Make Potty Training a Breeze (What a Relief!)

Help your child trade in his diapers for big-kid undies with these 10 hints.

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1. Watch for Signs of Readiness

Each child is ready to start using the toilet at a different age. Watch for these readiness factors as a way to know your child can start learning toilet training: Keeps a diaper dry for 2 or more hours. Follows simple directions. Knows when he needs to go. Familiar with words about needing to use the bathroom. Can pull down diapers or underpants. Shows interest in wearing underpants or using the potty.

2. Create a Comfortable Setting

The birth of a new child. Moving to a new house. Switching from the crib to a bed. These are examples of change that can make it more difficult for a child to learn toilet training. It is best to start toilet training your child when there are not many other stresses going on in his life.

3. Raise Potty Awareness

Start early teaching your child about the potty process: Use words - pee, poop, potty - to communicate using the bathroom. Help your child recognize peeing and pooing. Ask your child to let you know when his diaper is wet or soiled. Practices sitting on a small potty seat.

4. Help Her Learn by Watching

Show your little one how you or a sibling sits on the toilet. He may feel more comfortable trying the potty if he sees someone else doing it. Your child can sit on his potty chair next to a sibling or adult who is also using the potty.

5. Create a Routine

Put your child on the potty a few times a day, and allow him to get up when he needs. Try to regularly put him on the toilet during the same times: 45 minutes after he drinks water, after waking up with a dry diaper, or before bedtime. Make sure your child's grandparents and babysitters follow the same routine you use with your little one.

6. Help Her Catch the Clues

Guide your child to look for clues that he needs to use the bathroom. Helping children recognize that they need to go can help avoid accidents. Asking your child whether he needs to use the bathroom can remind him to pay attention to what his body is telling him.

7. Encourage Regularity

Encourage your little one to sit on the toilet 15 to 30 minutes after meals. Bowl movements often occur naturally after eating.

8. Watch Her Wardrobe

Provide your kid with a wardrobe that can work with potty training. Does your child have difficulty unbuttoning his paints or taking off his overalls? Make sure your child can maneuver clothing independently to successfully use the bathroom.

9. Offer Small Rewards

Acclaim your child for a job well done. Use a chart to keep track of successes and attempts. Use stickers. Give small prizes or special time with Mommy. The ultimate prize will be for your child to pick out big kid underwear when he starts to get the hang of potty training.

10. Praise the Attempts

Give positive attention to your little one when he tries to use the toilet, even if he does not actually go. Make sure not to punish your kid if he has an accident. Let him know it is ok. Encourage your little one that he is on his way to successfully using the potty.

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