Potty trained children allow you the freedom of not having to constantly change diapers. However, having said that, how many parents can truly call this a delightful experience?
The problems with potty training are myriad and even on completion, you are not sure whether your child is truly trained as there could be relapses and regressions. In fact, it is one continuing battle between the parent and the child till final learning is achieved. As my three year old puts it, “Have patience mama, it’s a virtue and will help you achieve anything, even teaching me to use the potty.”
Step 1: Assess his readiness to start using the potty
This is very essential and many parents make the mistake of pushing their child too early, only to face the music later. Believe me, toddlers can be stubborn and you need to cajole them into accepting this new routine. No amount of anger or frustration will help get them to use their potty. It would do you good to remember that all children are different. So, potty training ages would also differ from one child to the other.
Step 2: Get a good potty, which is comfortable and liked by your child
If possible, have your child select his or her potty as this will help in the long run. I know this might sound silly to you but believe me when I tell you that some toddlers are very specific as to the kind of potty they want and will use. I remember a niece of mine who made a living hell for my sister when she insisted on peeing only in a pink potty. My sister was travelling at that time and forgot to bring her usual potty so she settled for one from the local store. However, my niece was not buying it -- no amount of cajoling helped as she continued to pee and poop in her diapers. Only when my cousin got her another pink potty, similar to the one she used at home, did she get onto the potty again.
Step 3: Create a routine where the toddler uses the potty so as to get himself/herself familiarized with the process
You could start by placing your toddler fully clothed on the potty while explaining the process. Ideally, this should be done at a time when you know your toddler is most likely to have bowel movements. Make sure that he or she is really comfortable. You can place it in the living room or anywhere outdoors initially. Later, of course, you can both remove the diaper when the child is ready and also move to the bathroom.
Training pants are a good addition at this point as they help you in your endeavor.
However, at all stages, be ready for a relapse or regression to earlier behavior and be sure to treat the situation calmly. Additionally, if there are any accidents, handle it calmly and never make it an issue. Remember you should never make potty training a power struggle issue as this will make your child rebel against it and will not help you attain final success.
Always remember that day and night training does not happen simultaneously. So, it would help to train your toddler during the day before you try night training.
Last but not the least, it is important to understand that potty training for peeing and pooping also happens at different stages.