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Family Matters: Patient Potty Training


Potty TrainingFirst things first: Your toddler might not be ready for potty-training when they are 3 years old and that’s perfectly fine.

One of my sons, who has a September birthday, potty-trained the summer before he turned 3. The other son wasn’t potty-trained until WELL AFTER he turned 3, and that was fine, too.

I can promise you one thing: no matter how old they are, if they are not ready, it’s going to result in a lot of frustration for all of you!

So to get started, wait until your toddler shows signs of being interested in the potty. Is he telling you when he’s wet or dirtied his diaper? That’s another good sign of potty-readiness. If he’s asking questions or wants to see what happens when you use the restroom, that’s another good indicator.

Find a potty he likes. Some tots don’t mind using a seat adaptor on the big potty. My kids wouldn’t hear of it. A smaller potty chair worked best for them. Decorate it. Does your daughter want a pink princess potty? Make it happen! Stickers, paint, whatever it takes to make little one feel comfortable on the potty. Stock the bathroom with books and toys; you might be there a while some days.

Pick out new BIG KID underpants with your child. My younger son only had to be told once not to tee-tee on Thomas (the train), and he didn’t wet those pants again!

Decide your approach. Are you going to transition to underpants slowly using pull-up diapers, or are you going to go cold-turkey?

Set aside time. You might need to stay home for a week straight to properly teach your child how to use the potty.

Figure out their currency. That’s what Dr. Phil says, at least. Find out what motivates them to want to use the potty effectively and offer that incentive.

Bring them to the potty regularly. Bring them FAR more often than they’ll need to go, so they will start to learn how it feels when they have to go and don’t miss the opportunity.

Don’t get discouraged; they will have accidents.

Finally, if the first round doesn’t take, put the potty away for a while and try again in a few weeks.


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