by Dr. Laura Jana,
Associate Director -
Boys Town Institute for Child Health Research and author of Heading
Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality
The secret to successfully teaching your child to use the
potty involves learning to read the signs of potty-training readiness, such as
having your child hide when he has to go poop, express discomfort when he has a
dirty or wet diaper, and take notice whenever he feels the need to go to the
bathroom. Your efforts should be focused on helping your child become better
acquainted with the bathroom, keeping the process stress- and battle-free, and
making this monumental step towards independence fun. Children start to show many
of the signs of being ready to potty train right around the time that they also
develop the desire to be in charge. From the day you start teaching your child,
try to let him be in control. Pick a potty seat you know he’ll enjoy; make the
time you spend together in the bathroom fun by bringing along some books and
plenty of patience, praise and words of encouragement; and be sure to teach by
Potty Training Tips
- Poop goes in the
Potty. Have your toddler accompany you each time you take his poopy diapers
into the bathroom, empty their contents into the toilet, and flush. This is an
easy way to have him make the connection that all poop goes in the potty.
- Focus on Flushing.
By allowing your toddler to flush each time you or anyone else goes to the
bathroom, you can increase his interest in the (appropriate) use of the toilet
while decreasing the likelihood that he will become afraid of it.
- Watch for the Signs.
Watch for telltale signs that your child is ready to potty train. These include
stopping what she’s doing, hiding in a corner when she needs to go, and asking
to be changed when her diaper is wet and/or dirty.
Bathrooms. Since you’ll be spending a lot of time there, make your bathroom
both inviting and safe by getting a fun potty seat for your child to sit on and
putting a little basket of books next to it so he’ll be entertained (and
willing to sit) longer. Be sure that all medicine and toiletries are safely out
of reach and install a safety latch on your toilet seat to keep him out of
trouble and out of danger!
- Sitting Before
Standing. Teach boys to sit on the toilet instead of stand – both so that their
pee stands a better chance of actually ending up in the toilet, and because
they need to be willing to sit in order to poop on the potty!