On your marks, get set, go potty!
Too bad potty training doesn’t quite happen like that. It’s a process that requires patience on the part of Mom and Dad and some thought adjustment on the part of your child. It takes time for her to figure out what’s required, get used to the idea, and eventually perform her first big duty on the throne.
As you know, there’s no one right way to potty train. Feel free to try out different approaches, improvise a bit, and stick with what works for you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a plan in place to help ease the transition. Here are some starting points for creating your own plan.
Set up a routine
Come up with a simple potty-training routine that you can follow without too much trouble. It’s a good idea to keep your child’s potty in the same spot and have her follow the same instructions to “go potty” each time. If you allow her to just sit for a while, keep the length of time she is expected to sit there the same with each visit. Try to include the same steps each time: sitting on the potty, cleaning up and wiping (whether anything actually happened or not), and washing hands. Pretty soon, your child will know what to expect.
Observe potty time
The idea is not to be on helicopter potty patrol, but to casually and positively observe what is going on in there.
You’ll want to see at what point, if at all, your child gets distracted or off-track. Remember: The two of you are a team here, and the sooner you identify the potty-training challenges and come up with solutions, the sooner you can give up diaper duty for good.
Praise big time
No matter what actual actions take place, be sure to offer praise with every potty-training attempt. If your child goes through each of the steps that you’ve outlined as part of your potty routine, gold star! Share your routine with all caregivers (spouse, sitters, day care providers) so they can lead your child through the same steps you do on each visit to the bathroom. Above all, do your best to remain positive, even if he slips up and has an accident. There’s always tomorrow — a lesson that applies not only to potty training, but life in general. And there’s no time like the present to learn it!