Have you ever discovered your child hiding under the table making grunting noises when it’s time to go number 2? Can they tell you in complete sentences that it’s time for a change? Do they whip off a dirty diaper like nobody’s business?
Sounds like it could be time for training pants.
In all seriousness, potty training can be messy. There are so many questions and places to second guess yourself — starting with when to actually start. According to Dr. Jill Campbell, staff psychologist at The Pump Station & Nurtury, two signs that your child is ready to ditch the diapers are if they are able to stay dry for at least two hours at a time during the day and if they are able to walk to and from the bathroom.
But, whether your little guy is ready or not, it’s going to be a process full of trial and error. Our tip is to begin splitting your Bundle with both diapers and training pants (yes, you can do that!), so that you can give training a try on your own time and in the right situations.
Here are a few of Dr. Campbells suggestions for success with the potty:
Teach Them About It
Get some books about using the potty. Make sure that you like the language that the books use and the way that toilet training is explained. Start reading the books to your child. You can even make a custom potty book for your child.
Make it Fun
Let them put their dolls or stuffed animals on the potty. Have them tell their dolls what the potty is for. Bring out books to read while on the potty.
Help them Succeed
During the day, try to help your child recognize the sensations of having to go potty, going potty, and having just gone potty. Comment on signs you notice such as pausing in play, squatting, straining or grunting, or moving as if she is uncomfortable after just going. Say matter-of-factly, “You are going pee or poop” (or whatever words you want to use) instead of asking, “What are you doing?”
Free the Bum
Let your child be naked in appropriate settings so that they can see more clearly when they are going. This will help them make the mental connection between the words and the behavior. If the weather permits, it is a good idea to sometimes do this in the backyard. Have the potty there to show the connection.
Take a Step Back
After your child has been successful at using the potty several times with your suggestion, begin to pull back a bit to see if he will use the potty on their own. You don’t want to be constantly asking them if they have to go potty, because you want them to have that sense of control. When an accident occurs, don’t make a big deal of it.
Find even more helpful tips from our full interview with Dr. Campbell here.