Potty training can begin long before your child sits on one. Learn how to start with these 8 simple ways to prepare for potty training.
I wrote about our successful three-day potty training experience. But to assume that all can be perfect in three days isn’t exactly accurate.
The three days refer to a “cold turkey” introduction to using the potty and not relying on diapers. But successful potty training doesn’t mean all is perfect in three days.
For one thing, accidents will still happen, even until these days, which is normal. And potty training involved early preparation long before we started our three-day potty weekend.
8 simple ways to prepare for potty training
1. Buy a potty and allow your child to feel comfortable around it
Introduce the potty chair to your child in a casual and playful manner. Leave it out in your home and have him practice sitting on it. Allow him the chance to form positive associations with anything potty-related.
2. Gradually have your child sit on the potty, even with clothes or diapers on
Some days, my son would sit on the potty for several minutes without a diaper, even if no pee ever trickled out. We wanted him to get used to sitting so when the time comes to pee in the potty, the seat wouldn’t feel so foreign to him.
Other days though, he refused to sit naked. Rather than make a big deal out of it, we asked him to sit with clothes on, or if we were even luckier, with a diaper on.
3. Discuss how pee and poop come out of their bodies
We explained that pee comes out from his penis on the front and poop comes out from his butt on the back. Sometimes the biggest hurdle for kids is the shock of seeing their pee and poop. They may feel reassured knowing that this is all quite normal.
4. Take them with you to the potty
Depending on your comfort level, take your child with you when you pee. I’m modest and didn’t want my child seeing me naked, but I was still able to show him that everyone pees on a potty.
5. Buy and hype up undies
Like the potty, introduce undies in a fun and casual way. Mention that you wear undies, and that she’ll get to wear undies herself. She can even help pick some out at the store.
6. Read books about the potty
My son loved reading the book Potty by Leslie Patricelli (affiliate link) and other potty books from the library. Even if your child doesn’t “get it” yet, reading about it is enough to prepare for potty training.
7. Empty a poopy diaper into the toilet
Remove your child’s diaper in the bathroom so he can see you dump his poop into the toilet. He’ll understand that poop can fall into the toilet instead of his diapers.
8. Praise your child when she tells you she has a dirty diaper
My son was never one to tell us he’s about to pee or poop, but he told us when he already did. Praise the fact that your child was able to recognize when she has pooped and that she mentioned it to you.
Potty training—or as I like to say, potty practice—isn’t an overnight success. Kids don’t master it in three days perfectly. Preparation takes place long before potty training in a gradual way to help them master the skill.
Get more tips to prepare for potty training and toddler life:
- The Do’s and Don’ts on Preparing for Potty Training
- How to Potty Train a Toddler in 3 Days
- When You Feel Guilty about Adding to the Family
- How to Run Errands with Kids (And Not Go Crazy)
- Toddler Routines: How to Structure Your Day
Tell me in the comments: What simple ways to prepare for potty training have you tried?
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