You’ve decided that the time is here. Your child is ready. You’re ready. So what’s next?
First, make sure your attitude and expectations are in the right place. You should be feeling relaxed and positive. You should also understand that the learning process can take as long as six months or more, so eliminate any need to toilet train your toddler in a day. Just like learning how to walk, talk, or use a spoon – learning to use the toilet can, and should, be a gradual, pleasant experience for both of you. Before you even place that potty in the bathroom, it’s time to set up your supplies and do a little planning.
Deciding on your potty training approach
There isn’t one right way to potty train a child. There are many different approaches that can lead you to success. As you make decisions about how to embark upon this grand endeavor, consider these things:
- What is your child’s learning style? How has she learned other new skills? Does she observe and absorb before she tackles something, or does she dive right in and work her way through it? Is she a thoughtful listener or a hands-on doer?
- What things do you do that most encourage her to try something new? What actions bring the best results? Is your enthusiasm enough to get your child to attempt something new? Or do you need to convince and persuade her before she’ll give it a try? Will she do anything her older sibling or cousin does?
- What is your teaching style? Do you explain verbally before you show? Do you show step-by-step with commentary? Do you silently demonstrate? Do you set things up and let your child figure out what’s happening on his own?
- How much time do you have? Are you home all day with your child or home only part of the day? Will you have an uninterrupted chunk of time to get started, followed by snippets of time every day afterward, or will you be fitting training into bits of time in your already busy schedule?
- What are your goals? What do you think would be easier for you: changing diapers or assisting your child on the potty? Would you rather focus intently on potty training for a couple of weeks and move things along? Or are you content to coach and teach while you let your child set the pace, mastering one step at a time?
- Who will be the teachers? Will you potty train on your own, or will more than one person be involved in the training?
All of these issues will affect the toilet training experience. Taking some time to consider these points will help you plan the best approach for you, your child and your family.
Elizabeth Pantley is the author of the bestselling book The No-Cry Sleep Solution and 8 other books in the No-Cry Solution series, which helps moms and dads through all key stages of parenting. These tips are from The No-Cry Potty Training Solution.