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8 Potty Training Tips That Really Work

By on June 28, 2015

If you stopped to calculate exactly how many diapers you’ve changed since the birth of your toddler, you’d probably burst into tears. But the finish line is in sight: It’s time for potty training. What’s the best way to successfully transition your little one from diapers to big-kid underpants? Here are our eight best, parent-tested potty training tips that really work and will help you make the move with a minimum of stress and accidents.

1. Don’t rush it: There’s no question that getting your kid out of diapers is a huge — and welcome — milestone. But if you try to push the issue before your child is ready, you’re setting yourself up for frustration and failure.
Age isn’t a good indicator. Some kids are fully ready for potty-training at 18 months, while others are pushing 4 years old before they get the hang of it. Is your child ready? Look for signals like expressing an interest in the potty, letting you know when he or she has to go, and wanting a soiled diaper changed promptly.

2. Stay relaxed about the process: Potty training is very much a two-steps-forward, one-step-back type of thing. Your child may seem to have the potty completely mastered for several days in a row, but then regress and want to be back in diapers.
This is completely normal. And, of course, accidents will happen. If you go with the flow, your child will, too — expressing frustration or impatience (or, worse still, scolding your child) will only make things worse.

3. Consider bribes: M&Ms are a time-honored potty training tradition, mainly because they work. We give our daughter one M&M for every pee on the potty and two M&Ms for every poop (“If you go poo, you get two. Poo and pee? You get three!” Yes, we have completely lost our minds around here.)

4. Lavish praise is key: Whether or not you use a system of rewards, you should lavish your child with praise for all potty-related successes. We have found that playing up the “you’re such a big girl now!” angle is particularly effective.

5. Be willing to commit: In the early phases of potty training, you should have your child sit on the potty at regular intervals — every half hour or so (it goes without saying that the day before a long family road trip is not an optimal time to start this process).
Do not let your child talk you out of this. Oftentimes kids will swear six ways to Sunday that they don’t have to go right now and then release a veritable torrent of fluid as soon as they sit down. And be prepared for extremely short notice in the beginning — sometimes the “I have to pee!” announcement precedes the actual peeing by only a few seconds at most.

6. Remember that poop is different: Many children will have peeing on the potty mastered long before they’re comfortable pooping there. Accept this quirk as one of the many joys of potty training.

7. Take them shopping: The lure of “big girl” panties or “big boy” underpants has proved irresistible for many a potty-resistant toddler. Let them pick out the underwear they like the most and promise they can start wearing them just as soon as they’ve gotten the hang of going on the potty.

8. Watch out for pull-ups: While “pull-up”-type diapers can be handy for frequent potty visits in the early stages of training, they tend to disguise the uncomfortable wet feeling a child gets after having an accident, which can be an important part of the training process.

We’re so not sure about no. 3, YOU?

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