Potty training can be a pretty big deal for parents and children alike. For parents, it signals the bright light at the end of the smelly diaper tunnel â€“ thank goodness! For your little one, however, it can bring about some frightening ordeals. It may seem silly to us, but for kids the toilet can seem a new and unfriendly place to sit. The bathroom itself might seem scary enough; when youâ€™re 2 feet tall you canâ€™t reach light switches without help, and youâ€™ve been instructed to park yourself over a seat that bottoms out into a noisy, flushing vacuum!
Explain the details
With potty training comes a lot of patience and explanation. The more your child feels your concern and compassion, the more willing you are to convince them that they arenâ€™t about to be flushed away with the toilet paper, and the more time you spend at their side in the early days, the faster success is likely to come. Explain that â€œbig peopleâ€ use the potty, that now that theyâ€™re a big girl or boy, itâ€™s time to use the potty too. If youâ€™re like most parents, your child probably already joins you quite often in the bathroom when youâ€™re using it, so take the opportunity to see if theyâ€™ll sit on the toilet once youâ€™ve finished. Donâ€™t force the issue, but offer it after every time theyâ€™ve seen you use the bathroom; no pressure, just a little sit.
Read a book
This is a great way to not only spend time with your child (although of course you could probably imagine a more pleasant setting for quality time) but also to grab their attention. If your child likes to be read to, use books as an enticement for sitting on and using the toilet. You can even have a special library of their favourite books, only to be read during potty time. Oftentimes your child relaxes enough that â€œsuccessâ€ is imminent during or after story time.
Treats speak volumes
Sometimes it takes more than a book to entice your child to risk putting their posterior over that great porcelain seat, and weâ€™re not above suggesting an all out bribery. A jar of their favourite treats in plain view might be just enough to get them in the mood. Parents are often surprised at how much more favourable a light their child seeds potty training when a jelly bean or two is on the line!
A special seat
If your child is a bit fearful of the bathroom, and especially of the toilet itself, using a portable potty first may do wonders in the end. Park that potty wherever your child will use it; even if it means that theyâ€™re sitting smack dab in the middle of the living room while watching their morning cartoons. Practise potty times at regular intervals so that your child gets used to their own little toilet, and then slowly but surely ease it into the bathroom. Even if your child insists on using their own toilet at first, using their potty inside the bathroom where the â€œbathroom monsterâ€ lurks is often a big step in the right direction.
Make sure to purchase a potty with a removable seat that will fit easily over your own toilet. Offer to put it on the â€œbig pottyâ€ and gauge Juniorâ€™s reaction. Eventually theyâ€™ll be ready to test it out, even if it means having to use their special seat each and every time.
Use a little light
Sometimes the scariest part of using the bathroom is the dark. Itâ€™s usually the one room in the house without natural light, so anytime in the wee hours of the morning, or in the evening, your child might be inclined to use the toilet, but isnâ€™t ready to step into the dark. This may be an issue until they can finally reach the light switch on their own. Setting up a step stool outside the door might help for taller children, but if your child is very young, clumsy or short, it may not be the answer. Night bathroom lighting or a motion sensor light might be enough to get Junior inside the door, if the light is bright enough.
Even sitting on the toilet bowl is enough of a step in the right direction that it deserves your praise and attention. Donâ€™t be stingy with the praise, and applaud every positive move that your child takes towards ultimately tossing the diapers.
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