|Crazy, Intense Katie!|
Still, I have learned a few things.
My best tips for potty-training:1. Wait until they are close to 3. Sure, your kid might be able to do it sooner, but usually, it involves a lot more work on your part and a lot more accidents. Waiting until almost three almost always makes it go faster and allows the child to be more aware of their own bodies and more able to manage the many steps required.
2. Talk a lot about potty-training in the months and years before you do it. I often point out while changing diapers, for example, "right now, you are using diapers. When you get bigger, you'll make your poop and pee in the potty!" Talk it up and make it sound like an exciting, grown-up thing to do. Read books about potty-training and share your excitement about how great it will be when your child is also big enough to wear underwear.
3. Pick a week when there is not a lot going on. Try to stay home completely for the first few days.
4. Make a special trip to the store to let the child pick out her own underwear. I prefer to start with training pants since they have the ability to contain accidents a lot better.
5. Buy potty treats. I usually use M&Ms or something similar. During the first few weeks of training, I give out 2 M&Ms for sitting on the potty and trying, even if nothing happens, and a whole handful when poop is made. After a few weeks, the potty treats usually run out, but by then, the child is pretty well trained, so I don't have to buy more than one big bag.
6. On the days you start potty-training, have the child wear just underwear, with no pants. It makes it easier for them to pull them up and down and saves on laundry for accidents. It also helps remind the child that something is different and helps them remember to go into the bathroom. Some of my friends swear by having their child run around completely naked and giving them the underwear after they are successfully trained, but I just can't handle the thought of an accident going everywhere, nor do I want to go to the effort of keeping them on hard floors for several days in a row. Give your child plenty to drink.
7. Give it a good try for at least 3 days. The first couple of days, lead your child into the bathroom at least every 30 minutes, whether they go or not. Have them practice pulling down their underwear, sitting and trying, wiping, flushing, and washing their hands. Praise them for trying and talk up how grown up and wonderful it is to be using the potty and getting potty treats.
8. Don't make a big deal of accidents. Help the child clean it up, change into a fresh pair of underwear, and remind them "We need to keep our pretty new underwear dry. Let's go pee in the potty next time."
9. If it obviously isn't working after a week, go back to diapers for a few months. That's SO much better, in my opinion, than having a half-trained child running around having accidents often. Don't make a big deal of it and just continue to talk up the excitement of "when you're bigger, you'll get to wear underwear again!" Then try again. Trust me, it's much better to wait and have success with a fully-potty-trained child than to push on and deal with constant accidents. Of course, even if everything goes well, your child will likely have a few accidents here and there. When that happens, show some disappointment and show them how to clean it up, but don't get angry or punish them.
Here's to success -- yours AND mine!