It’s easy to feel like you're doing something wrong when you’re a new parent. Sometimes it seems that every toddler you know is “going potty” but yours. While there might be a legitimate medical reason for a delay in potty training for toddlers, most of the time it’s our perception as parents that causes us to fret about it. Everything has a season, including your child’s transition from diapers to bathroom. Here are a few tips to help relieve potty training stress for both you and your toddler.
Designers have worked very hard to update the old, plain white or tan toilet trainers, and you should take advantage of that! Now you can purchase potty seats that are completely portable, cushioned, and colorful. It’s easy to mistake them for toys, which is exactly what you want—for your child to have positive associations to bathroom use.
We pay close attention to everything our toddlers do, so it’s easy to notice when they begin to exhibit bathroom curiosity. Sure, you’d rather he didn't use the toilet paper to build a cloud in the middle of the room, and playing in the toilet bowl is a sanitation no-no, but allowing your child to become comfortable in the bathroom is a key to success. When he asks questions, answer them in age-appropriate terms, and be realistic about what his (and your) body’s plumbing does. He may also begin to ask to have his diapers changed immediately after he soils them, which is a great sign that bathroom use is coming soon.
This is also the perfect time to introduce some potty-specific bedtime reading. So many children’s books have been written on the subject; you’re sure to find the perfect one to introduce your child to the concept of where “it” comes from and where “it” goes. Lots of children are terrified that when they have a bowel movement they’re losing a part of their insides. Providing books with solid anatomical information may help to ease his distress. Rewards charts, gold stars, and yes, even bribes are among the arsenal of the parental potty trainer. The most important thing to remember about any reward system is that it needs to be tailored to both your parenting style (so you’re consistent) and your child’s interests.