For children to be motivated to master the potty, they must be able to take pride in achievements that make them more independent. Commend your tot for participating in her own care while you are feeding, dressing, and bathing her. “You put your shirt on by yourself! Such a big girl!” “You are learning to use a spoon instead of your fingers, just like Daddy.”
Toddlers go back and forth about wanting to grow up. The truth is that they are still babies. To make growing up less frightening, allow your tot to crumble into your arms when he feels overwhelmed instead of insisting that he act like a big boy. Provide gentle nudges toward independence, but don't push!
Children lack an inborn aversion to human waste, so the chance to avoid wet and smelly diapers doesn't provide much of a potty training incentive for most of them. Children who wear disposable diapers usually don't feel the wetness. However, if a youngster often removes his diaper or alerts you when he needs to be changed, start potty training him.
Cloth diapers usually enhance youngsters' motivation for potty training because they dislike the sensation of wetness, so it's a good idea to switch from disposable to cloth diapers before potty training. However, some children don't mind wet or soiled cloth diapers either.
Some children dislike diapers because the bulk between their legs inhibits movement. If your youngster persists in removing his diaper for any reason, begin potty training so he can feel comfortable.
Using the potty is far more sanitary than wearing diapers. The bacteria in human waste produce ammonia, which harms the skin and can cause serious rashes. Encourage an appreciation for cleanliness by expressing pleasure over how nice your child looks and smells after a bath or diaper change. Experts advise against doing the reverse, so don't express disgust over dirty diapers and human waste. If a child feels ashamed, he may not want to admit when he needs to use the potty. You definitely need for him to tell you when he needs help to go to the bathroom!
Is your child interested in putting toys and small objects into boxes and cans? Does she enjoy fitting blocks into the correct slots on three-dimensional puzzles? Some people believe that toddlers who like to put one thing inside another, arrange objects, line up toys, and keep things in order are more motivated for potty training.
Certainly if your child fusses when a household object isn't in the “right” place, you can capitalize on his desire for order. Mention when you need to use the toilet and are going to put your urine or B.M. “in the potty where it belongs.” When changing soiled diapers, mention that, “Children are supposed to put their B.M.s in the potty,” and add that when he gets bigger he'll be able to put his in the potty, too. Have your child watch as you scrape a soiled diaper into the toilet and explain that, “This is where a B.M. belongs.” If he is diaperless and begins to relieve himself, see if he can stop while you take him to the potty, so you can help him put it in the “right” place. Not all children can stop urinating once they've started, but some can. Even if your child cannot stop, you can begin implanting the idea that urine is supposed to go in the potty.
Toddlers need to be able to get their pants up and down quickly. This skill is difficult, and accidents while struggling to remove clothes are common. Have your toddler participate in dressing and undressing as much as possible. Guide her hands to teach the correct motions for raising and lowering pants. Undoing snaps, unzipping zippers, opening Velcro tabs, and maneuvering small buttons out of buttonholes are big challenges for little fingers. Give lots of encouragement when she practices, and don't hurry her.
Youngsters require a lot of help during the initial phases of potty training, and they must be willing to reach out to others. Teach your child to solicit your assistance. Ask her to call when she needs your help with something, and quickly and attentively respond to her requests.
Wanting to be like Mom or Dad can serve as an important incentive if a youngster can observe them in the bathroom, as can the prospect of sharing progress and victories with important friends and relatives. The desire to copy and impress significant others isn't required for potty training — but it definitely helps!
Both the ability and the desire to imitate others will speed potty training. Many children learn by watching peers, parents, or a doll go through the process. Because younger siblings like to follow older ones around the house and are motivated to do what they do, younger children are usually trained at earlier ages. Sometimes they manage to learn with very little formal instruction.