a precedence. Have plenty of things to occupy them in the bathroom. Try short fun books and bath toys.
Here are 4 things your toddler needs to know to be effectively potty trained:
- That they Poo and Pee – disposable nappies do not give them this experience which is why I believe potty training happens later now. So it’s going to get messy this is why summer is the best time to potty train.
- What Poo and Pee is – They need to see it and experience the process first hand. Again disposable nappies do not give them this; it is going to get messy.
- They need to know what you expect them to do with poo and pee. – Don’t be bashful you need to show them yours to get them to show you theirs! You may be able to do this by getting them to sit on the potty every couple of hours while they are still wearing nappies or pull ups.
When you have done this for 1-2 weeks, it is time to try out big boy/girl pants and see what happens.
There finally learning is:
To know to hold their poo and pee – To begin with, when you first stop using nappies or pull ups you will have to take your toddler to the potty frequently. Eventually, your toddler will start to hold it so they can go longer stretches without going to the potty. There is a good chance they will soon have better bladder control than you do.