7 Steps to Potty Training

Speech therapy in San Diego

How do you know that your toddler is ready? I never start younger than 24 months, sometimes later for boys. Often children who are late talkers are also late potty trainers. The average age for girls to be toilet trained is 29 months, and for boys, it’s 31 months.

IF they are starting to indicate to you that they have gone potty in their diaper, by pointing, or giving a vocalization, sign, or word for “potty,” then they are about ready. The child needs to be aware of it and shows that they notice and don’t like it.

  1. Prep. Use potty books, use songs, start talking to them about the toilet, and “mommy goes on the toilet,” and how “mommy wears ‘panties,” etc. make it a positive, exciting thing.
  2. Buy the necessary items. Get the potty chair and make it a big exciting thing and the pull-ups. “It’s for you – for big girls! Don’t get your pull-ups wet. They’re so cute.” Here’s a link to all the things I think you’ll need on Amazon.
  3. Get them comfortable. Get them comfortable sitting on the toilet. For some kids, this can take a while. Be patient, and don’t force them.
  4. Use Distraction. Books and songs. If they sit for 5 minutes for a book, not only is that learning time, but it’s also hopefully distracting them enough to go. I say 5 minutes is plenty. Maybe ten if they are enjoying the activities.
  5. Provide Motivation. Stickers, a special toy or special treat. First, for sitting on the toilet for 10 seconds, then for sitting for a whole song. Once that happens, then it’s a sticker or treats for actually going if they go a little tiny bit, that’s a good start.
  6. Set a Schedule. YOU usually know when the child needs to go. Try and beat them to it. I’d say take them to the potty every hour or an hour and a half. Ask them frequently, “Do you need to go potty?”… “You will get a sticker!”
  7. Be Consistent. Starting and stopping is NOT going to help the child. Once they have gone in the potty three times on their own, I’d say buy special panties or undies. Let them pick it out. Tell them it needs to stay dry because they are special. You can put them over the pull-ups if they are freaking out about the underwear feel. Or if you are still having lots of wet pull-ups. As the pull-ups stay drier longer, you can put them in just the underwear. However, if they are only in underwear and have an accident, they can really feel it, and they usually don’t like it and then want to use the potty more often. That should be motivating. For naps and bedtime, I’d stick to the diapers or pull-ups for a while longer.

Click here for a potty training song playlist.

Click here for potty training books.

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