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 While people say your child can’t go to college in diapers, it does not make the potty training any easier when you are elbow deep in the process. Luckily the best advice is from parents who have gone through it. Whether you have a boy or a girl, there are many different ways of getting the results you are after, which is for every parent, a child who is potty trained sometime before college.

One of the first things to keep in mind is that every child is different. What works for one child may not work for another, so it's important to be patient and flexible. Some children may take longer to potty train than others, and that's okay. The key is to find what works best for your child and stick with it. With that in mind, here are 20 potty training tricks that can help you and your child navigate this important milestone.

Knowing When They Are Ready

When is Your Boy Ready?

  • Age: When most boys get to the ages between 2 and 3, some may be ready earlier or later.
  • Interest in the toilet: Your son may start showing an interest in the potty chair or watching others use the toilet.
  • Dry diapers: If your son’s diaper stays dry for longer periods of time, that is a positive sign he is ready for toilet training.
  • Understanding bodily functions:  He may start to understand the feeling of wanting to use the bathroom and even tell you when he needs to go.
  • Pull-up diapers: If your son can pull his pants up and down, he may be ready to start using the potty.

Signs When Girls Are Ready

  • Age: Most girls are ready to start potty training earlier than boys but on average around 2 or 3 years of age.
  • Interest in the toilet: Little girls may start showing an interest in what an older sibling is doing in the toilet.
  • Dry diapers: When your daughter’s diaper stays dry for longer periods of time.
  • Understanding bodily functions: Your daughter may start to understand her body parts and when she has to go to the bathroom and even tell you when she needs to go.
  • Big-kid underwear: At a certain age when she is excited about the pull-up diaper.

Getting Started with Potty Training

Potty training can be a challenging task, but with the right gear, routine, and communication, it can be a smooth process for both you and your child. Here are some tips to help you get started:

What Gear to Use

When starting to potty train, it is necessary to have the right gear. You can get a child-size potty or an adapter seat that fits on your regular toilet. Be sure to choose one that is comfortable and safe to use. It’s also a good idea to get some colorful underwear, preferably of your child’s favorite colors. It will most likely help with motivation.

Keeping a Schedule

Creating a potty training routine and sticking to it from the beginning can make a big difference. A great way is by sitting your child on the potty at regular intervals of your choosing. Encourage them to sit on the potty for a few minutes, even if they don’t need to go. Increase the time gradually between potty breaks as your child gets more comfortable with the process for consecutive days, and show lots of praise.

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Potty Training Schedule

Talking Them Through the Process

Communicating is the next step in the process of potty training to help your child understand what’s happening. Speak to them in clear language to explain how to sit on the potty and how to use it. Allow them to ask questions if needed, and be patient as they learn. The little curious ones will have questions.

Potty Training Tips

When it comes to potty training, there are several techniques and tips that can make the process smoother for both you and your child. Here are some of the most effective strategies to help you get started:

For Boys

Potty training for boys can be more problematic than potty training for girls.

  • Keep it fun: Boys love to play games, so to make potty training a fun experience. Here’s a good one, set up for target practice in the toilet bowl and encourage your little boy to aim for it.
  • Cotton training pants: Cotton training pants are a good option for starters instead of regular underwear. It helps with comfort and is easier to clean up in case of a bowel movement. 
  • Proper wiping technique: It’s essential to teach boys the right way to wipe after using the little potty. Boys are prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs). Show him how to wipe from front to back, and encourage him to use moist wipes for a cleaner experience.

For Girls

For girls, the training could be easier than with boys, but there are still some things to keep in mind:

  • Make it comfortable: Girls tend to prefer a comfortable and cozy environment, so make sure your daughter’s potty area is warm and inviting. You could even add some fun decorations or toys to make it more appealing.
  • Use cool underwear: Just like with boys, it’s a good idea to use special underwear during the potty training process. Girls may enjoy picking out their own “big girl” underwear, allowing them to pick their favorite pairs. 
  • Offer rewards: Positive reinforcement is a necessary motivator especially to encourage a job well done for both parent and child. Consider offering a reward like sweets, playdates or screen time. It’s better than buying a $10 toy every time they use the potty. Try sticker Charts.

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Potty Time Setbacks 

Potty training can be a challenging experience for both parents and children. It is important to remember that setbacks and accidents are a normal part of the process. Here are some tips to help you handle setbacks and accidents with patience and consistency.

​Leave the House

Don’t be afraid to leave the house because of possible accidents, but when you do have a change of clothes. In the first stages of potty training there probably will be accidents. If your child has an accident, staying calm and taking a deep breath is important, it is not the end of the world. Start with short trips and gradually introduce them to public bathrooms.

The potty-training process is not an overnight journey, in time you will be using fewer diapers. Always focus on positive reinforcement when your child has success. 

Nighttime Challenges

Nighttime training is a different kettle of fish, as children may not wake up when they need to use the bathroom.

Introduce training pants or a waterproof mattress pad to protect your child’s bedding. Make sure your child uses the bathroom before they go to bed and limit their fluids a couple of hours before bedtime

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Transitioning to Independence

Potty training is a significant milestone for both parents and children. It is a transition from diapers to independence. Here are a few tips to help your child make this transition smoothly.

From Diapers to Underwear

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests at the first signs of readiness you should introduce big-kid underwear to them. This helps children understand the difference between wet and dry and will start to recognize when they need to use the potty.

Another option is using disposable training pants as they are similar to underwear but more absorbent. This can be handy with your nighttime potty training This can be helpful when you are out and about or during nighttime potty training.

Encouraging Consistent Use

Encouraging consistent use of the potty is crucial to the success of potty training. You can start by creating a routine. Have your child sit on the potty at regular intervals, such as after meals or before bedtime.

Be patient and give clear, basic directions on how to use the potty. You can also use a reward system to motivate your child. For instance, you can use a coffee filter as a reward chart and place a sticker on it every time your child uses the potty.

It is also essential to encourage hygiene. Teach your child how to wipe properly and wash their hands after using the potty.

Out and About

When you are out and about, it is important to be prepared or your trip might be cut short. Bring an extra set of clothes and some wipes in case of accidents. For health and sanitary purposes, you might want to use a portable potty seat to make your child feel more comfortable using public restrooms.

For children attending preschool or daycare, make sure to communicate with teachers about their potty training progress. Cooperation between parents and teachers can help ensure consistency and success.

Remember, every child is different, and some may take longer than others to become fully potty trained. Be patient, and celebrate your child’s progress, no matter how small.

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