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1 Terrific Toilet Training Tip

1 Terrific Toilet Training Tip

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.”

Kate Raidt Kate Raidt is author of The Million-Dollar Parent: How to Have a Successful Career While Keeping Family a Top Priority and founder of advantage4parents.com. She is also an alumnus of the Southwestern Company's summer work program. Kate is also the mother of two young children.
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