Potty training is a hit-or-miss venture for new parents, and different parents will adopt different strategies to achieve a diaper-free world. But no matter what your M.O., you’ll need a few tips and tricks to help you along the way.
Remember the Boy Scouts’ code: Be prepared
Whether you begin potty training your young one as early as possible, or wait until you’re sure he or she is ready, it’s unlikely your child will succeed straight out of the gate. And it’s even less likely you’ll go accident-free for long. So be prepared. When your child is potty training out on the town, bring an extra change of clothes and some wipes. Additionally, lightweight portable potties are available for purchase to help your tot get used to a pot. Hopefully you won’t need them, but you’ll be very grateful to have them if you do.
Have sympathy for the struggle
If a child has trouble potty training (as many children do), it may have something to do with stress of a pretty dramatic change in his or her life. Grown-ups take using a bathroom for granted, but you’d do well to remember that your child has never done anything other than to simply go when he needs to go.
And, in fact, it’s even more challenging than that. Recognizing a need to urinate is something that comes naturally to you now, but that’s only after years of practice. It’s actually a fairly complicated process, involving a recognition of a sensation and a corresponding control of muscles never before used by your child.
To understand this better, try to imagine having an itch in the same spot several times a day. Further, imagine you’ve always had this itch, but that it automatically and regularly scratches itself. Over time your body would stop even registering the itch, because it gets taken care of without any effort on your part. Now imagine you have to train your body to recognize that itch, and then control your muscles to not scratch the itch until an appropriate time.
With a healthy imagination, it becomes much easier to have sympathy for a child struggling with potty training.
Have some fun with it
Diaper changing is not much fun, and many parents are understandably eager to get their children potty trained as soon as possible. But patience is ever a virtue, and the same is true for potty training. So relax, parents, your kids will master the skill eventually. In the mean time, make a game of it to both ease your child’s mind, and increase the odds of success. Some parents offer incentives for successful potty use, others think of a fun potty song (our goes: “Pah-tee! Pah-tee! Pee-pee in the pah-tee. P-O-T-T-YYYYYYYY! P-O-T-T-YYYYYYY! Pah-tee…pah-tee…”). Whatever works for you and your child is fine, as long as it’s fun.