Here's an example of the steps to follow to help your child become aware of how to use the potty. Each child will go at his/her own pace. If you would like to incorporate a Toddler Theme with Potty Training Week, Germs & Health would be a good choice.
Step 1 A day or more before you get serious about potty training, help your child become familiar with the potty chair. Allow him/her to sit on the potty fully clothed while reading books, watching a video, or whatnot. If you plan to use the potty seat (fits on a toilet), allow your child to sit on it before or after a bath and at other times throughout the day just to get familiar with it. Step 2 Take your child Shopping. Buy special snacks, drinks, and toys for rewards for potty training as described on the Introduction page. Also, pick out the training pants or underwear your child will wear. If you are a child care provider and shopping with the child isn't practical, do the shopping on your own. Collect underwear for the child from the child's parents. You may want to purchase some spare underwear to keep at your house (yard sales and thrift stores are great for this--just bleach them when you get them home). Step 3 Right after a bland breakfast, begin today with your child in underwear (In the summer, I find it helpful to put only underwear on the child's bottom half). Your child's job will be to teach his/her doll or bear how to go potty: Put underwear on the bear/doll. First, check to see if the doll or bear is dry. It is, so reward the doll. Pull the underwear down, put the doll on the potty, without the child seeing you, put water in the pot. Check to see if the doll went potty. It did! Pull up the doll's underwear and celebrate with the rewards! Now check to see if your child is dry. If he/she is, reward! Now, have your child try to go potty. If he/she does, double rewards! If nothing happens, just try again in a while after you have had lots of drinks. Step 4 Continue praticing with the doll or bear. Keep offering your child salty snacks and lots of liquids. Perhaps, set the stove timer for 30 or 40 minutes to remind parent and child when to check for dryness and to try using the potty again. When it is time, let the child know "It's your turn to go potty." Don't ask, just tell! Remember, all the steps of pulling pants up and down, sitting, etc. are new to the child and repeating these stpes will be good practice. Step 5 Success! When the child has a success, give double rewards! Also, teach the child to wipe from front to back and to wash hands. Now, call someone to tell the good news! Perhaps Grandma would love to know or Dad at work (arrange phone calls with the other person ahead of time). Step 6 Accident: Give the child as much responibility as possible when an accident occurs. Have the child change his underwear with as little help as possible and show him/her where to put the wet ones. DO NOT punish the child. Other Tips Train in the summer because of increased thirst and less clothing required.
Have the child sit on a folded towel while playing.
If the child isn't "getting it", seems stressed, or looses interest, it's okay to stop training the child and try again in a month or more.
The earlier you start, the longer it will take to potty train. If I had to train my own children all over again, I think I would wait until they were nearing 3 years old!
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