Toilet training is the process of teaching your child how to use the toilet for urination or defecation. Normally, children are ready for toilet training by age 2 though some may begin slightly earlier or later. Children usually give certain signs to show that they are ready for toilet training. If you are a parent seeking to know when and how to potty train a toddler, you need to keep an eye out for these subtle signs in order to rise to the occasion and flow with your child’s timetable.

According to Lisa Asta, M.D, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and clinical professor of pediatrics, at University of California, San Francisco, parents should not worry much about when to start potty training. When a toddler decides it is time to go on potty, they will let you know in no uncertain terms, says Asta.

So, rather than fretting when and how to potty train a toddler, look out for the following signs of readiness:

Signs that he is about to relieve himself/herself such as grunting or squatting down.

A desire to imitate mommy or daddy’s toilet functions

Signs of genital awareness

Feeling uncomfortable in soiled diapers

When you finally sense that your child is ready for potty training, it is time to facilitate the process. Now that your kid is ready, here is how to potty train a toddler:

Give the child his or her potty
Most children begin to show the desire to have their own things by the time they are 2 years. To make toilet-training easier for your child, give them their own potty. Some parents prefer keeping several potties throughout the house, however, experts say that you should stick with one potty preferably in the bathroom for repeated use. If you opt to get a potty seat, make provision for a step stool since humans cannot empty their bowels or bladder completely unless their feet are comfortably pressed against the floor.


Pick the right time to start potty training
Though your child is ready for toilet training, you need to pick the right time to start the process. Just like everyone else, your toddler’s learning ability is affected by changes such as moving, taking a vacation, divorce. If you are going through such changes, you might consider delaying potty training for a while until the child settles and seems relaxed in a predictable routine. In addition, to make sure toddler is able to potty train effectively, they should transition from the crib to a kid-bed. This will give the kid access to the bathroom 24/7 on their own whenever they need to use the potty.

The process
Begin by placing a potty on the floor next to one of your toilets and wait for the child to go with you when you go to relieve yourself. When you sit on your toilet, the child is highly likely to sit on his own potty without any prompting.

If the child does not sit on his potty when you sit on yours, it may be necessary to place him on his potty when you sit on your toilet. Initially, the kid is likely to sit on the potty with clothes on and just sit there for a while. Rather than hurry him, allow the child to get used to sitting on the potty but let him observe you when you pull down your clothes before sitting on the toilet. Since imitation is a powerful tool, the child is likely to learn fast that he should pull down his pants before sitting on the potty.

When embarking on the process of how to potty train a toddler, do not fret whether he goes potty or not during the first few training sessions. Instead, after several minutes of sitting on the potty with clothes off, flush and wash his hands. To motivate him, shower him with lots of praise for trying.
Teach proper hygiene-There is no better time to teach your child good hygiene than at this time. Teach boys and girls to wipe front to back, to flush and wash hands with running water afterward. To encourage the toddler to wash hands, consider buying soap with kid-friendly colors. In addition, come up with a method to make sure that he washes long enough such as singing a popular kids’ song or the Alphabet while cleaning up.

Get rid of diapers
Diapers are necessary to protect furnishings and apparels from getting soiled; however, they can hinder your baby from effective toilet training. Uncovered children usually learn better how their body work compared to children who have diapers all the time.

Teach the child words for his/her action
Being able to talk will help your child to communicate when he wants to relieve himself. To help your child verbalize what they are about to do, teach them the right words for toilet functions. Since children may find words such as defecation and urination difficult to understand or pronounce, use child-friendly words such as go pee or go potty to describe the act.

Encourage a routine
While some children accept to be placed on the potty at certain times during the day, others are quite fussy about it. To make it easier for both of you, set up a routine for your child.

Normally, placing the child on the potty after breakfast in the morning will encourage bowel movement since some people have a gastro-colic reflex that stimulates bowel movement after eating. In addition, encouraging your child to have bowel movements early in the morning will help in starting his day with a clean slate.

When learning how to potty train a toddler for nighttime, ask the toddler to use the potty just before they retire to bed and make sure the potty is close by so that they can use it in the wee hours of the night. There will be a few accidents, so consider waterproofing the mattress.

Dress your child in toilet training pants
Once your child has been able to stay relatively dry for a few weeks, you may need to put him in training pants. These look like the conventional underwear but they are padded to absorb the occasional accident when the child soils himself as he masters the newly acquired skill.

When embarking on the process of how to potty train a toddler, know that you cannot force them to use a potty. If the child is not ready, they will not use it. But eventually, they will want to toilet train.

Ultimately, you need to know that toilet training is a process that takes time and should not be rushed since some children take longer compared to others. Whatever happens, stay positive about your child’s achievements, with time he/she will master the skill. If you rush your child through the process or put too much pressure, it can lead to negative feelings and interfere with the process.

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