There are plenty of potty training tips and potty training books out there. However, the best tip for potty training is making sure your baby is ready. When babies stop using diapers is a major milestone, not only for the baby but the parents as well.
It is important to realize that there is no fixed timetable present that can tell you the exact time you baby is ready to start using the potty chair or a toilet. Finding the right time to begin potty training is entirely up to each individual’s development.
There are signs that you can look for which indicate that your baby is ready for this major step. If you see enough signs you can start potty training. This can happen as early as when your baby is just about 18 months or as late as just before 3 years of age. Almost all babies have learned potty training before the age of 4.
Avoid following the calendar when making a decision on when to start potty training. Instead stay focused on behavioral indicators.
Signs you baby is ready for Potty training
There are many signs that indicate that your baby is ready for toilet training, but usually we want accumulation of signs rather then just a single one. Among the most common indicators are:
1. Realizing that something is going on and gaining control
- Your baby realizes that there is something in the diaper
- They know when they are peeing or pooping in their diaper
- Your baby can stay dry for long period at a time (at least 1.5-3 hours)
2. Interest and capability
- Your baby is interested in the toilet and or potty chair, how it works and what to do with it.
- Your baby can sit and stand up from a potty chair or later a toilet.
- Your baby is able to pull down her pants and pull them up again. Keep in mind pulling down the pants with the diaper is very hard. Therefore the focus here is not to use diapers. So we are only talking about the pants them self not the diaper and pants since of course we actually want the baby to stop using diapers.
3. Cognitive signs
- You baby is ready, able and willing to follow instructions.
- She can share with you when she needs to go and be able to predict that she will need to go soon.
- If your baby has started to show a few of the signs mentioned above it is time to start training.
- It is important not to pressure your baby, it will learn eventually. Make sure the training is fun and rewarding.
Given that the indicators are already present and you use the proper method you should be able to train your baby within a few weeks.
How to potty train your baby
Well it is time to start, so what to do next.
- Babies often learn by seeing what others do. They imitate. Show your baby how you use the toilet. There are many toilet training books out there intended for children. Buy one of those and read it to your baby.
- It is important that you explain to your baby what the potty chair is and how it works. Sometimes parents put the content of a dirty diaper in the potty and flush it down while the baby is watching to help make the baby understand how things work.
- Have a potty chair in your baby’s room and/or easily accessible. When your baby needs to go it happens quickly.
- It is often a good idea to practice sitting on the potty for a few minutes couple of times an hour. If your baby uses the potty during that period it’s very important to use praise. Make you baby feel proud of its accomplishment.
- Stay with your baby and encourage her onwards when she sits on the potty. It’s not a good idea to go out of the room and leave her alone. If something happens you do not want your baby to be playing around with the ingredients of the potty and your baby will have less patience sitting alone than if you are with her in the room.
- It is good to have diaper free time for a couple of hours in the first few days. Involve sitting on the potty a few times during the diaper free time. Try to lengthen the period each day or week as the training evolves.
- Many babies have bowel movement at almost the same time each day. If you baby is one of those than sitting on the potty for a few minutes around that time can help make your baby understand and achieve success.
- Be prepared to the fact that accidents will happen in the first few weeks. React positively when that happens. You do not want you baby to become anxious or afraid when left without a diaper.
- When you baby needs to go it often gives signs such as squirming, holding her hand on the pee area or squatting. Be on the look out for these signs and be quick to react. Bring the potty to your baby and ask it to sit on it and do its job. If that works your baby will soon be able to go by herself to do the job.
- It is important that all your baby’s caregivers are aware that you are potty training your baby so they can help and support the training. If one caregiver is not doing its job your baby will get mixed signals and the training will get much harder.
- When you are training your baby it is very important that the cloths it wears are very easy to get out of. She needs to be in comfortable pants that can easily be pulled up and down. Every second wasted on getting out of her clothes increases the potential risk of an accident happening.
- Bear in mind that potty training over the daytime unfortunately does not carry on to nighttime. It usually takes much longer, months, a year or even years for babies to control their bladder over night as well.
- It is more common for babies to start controlling bowel movements before gainng bladder control. The same applies for the nights.
- Use night diapers for your baby until the diapers are dry for a few consecutive days. Than you can start trying to skip the diapers altogether.
If you use these guidelines you should be fine, in a few weeks the accidents should be few and far between.
Potty training should be easy and fun. If you start at the right time your baby should not have much problem learning how to use the potty chair or a toilet. Ensure positive reinforcement and pressure free environment, with focus on encouragement rather than punishment.
There are however some babies that do not like to be potty trained. They do not take well to the training and show no interest in being trained. This is very common and if that is the case then you need to stop and try again in few weeks or months.
It is often the baby’s way of trying to be in control. If you try to be stubborn and force your baby to learn how to use the potty it will take much longer than if you just takae a break for a few weeks and try again later.
Potty training is supposed to be a enjoyable few weeks. The ultimate goal is seeing your little prince or princess running around diaper free, using the potty whenever it needs to go and afterwards showing you the results with great pride.