Perhaps one of the days you wait for when you're a new parent, is the day when you won't have to change another dirty diaper, am I right? Well, that day finally came for us! Woohoo! It took weeks of preparation. The potty actually sat in a box in the corner of his room for months, but we finally timed it during a long rainy week in Southern California, which are far and few between. We knew we were going to be stuck at home indoors most of that time, so we finally opened up the box and set up the potty station in a corner of our bathroom, complete with his own bath rug and decorated with children's potty books. You think your magazine rack next to your throne is impressive, well take a look at ours...
Here are a few helpful tips:
1. When is the right time to potty train? We started our son at around 2.5 years old, now that he's starting to communicate with us more verbally.
2. Show your child what the potty is - We found it helpful with some books we purchased and borrowed from the library. Some of our favorites are "Once Upon A Potty", "How to Pee" and "Potty Power" which explain what the potty is and the potty process in a cute, fun way.
3. Be patient and persistent - Your child may fight it at first, but be patient with them. It always helped when I made a game out of it or used it as story time to read our potty books. Our son loves when we read to him. Sometimes when he really resisted, I'd make pretend we're soldiers and give him a salute, which he would copy, then we'd march together step by step into the bathroom. It became one of our daily routines. Once they start to get the hang of it, be persistent with them, and have them go every hour. We did that and slowly spaced it out until it came to a point where he would communicate to us when he needs to go.
4. Reward and encourage your child, don't get mad - In the beginning of potty training we'd give our child a small treat, and clap or do a "potty dance" every time he did #1 and when he was comfortable to do his #2 business, we'd still do dance, but with our noses in the air. There will be some times when they won't make it to the bathroom on time. Don't get mad, just be understanding and emphasize to them that they need to tell you when they feel like going. We would always have our son help clean the wet spots so he knows not to do it again, but we would never get mad.
5. Wash hands, rinse and repeat - Don't forget to make a habit of washing your child's hands after every bathroom session as good practice. Eventually your child will get conditioned to go to the potty, that they won't need diapers or pull-ups any more. We skipped the pull-ups entirely and went straight to the underwear. There were many daily laundry washes, but we think it expedited the process because he couldn't depend on the diaper or pull up anymore. He's gotten so good in the past few weeks, that he's already graduating from the potty to the toilet.
It's a great milestone once it's accomplished and another sign that your child is growing up. I may not miss changing dirty diapers, but I will miss the times we had making funny faces at each other by the changing table.