As parents, we get very excited for milestones. When our baby first smiles, it melts our hearts. That first laugh is like magic in the air.
Learning to crawl is thrilling and those first bites of food are amusing. When our child says their first word, we are sure we have the smartest baby to ever live on our hands.
Some milestones are very exciting, yet require a lot of work and stress before you achieve them.
One of those milestones is potty training.
Having a child potty trained and diaper free is absolutely amazing, but getting there can be one of the more stressful ventures you will take.
Let’s talk about five tips to make potty training easier on everyone involved.
Have a Game Plan
You will want to have a plan going into potty training. Your child has been doing the bathroom thing a certain way for his or her entire life. It is going to take some time and effort on your part and his or her part to get them to change their ways.
For most kids, winging it will not work.
Fortunately, there are many methods out there for potty training that do work. You just need to find one that appeals to you and your lifestyle best.
One very popular method right now is the OCPT method. If you need it done fast, there are some 3-day potty training theories out there or you can take it slow and steady.
There are many ways that work; just find something that is best for you.
Distract Your Child While on the Potty
No matter which method you go with, it is always helpful to distract your child while on the potty. One of the best ways to go about this is by reading books.
Reading a book will help your child relax while sitting on the potty and will help your child have the patience to sit long enough to make things happen.
LeapFrog® has several books that this would work well for. Check out their 100 Words books, including 100 Words About Places I Go™, 100 Animals Book™, and the Learning Friends 100 Words Book™. They have a variety so you can get one to best suit your child’s interest. One really fun thing is that they are bilingual!
One of my favorite things about these books is that they are interactive, so if you are feeling exhausted (and you get that way while potty training), you can let the book do the talking! These books are touch-sensitive and will entertain your child while sitting on the potty.
Have Ways to Entertain Your Child
You and your kiddo will be spending a lot more time together while potty training. You are going to want to have some things to entertain your child with while you watch him or her to make sure they’re going potty when they need to.
Movies, games, and toys are all great ways to entertain your little one. It is also a great time to get some learning in.
I love the LeapFrog® Mr. Pencil’s ABC Backpack™ and Mr. Pencil’s Scribble & Write™. The Scribble & Write™ is great for learning letters and numbers, handwriting, and even spelling. It has a stylus and touch screen for tracing the numbers, letters and shapes. You can also free draw.
Mr. Pencil’s ABC Backpack™ is great for letters, phonics, and drawing. The screen shows how to write letters step by step, and also teaches letter names, letter sounds, and an animal that begins with that letter.
These are easy learning activities that are ready to go and entertaining, but involve no mess. You will be cleaning up enough messes throughout the process and don’t need any extra work!
Have Little Rewards
Positive reinforcement is a fantastic way to help motivate children toward any goal, potty training included.
I always liked to focus on the child staying clean and dry. I would ask my kiddo if he was clean and dry at certain intervals in the day. If yes, he would get a small reward (like one piece of candy).
I would also reward my child for using the potty.
For some kids, I did a reward initially just for sitting on the potty for the allotted time.
As time went on, I was able to back off of the constant rewards. I didn’t want constant rewards, but I wanted the experience to be full of positive associations.
Have a Big Reward for Big Milestones
The rewards work well to start, but you will quickly want to move your child away from getting a reward every time anything related to the potty happens.
You can accomplish this by moving from a reward each time to working on a sticker chart. You can give your child a sticker every time he or she is clean and dry, sits on the potty, or uses the potty.
Once the chart is filled up, your child can get a new toy!
The LeapFrog® Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart™ is a great option for a large reward to work toward. This allows your child to make imaginative yummy ice cream treats with different ice creams and toppings. As is true with all LeapFrog® toys, there is a lot to learn from this toy. Your little one will learn memory skills, sequencing, and colors.
Potty training can be stressful, but it is definitely a milestone worth working on! You and your child will be very excited once you reach that blessed day of being diaper free.
Valerie Plowman, known as "the Babywise Mom", is the happy mother of four children. She has been helping parents with their parenting concerns at BabyWiseMom.com since 2007 and loves helping others absolutely love being a parent.