Before your child's sit on the toilet for the first time, make sure to go through these four steps in which you introduce the routine of potty training. Modeling language and demonstrating procedures will be the key to success here.
- Assign easy names to bladder and bowel movements. Common ones include “pee pee” and “poo poo” but feel free to get inventive. Remain consistent with the names you do assign. Ask your child questions such as “Do you have a poo poo in your diaper?” and “Is it time to go pee pee in the potty?” These are the words they will learn to signal you when it is time to go.
- Have a potty walk through lesson. Let your child accompany you when you go to the restroom. Talk through what you do when you use the bathroom. Don’t let the small details escape your train of thought. Remember, this is all new to your child. Invite questions. Your child will see you using the potty and look forward to doing the same.
- Change your child’s diaper as soon as it gets dirty. This lets your child feel the difference between wet and dry. When this happens, it helps teach your child what a dry diaper feels like and make the connection to when it is time to go potty.
- Create a signal for a dirty diaper. This lets you know that your child knows the difference between a wet and dry diaper and will be able to tell you when it is time to go potty. Also, praise your child when they tell you about a dirty diaper. This will associate going to the potty with a positive feeling, which is crucial to successful potty training.
Choosing the Potty
During this time you also need to decide whether you want a potty that sits on the floor or on the actual “big potty”. Pay attention to your child’s desires in this decision making process. A lot of your child’s success will depend on their initial comfort level with the potty. Some children are initially afraid of the larger toilet and will be more comfortable on the floor. If this is the case you can start there and graduate to the big toilet at a time when your child is more comfortable.
Don’t be frustrated if at first it takes a while longer for your child to tell you about a dirty diaper. It will take some time to learn. Keep praising your child when it happens, and with time it will happen more consistently. When your child can consistently tell you that their diaper is dirty, it is time to move on to the next step: the training. The next section will detail the five steps for potty training success.