Transitioning from using diapers to independently using the toilet is a natural progression, a skill that humans have been honing for generations. The journey out of diapers is an inevitability that varies for each child. Rather than imposing a rigid “toilet training” regimen on them, the key lies in creating an environment conducive to learning, also known as gentle potty training. The objective is to facilitate this process in the smoothest and least demanding manner possible. Consider this as a gradual educational journey that unfurls over time, not unlike other forms of learning and mastery.
Outlined below is a comprehensive, step-by-step manual for embracing child led potty training:
Read books about toileting your toddler
A fantastic gender-inclusive read is “Potty” authored by Leslie Patricelli. Additionally, gentle parenting potty training companions in the form of dolls can prove to be incredibly advantageous. These dolls often become beloved by most children, serving as valuable aids in the process. Furthermore, upon acquiring a potty, it’s a great idea to ensure that your child’s cherished teddy bear also gets the chance to partake in its use on a consistent basis.
Kids learn through modeling
Initiate conversations about your bathroom activities while involving your child in the process. Allow them to observe as you carry out these tasks. For boys, there’s an added advantage in witnessing the actions of other boys or their father as they utilize the toilet facilities.
Let them copy other kids
Having slightly more mature cousins or amicable friends who are open to utilizing the bathroom in the presence of your young child can offer significant value in setting an example. When it comes to boys, consider turning the experience into a playful activity by introducing a small target within the toilet bowl for them to aim at.
Put a potty in each bathroom
In this manner, children have the opportunity to engage in sitting practice whenever they desire, even while they accompany you in the restroom. It might be advantageous to have a portable toilet available in any area where your child frequently occupies, such as the playroom, the living room, or even the kitchen.
Don’t rush or force
Gently motivate your child to take a seat on their potty, while they’re still dressed. This practice aids in establishing muscle memory for them to effortlessly sit down and stand up from the potty, all the while ensuring their comfort in this position. Transform the act of sitting on the toilet into a festive and enjoyable experience, even before the thought of using it for urination arises.
For example, keep a collection of books within reach of the potty. Infuse the process with whimsical songs or special cheers each time your child sits down or rises from the potty. Remember, it’s crucial to refrain from coercing your child into sitting on the potty or staying there against their will.
Once they’re comfortable on the potty..
..ask them if they want to sit on it without clothes. They might say yes or no. Don’t make a big deal. (If he says no, just say, “Okay. You’ll be ready to sit on the potty without pants soon.”) Your goal is to make him comfortable. Read potty books and other fun stories while they sit there. Toddlers are busy. You need to make the potty a place they like being if you want them to spend enough time there for something to happen.
When your kids pee or poop in the potty..
..sing a happy song, dance, or march in the house. But also celebrate other achievements, like when they go up high on the play area or when the sun appears. Don’t make too much fuss about them using the potty, so he doesn’t feel stressed. They’re still learning, so don’t force them to keep using the potty – it’s up to them. Remember, they should be in charge. No stress.
Don’t force them to wear an underwear yet
Actually, don’t talk about underwear until your child talks about it first. Let them decide, let them pick it, and take your time. If you rush, accidents might happen. Cleaning up after accidents can make you upset, and your child will know.
Teach signs if they’re about to poop
People usually prefer being alone when they poop, and it’s okay if they want to do that. Remind them that the bathroom is where poop goes, and you’ll assist in removing their dirty diaper when they’re ready. It might take some time for them to start telling you, but they’ll understand that when they feel that way, it’s bathroom time. Later on, they might start pooping in the bathroom with their diaper on. Once that’s a usual thing, you can ask if they want to sit on the potty to poop, even with their diaper on.
Buy toilet seats your kids love
Seats that flip have a usual toilet seat and a learning seat. Some children might enjoy a seat that plays music when something is put in it. You can search online for potty training seats and find many options. Personally, I find the ones mentioned at the bottom of this article really good, and my clients have found them very helpful.
If “accidents” happen, don’t show any unhappiness. Otherwise, your child might feel too much pressure and stop trying. Keep in mind, no child wants to think they’re not doing well or making you unhappy. If they feel that way, they might not want to attempt it at all. So when accidents occur, just shrug and say with a friendly smile:
Make using the toilet a habit
In the beginning, your child might need help understanding when it’s time to go to the bathroom. If you see him getting restless or about to squat behind the couch, kindly remind him. When your child does realize and tell you that he needs to use the bathroom, even if he doesn’t make it in time, it’s a chance to praise his improvement.
See great results with the gentle potty training method
Switching from diapers to using the toilet is a natural journey, unique to each child. Instead of strict “toilet training,” focus on gentle potty learning in a supportive environment. Gradual progress, like learning other skills, is key.
Remember, every child progresses differently. By making potty learning a positive experience, you empower them to master this important skill.