Expert Parent Advice

Potty Training Do's and Don'ts

Potty training – is it more stressful for parents or kids?  Our goal is to make it less stressful for everyone. 

I’m Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, and I’m proud to partner with Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies for the Expert Parenting Advice series.  Today, we’re talking about the DO’s and DON’Ts of Potty Training.

Let’s start with the DOs…

DO – wait until your child is 2 ½ to begin potty training unless he begs you to begin before that.  Most parents start toilet training before the child is emotionally and physically ready, which leads to disappointment for both parties.

DO remember that it’s called Potting TRAINING for a reason.  You are TRAINING your child to be a more independent and self-sufficient little person.  It is a learning process complete with ups and downs.  When the time is right, break the task into small steps, and train your child on how to pull his pants down, how to get on the potty, wash his hands afterwards, etc., and encourage each step along the way.

DO make it fun!  Your attitude is a major part of the success of your toilet training efforts.  If you are relaxed and encouraging, your child will take his cues from you, and you’ll avoid the power struggles so common to potty training.

Now for the DON’Ts…

Don’t REWARD your child for going to the potty.  Learning to use the potty is part of a child’s natural desire for autonomy and independence.  Ditch the stickers, M&M’s, and bribes for a new Barbie, and instead use encouragement:  “Wow, you are really growing up!”  “You must be so proud of yourself!” 

This allows your child to OWN his accomplishment rather than going to the potty because he’s going to get something out of it.

Don’t admonish or criticize your child when he has an accident.  As we said before, this is TRAINING, full of successes and stumbles.  Getting angry or showing frustration will only discourage his future attempts on the potty and will very likely invite a power struggle.  Once you are in a power struggle, he may refuse to go or have accidents just to show you who’s boss.  Pass on the power struggle by remaining patient and encouraging.

DON’T let external “deadlines” put undue pressure on you or your child to complete toilet training.  Parents frequently get stressed about completing toilet training before the child begins preschool or attends a camp.  These artificial deadlines may interfere with your child’s natural readiness for toilet training and usually lead to anxiety for the parent and setbacks for the child.  Look for a childcare setting that will support your efforts in potty training, like Kids ‘R’ Kids.

For more helpful tips on successful potty training, check out the interactive that goes along with this video.

For ongoing solutions to your parenting challenges, visit us often for Expert Parenting Advice.

I’m Amy McCready for Kids ‘R’ Kids, and I’ll see you next time!