It seems like everyone has their own ideas about potty training, and you have probably seen lots of lists that cover this very subject. That’s okay, though, as every kid is different, and what works for one child may not work for another, so getting as many methods to try as possible is a good thing. That way, you are more likely to find something that works in your situation. Here is what worked for my kid.
I tried a lot of things before I started to use any kind of reward system. You know the old saying that you can catch more flies with something sweet than something bitter or sour, right? Well that works with potty training too. You can get your kid to stick with the training and try their best when you use reward rather than punishment. You still want to use some punishment and stern conversation every now and then, but a reward system works great.
What I did specifically was make up a star chart for my daughter. I awarded her a star every time she used the petty, every time she woke up dry, every time she said she needed to use the petty and every time she did a number two. You can add your own reward items as well. She liked the idea of the stars, and you can use stickers or just draw stars on the chart. On top of that, though, when she got five stars in a category, she would get ice cream. She had something to work for beyond mommy’s approval and a shiny star on her chart and that really helped.
Put in the Time
Another great way to ensure that your child sticks with the potty training program and has fewer accidents is to spend plenty of time with them. Keep asking your kid through the day if they need to use the potty. Be sure to ask as soon as they get up and right before bed to avoid bed wetting. This is going to take some work, and you may not have time for all the other stuff you want to get done if you do that. I suggest handing off the household chores to someone else, such as a family member or cleaning service like Diamond Cleaning Service, at least a couple time as week. This frees up your time a bit and allows you to work with your child.
As you put in the time to ensure that your kid doesn’t have any accidents, you can get stressed out by all he things you know you need to get done that you are not doing. I suggest cutting back on as many things as you can and trying to focus on what’s important as you potty train.
Keep in mind that your child many not say they need to pee every time they actually need to. You may just have to have them sit down on the potty and try. You may also have to wait with them by the potty until they do something. Eventually, you will figure out the pattern of how often they need to use the potty.
Reinforce the Potty Training Idea
I also bought some products that helped the potty training sessions along. I bought my daughter a bright pink potty training book designed for kids. It was shaped like patty seat, and you may have seen a few of these if you have looked at kids’ books very much. The book encouraged the idea that it is normal for big kids to use the potty, and it encouraged her to use it more.
I also let her pick out her potty training seat. Getting your child involved in the process can help and can make them feel like they have some control over what is often a frustrating time where they feel like they are constantly failing.
Your child is going to have accidents as you go through this process. It is important that you do not constantly berate them. Express your disappointment, sure. When they have an accident, you need to let them know that you are not thrilled with that, but also provide encouragement at every step of the process. Use reassuring words and let your child know that you are not mad and that you believe they can be accident free. Your child, depending on the age, may not understand everything you are saying, but he or she will pick up on your tone and facial expressions, so you use those to tell your kid that you support them.
Be positive as much as possible and any small victory should be celebrated. Whenever your kid does well, make sure they know that they are appreciated and that you are very happy that they managed to do the right thing. This will help them to keep at it rather than make them feel like they are making slow progress.
Have a System for Handling Accidents
There will be accidents, and you need to know how to handle them. Have extra underwear and wipes on hand wherever you go and be prepared to deal with accidents at any time. It is a risk to put your kid in underwear instead of diapers, but it can be worth it to keep pushing forward with potty training. Diapers can retard their progress and make them feel like they are free to do what they want and disregard the training, so use underwear as much as possible. Just be ready to handle accidents and have a system in place for handling both number one and number two. Be prepared for the worst every time you go out, and you will be much happier. If you are fully prepared, you will be less likely to lose your temper at your kid. Take a change of clothes and cleaning supplies everywhere so that you can get through the accident and back to your life.