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Ah, toilet training – by far my most frustrating part of being a parent. I have potty trained both a boy and a girl and have learned one terrific tip that worked wonders on both of my children.
When my daughter was close to 2-years old, I started putting her on the toilet with no problems at all. But one day I lifted the toilet seat to find a spider crawling inside the toilet. I screamed bloody murder and made a dramatic scene to get rid of the spider. From that day on, my daughter wouldn’t come close to a toilet.
So I bought a fancy, plastic Dora toilet. Surely this will work. Wrong.
Then I bought the seat-on-top-of-the-seat thingy-majig. Nope.
At my daughter’s 3-year check-up with the pediatrician (a year later) I shared my agony on potty training. The pediatrician asked me, “Have you tried having a potty party?” A what? Here is the simple tip my pediatrician gave me that got my daughter to finally “go” in the toilet in two short weeks:
How to Have a Potty Party
- 5 minutes after every meal or snack, put your child on the potty for 5 minutes
- Set a timer so your child hears the “ding” when the 5 minutes is up.
- During this 5 minutes, have a potty party: read books, play music, sing songs – anything that’s fun.
- Don’t mention going pee or poop. Just let your child have her party.
- After the 5 minutes is up, if there is no pee or poop, no big deal – don’t mention it.
- If they do make a pee or poop, celebrate like you’ve never celebrated before!
Other tips for successful potty training:
- All children are ready for potty training at different times. My daughter was eager to sit on a toilet at 18 months. My son was not ready until about 30 months. If you sense a big resistance from your child, don’t push it. They just aren’t ready yet.
- Never punish or criticize a child if they don’t use the toilet or if they have an accident in their pants or bed. Positive reinforcement is the only method that should be used.
- Remember to always bring an extra change of underwear and clothes when you leave the house. I have learned the hard way…the one time you don’t bring a back-up is the one time your child has a big accident.
- Never, ever, ever, ever scream if you see a spider in your toilet – or you can add an extra year to your child’s potty training time!
Naomi Schafer, early childhood specialist, says, “I potty trained my daughter, Elizabeth, at 1 year 8 months. I think the key is to have a very structured plan, while being really enthusiastic. However, be prepared to be flexible. Any major body or lifestyle change is difficult (not just for kids). Having a very structured plan makes it easier for both you and your child. Things will not go according to your book, and expecting it to can be unrealistic and stressful.”