Is Your Child Struggling With Potty Training?

Potty training normally starts with toddlers somewhere between 24-30 months. According to Johns Hopkins University the average age of toilet training is 27 months. If your child is beyond this age range, that’s ok. They may not be ready for this part of their developmental journey yet. If you are concerned that your child is struggling with potty training, understanding these tips will help alleviate some of your anxiety and provide some assistance when your child starts to exhibit signs of potty training readiness.

Signs your child is ready.

There are few signs that your child may be ready for potty training. Mentally, your child has to sense the urge to go in order to be successful in their potty training journey. However, your child probably may not have the words to communicate the urge to potty yet. Instead, your child may exhibit some of the signs below:

  1. Pulling at wet diaper
  2. Hiding to go potty.
  3. Copying behavior of family or following them into the bathroom.
  4. Staying dry longer than usual.

You or your childcare provider may have noticed some of these signs with your child. If you have noticed two or more of these signs or your child is verbally telling you when they need to go potty, you should consider starting a potty training schedule with your child.

There is no right time to start potty training. But you should at least wait until your child starts to exhibit some of these signs. If you start before your child is ready, it will only frustrate everyone involved in the process. Even if your child does demonstrate these signs, there is no set time frame on how long the process will take. So, remember to be patient, listen to your child, and match your expectations with their individual development and behavior.

Choosing the right potty.

If your child is ready, you will need to have the right tools to help them on their potty training journey. The key tool for helping your child develop this tool is selecting the right potty. Generally, there are two potty types available, a standalone unit or a toddler sized toilet seat. A standalone potty chair is a separate chair, or (kids toilet), for your child with a bowl that can be emptied into a toilet after your child uses it. A potty seat fits over the existing toilet seat in your bathroom but is sized specifically for toddler use. Both are acceptable options and the choice of which to use depend on your child and the structure of your home and household. Additionally, you may want to consider a (toddler urinal) if you are potty training a boy. There are pros and cons to each these and variations on each as well. Make sure you do your research to pick the one that best supports the development of your child.

Potty training techniques.

Just like there is no right time to start potty training, there is no right way to teach your child how to use the potty “like a big girl.” But there are a few common techniques you can choose to implement or reinforce what you believe is the best way for your child.

Set a schedule — Keep your child on a regular potty schedule once they start the training process.

Involve the family — If your child has older siblings get them involved in the process. Let your potty training child see you praising the older child for using the toilet. If appropriate, have the older siblings reinforce the schedule you set and praise their younger siblings on their potty training journey.

Use toys — Some children learn new skills by teaching the behavior to their dolls or stuffed animals. If your child learns this way, you can use a toy to have your child “teach” the toy how to pull down its pants and use the potty. If your child does not have a suitable toy for this you’ll have to get one with removable clothing.

Don’t punish — Your child will make mistakes during this process. When it happens, remain patient, be calm, and do not punish them.

Use training paints — Again, mistakes will happen. Using training pants along with the introduction of their potty chair or seat is a great way to help celebrate their ongoing development. Additionally, continuing to wear diapers after the potty training schedule has started could be confusing.

Whatever techniques you choose want to make sure you keep it fun and recognize your child for their accomplishments. Use songs, toys, and lots of praise and rewards to encourage your child on her journey. This positive reinforcement will go a long way to demonstrating to your child that when they show signs of progress on their potty training journey, that it is a good thing and something they should continue.

If your child is having continued issues with potty training, a pediatrician may be able to help. A doctor may be able to recommend additional techniques, suggest additional books or tools, or provide insight specific to your child. The physicians at Almouie Pediatrics are a great resource to help you and your child on their potty training journey.