Have you tried all the potty training methods out there and your child is still not potty trained? Do you fear that your 3-year-old will never be able to ditch diapers for good?
When it comes to potty training my stubborn 3-year-old, I’ve exhausted every training method/tips/hacks I’ve learned. From trying the 3-day potty training program to throwing the potty training party and then to use the reward system, nothing seemed to work. My son still had frequent accidents and would scream when it’s time to use the training toilet.
I spent a few months potty training my son only to realize that he wasn’t showing signs of readiness. Besides, there are a few common mistakes that should be avoided before you take on the delicate process of potty training your child.
Mistakes to avoid on potty training
Don’t potty train too early
Research has shown that many kids will not master bowel movements on the toilet until well into their 4th year. About 50% of boys are trained by age 3 while 66% of girls are trained by age 3.
Attempting to potty train before your child is ready can increase your child’s sense of insecurity and anxiety towards using the toilet. So, don’t compare it with other kids. Every child is different and being potty trained at an earlier age doesn’t equate to being smarter!
Make sure that your child is ready by checking for signs of potty training readiness.
Accidents are normal
Accidents are completely normal and expected during the process of quitting diapers. It can take about 3 to 6 months for your child to adjust from peeing in the diaper to peeing in the toilet.
So next time when accidents happen, don’t get frustrated or give your child a hard time.
Learning how to pee and poop in the potty happen at different times
The feeling of having a bowel movement and urination is very different so it is normal for kids to learn how to pee and poop in the toilet at different times. Sometimes it can take up to 6 months for kids to control bowel movement after they mastered urination in the toilet.
Baby Chunbao learned how to poop in the toilet first. It wasn’t until about a month later that he started to used the toilet for peeing.
Avoid clean ups after accidents happen
Parents often change the diaper immediately when it is wet or soiled. Before you attempt to clean up, let your child feel how uncomfortable it is to be walking around with a wet or soiled diaper.
Give lots of encouragement
Scolding a child when accidents happen will make him associate using the potty with negative feelings. Positive enforcement if very important during the toilet learning process. So, praise your child next time when he asks to use the toilet, used the potty, or wash his hands after he’s done.
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7 key steps in potty training a stubborn child
Potty training is a very important milestone for parents and children themselves. However, it can be frustrating if you have a stubborn child that just doesn’t get it after you’ve tried everything you’ve learned on potty training.
Here are 7 key steps in potty training recommended by the AAP and from my experience potty training my stubborn 3-year-old!
Determine the correct expression for using the toilet
All caregivers should use the same language when teaching kids on using the toilet. For example, “go pee-pee or poo-poo”. This is especially important for multi-lingual families. The word for using the toilet may be different at home and at school. It may confuse or delay your child to communicate about using the toilet before they go if different words are used to describe the same thing.
Stock up on supplies
Although you can technically put your child on the toilet directly, it is very uncomfortable for them as our toilet is too big for their tiny bodies. Besides, the “hole” in the toilet can be intimating to most kids.
To minimize their sense of insecurity, provide a potty training toilet that is designed for them. You can put their name or even stickers on the toilet so that they feel that the toilet belongs to them.
I have found that most potty training toilets are designed for smaller kids. If your child is too big for the training toilet, try to use a toilet seat instead. Also, put a small stool in front of the toilet so that his legs are not hanging on the toilet.
Try not to hold your child while on the toilet as much as possible. This is to establish a sense of independence and self control of the potty environment.
Having some flushable wipes handy takes the stress out of toilet training. We love the Kandoo flushable wipes because it’s very gentle and wipes much better than toilet paper. The wipes are smaller than your standard wet wipes, making it easier for small hands to use.
Put the training toilet in the bathroom
Place the training toilet in the bathroom will make the transition to using the real toilet much easier. You want your child to associate using the toilet with the bathroom, not the playroom, bedroom, living room, etc.
Also, if you are unsuccessful with a training toilet, give it some time before you try another brand or switch to using the toilet seat altogether. Switching training toilets may cause confusion and insecurity, making potty training more difficult on your child.
Make potty training fun and comfortable
Encourage your child to sit on the training toilet with pants on as a start. Read books, play with toys or sing songs to make him feel that sitting on the toilet is fun. The last thing you want is to have your child associate stress with using the potty.
If there are older kids at home, have your child observe how easy it is to use the toilet. Kids learn best by observing other kids!
Teach your child to associate elimination with using the potty
Encourage your child to take off her own pants and then sit on the potty chair or toilet seat. Try to explain to her that when the diaper is wet, we take off our pants and sit on the potty.
When your child has a soiled diaper, you can throw the poop in the potty to show her where her waste belongs. Teaching your child to make the connection between their waste with the potty is very important, and many parents ignore this step. Changing diapers immediately will greatly reduce your child’s chance of quitting diapers because she never knows the purpose of using the potty – which is to replace diapers.
Practice, practice, practice!
The goal is to have your child use the potty every time when they are awake. When they pee or poop in the toilet, give lots of praise! Slowly train your child to tell you the need to go. If he hasn’t peed in the past 3 hours, ask him whether he wants to go. If your child usually have a bowel movement on a certain time of the day, ask him whether he needs to poop.
Potty training can take 3 months or longer for kids so when accidents happen, don’t get angry or show your disappointment.
Make the transition to wearing cotton underwear
During the early phases of potty training, you can have your child wear pull-ups. Pull-ups are less absorbent than diapers and allows kids to pull up or down to encourage independence. After a few days of successful potty training, transition to wear cotton underwear. If accidents happen all the time, go back to wearing pull-ups .
Never rush to quit diapers or have your child wear a wet diaper for an extended period of time as a punishment,
Potty training is a delicate process and can take up to 6 months for your child to master using the toilet independently. It is inevitable to encounter setbacks, so use your positivity and patience as you support your child in learning this new skill!
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