At this time of year, nannies and families face the challenge of potty training toddlers. Most of the urgency is due to the fact that many of these children are preparing to start an abbreviated school program, and the major criterion is potty training.
Potty training needs to be simultaneously fun and consistent. Caregivers and parents alike need to understand that even with the best intentions, while potty training a child, there will be setbacks. Experts of all kinds have offered a variety of suggestions regarding how best to potty train a child, but not every recommendation works for every child. Know that while some children will master potty training in a few days, others may take much longer. Understanding common tendencies, such as girls are generally easier to potty train, will help ease some anxieties.
Here are some tips to consider when potty training a child:
• First ascertain whether the child is ready for potty training and look for signs of readiness. Undoubtedly, some toddlers may be ready for potty training as early as 18 months, while others are ready at about 3 years. Every child trains differently. Most parents start potty training their children at about 2 ½ years. Certain cues will help caregivers and families with the decision of whether to start potty training or to wait. These can include whether a child is able to take off and put on his or her pants, whether the child can follow simple instructions, and whether the child begins to show signs of discomfort when he or she soils a diaper.
• When considering potty training a child, remember to be prepared for all the inevitable moments that may arise; from disinfecting floors or even toys! Setbacks will happen! You must accept that this aspect of the child’s development, although challenging, is quite rewarding.
• Ensure the potty is available to the child at all times. The potty being visible sometimes serves as reminder for the child when he or she needs to go. When you first introduce the potty, the child may need some time to get comfortable sitting on it and so forth. Familiarize the child with the potty by painting the potty, putting stickers on it, and letting the child carry it around while still new.
• It’s now time to go shopping for important gadgets that will make potty training easier. Buying a special child toilet seat with an attachment making it possible to use on a regular toilet can be extremely helpful. Many toddlers have anxieties about sitting on a regular toilet, so reducing that anxiety is important. Invest in a portable potty with disposal liners that can be used outside the home (e.g., in playrooms and at parks).
• Invest in good training pants like Pull-Ups®. They have easy open sides and fun Disney characters that many kids will recognize and love. Don’t forget to also stock up on some Pull-Ups® Night-Time Extra Absorbency for nights. You may also want to try the Pull-Ups® Time to Potty App – a tool that motivates, educates and rewards potty training behavior.
• Teach children to articulate when they feel the need to use the bathroom and observe them closely. Reiterate to them the need to use the potty as soon as they feel it’s time. Caution them never to wait. Look for signs in early potty training, such as suddenly beginning to do an unusual wiggly dance. This is a signal that a child needs to use the potty.
• Children learn through observing what the trusted people in their lives are doing; therefore, demonstrate, if you have to, the proper way of sitting on and using the toilet. Help them understand the process and the importance of washing their hands afterward. Again some children may show signs of anxiety. The family and caregiver must never force the child to use the potty, as this in itself may be counterproductive.
• Develop a routine like ensuring that the child sits comfortably on the potty and allow time for him or her to actually use it. Children may feel the need to get up and run around, so this might be the perfect time to flip through a potty training picture book.
• Once the child begins to use the potty, continue to praise him or her, as this will encourage further use.
• Remember that setbacks happen and being patient with the child as he or she learns is crucial. Never display anger with them, it’s all part of the learning process.
Remember to be consistent when potty training a child and never compare one child to another, as all children train differently. Training at night, while traveling, and on the go can take some extra effort so remember to always have your Pull-Ups® handy! Celebrate every milestone in the child’s life, including the moment he or she is potty trained. Then pat yourself on the back or simply high-five your team……mom, dad, child, and nanny!