Potty training is a tough (and messy) business! A parent can't help but wish it to be over and done with as soon as possible. In your rush to flush, however, you may not realize that certain things may be may be stopping you and your child from achieving your diaper and toilet goals. Check if you're committing these mistakes that hinder potty training success:
1. Your child is simply not ready “Just because you want your child to potty train, that doesn't mean it's going to happen if it's not on your child's developmental or emotional agenda,” Dr. Lisa Asta, a clinical professor of pediatrics at University of California and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics told Parents. “It's a natural process. You can't force it.”
For most parents, potty training begins at around age 2. (There are parents who do it earlier and are successful. Read them here and here.) Before you start, your child should be able to stay dry for a couple of hours, have regular bowel movements, and be able to tell when he's pooping or peeing. Plus, you can also watch for signals from your child that he's ready. He may be pleading you to buy him superhero briefs or barraging you with questions about the toilet.
2. Pressure and expectations are too high Potty training can take anywhere from a few days to weeks, and full toilet independence and dry nights (meaning, no bedwetting) will take even longer. Getting frustrated or angry at your child for accidents won’t make things go any quicker. It may even discourage your child even more.
Instead, “explain calmly that you would like her to try to use the potty or toilet next time. After she has had an accident, place her on the potty to reinforce that this is where she needs to do a wee or a poo,” advised BabyCentre U.K.
And, if things aren’t really working out and it’s resulting in tantrums and tears (both from your child and you), you can always stop and try again in a month or two, Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Potty Training Solution, told The Bump. 3. You are making your child use a toilet not for his size Having the right gear can move things along much quicker. The toilet, for one, may be much too tall and wide (your tot keeps falling in!) for potty training to be as smooth as it can possibly go. A potty seat, one that attaches to the toilet, and a stepping stool for your child to rest his feet on, will make things much easier. If not, potty chairs are always an option.
If you're already teaching your child how to wash himself, make sure everything's within easy reach and meant for her size. A regular-sized tabo filled with water can be heavy! She should also be able to reach the sink, faucet, and soap for washing her hands afterward. Make sure her clothes are also easy to get in and out of. Skirts, and pants or shorts with elastic waistbands are best.
4. You’re not fully committed “You can’t do it halfway,” says Stavinoha. “It’s being home, near the bathroom, with easy access. Otherwise, it won’t work,” said Peter Stavinoha, Ph.D., neuropsychologist and author of Stress-Free Potty Training: A Commonsense Guide to Finding the Right Approach for Your Child.
If you’re out and about, and your potty-training child says he needs to go, don’t hesitate! You can give him small praises for telling you he needs to use the bathroom then quickly find a toilet. Be supportive and make it clear that you’re there to help him with his potty training. “Think of yourself as the pit crew – the child leads the way and shows what he or she can do, while you provide the tools and the support when it goes well,” says Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., a pediatrician and advisor to Parents.
5. You’re not getting enough help Don’t forget that you can ask for advice from your child’s pediatrician! Bring up your concerns and ask for techniques that will work. The doctor will also be able to spot potential problems and give encouraging words to your child to help her feel more at ease about potty training.