Toilet Training Tips

Care Coordinators Michelle DeWald and Kristine White

Toilet training can be a challenge for parents and is one of the most requested topics when parents contact us. So if you struggle with toilet training your child, you are not alone! We have put some of our tips together (as experienced parents and child development professionals) who have been through it:

 

  1. Consider getting a step stool for your child; this will encourage independence when they can get on and off the toilet by themself. They can also use it to wash and dry their hands at the sink when they’ve finished.

  2. Be consistent. Make sitting on the toilet part of your daily routine. It’s ok if your child doesn’t go but making it a part of your daily routine will show that everyone sits on the toilet each day. Ex.  Say something like, “We will go to the park, but first, we need to sit on the toilet.”

  3. Call your child’s private parts by the correct anatomical name. It can be confusing to say “pee pee in the potty” if we also call their private part a “pee pee.”

  4. Keep a stack of books in the bathroom that stays in the bathroom. You and your child can read books while they sit on the toilet. Reading can relieve some pressure off your child to “go” every time they sit on the toilet.

  5. If your child insists on bringing a toy in the bathroom, let them. Not the whole playroom, but a toy is fine. It can be challenging for young children to leave the toys they are playing with. A toy can also be a great distraction from the pressure of “going” for a child.

  6. Try underwear for part or a whole day. Be prepared to clean up messes. Let your child pick the underwear they want from the store; this encourages ownership and independence that may prompt them to go to the toilet.

  7. Sometimes the pressure to go in the toilet with an audience is stressful for a child. Ask your child if they want you to sit with them in the bathroom or if they prefer privacy. You can sit outside the bathroom door to be close by if they need anything. Singing songs together, whether you’re in the bathroom with them or not, is a great way to distract them from any pressure they may feel to go. 

  8. Pick up a calendar from the dollar store. Write “T” or “toilet” on the days they went on the toilet. Show them the pattern of the days they went on the toilet; this is not to shame or reward them. It brings awareness of how many times they use the bathroom each week and celebrates the wins.

 

Remember, potty training is different for each child. Some may be ready and quick learners, while others may take their time. When your child shows signs that they are ready, support them along the way. If it doesn’t work out, it is okay to take a break and try again in a couple of weeks. Remember, you are doing your best! And as with any early childhood need, reach out to us. We are here to support you in any way we can. Call, text, email or live chat, 844.456.5437

 

Here are some excellent toilet training resources that we have found to be helpful:

 

Zero to Three’s Potty Training: Learning to Use the Toilet

PBS Kids: Helping Kids to Learn to Use the Potty

PBS Kids: “Stop and Go Right Away”: 11 Potty Training Tips from Parents

Daniel Tiger’s Stop and Go Potty App

KidsHealth: Toilet Training

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital: Potty Training

Kid Potty Book List

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