← Go back Potty Training Basics: Tips and Tricks that Work
Published on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 by

“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” The same idea applies to potty training. Children need a worthwhile reason to cooperate with potty training because they are giving up the convenience of going anytime, anywhere and the personal attention garnered by having their parents change their soiled diapers.

A child who is truly potty trained, will recognize when they need to pass urine or have a bowel movement, and to be able to get their pants up and down on their own.

Q: How do you know when it is the right time to begin potty training?

A: All children reach milestones at different times but on average most children begin to demonstrate signs of readiness between 18 – 24 months of age. Before this age, very few children’s muscles are developed enough for the bladder control necessary for potty training.

Local parent and early childhood educator, Jannel Shute says her daughter was already displaying signs of readiness at 12 months of age. “She would come to see me the moment she would soil her diaper and want it off. She was very aware of what was in her diaper, so awareness is a great sign to look for.”

Another sign is seeing the child leave the room when they are doing their “business” because they want privacy or feel embarrassed that you are watching them poop.  Signs to look for are as follows: your child tells you when they need to go, dislikes wearing dirty diapers, and understands what a toilet is and how to use it.

Modern marriages, dual careers and time-sensitive schedules require new methods to achieve successful toilet training. There is no one size fits all approach and this is very evident when hearing the varying opinions of many parents enduring the process.  Monique Gonzalez, mother of two toddler girls swears by the reward method. “I let my girls choose a small treat when they use the potty properly.”

Praise, encouragement, laughter, lots of love, hugs and kisses work well too but according to Jannel Shute, letting her daughter choose her own panties is what worked best for her. “When children are rewarded for doing tasks, they begin to expect it all the time. My daughter loved princesses so I knew that letting her choose her own panties was beyond exciting for her.”

There is so much to take in when it comes to how and when to potty train your child.  Most parents agree that boys train a little later than girls but this isn’t always the case.  “My son was very eager to learn, and I taught him by allowing him to watch and imitate me while I was using the toilet, says Miguel Guandique. I taught him that is was important to aim at the center of the toilet, and bought a small seat attachment for the toilet because he was scared about falling in.”

When it comes to training boys, it is very helpful when daddy can demonstrate and allow them to copy what daddy is doing. It is also very helpful to have older siblings who have been there before to encourage their younger siblings!

Summer is a great time to try potty training. The weather is warmer, and your child can play outside without a diaper. Allowing your child to be bottomless provides them with the feeling of when they need to use the potty.

When it comes right down to it, potty training your child is serious business, but be sure to add a little fun, a ton of patience and remember to always stay positive. There are many ways to get the job done, find what works for your child and stick with it!

Parent Approved Tips and Tricks

*  Provide special “potty books” that they can read only when sitting on the potty.
*  Try rewards like stickers, small treats, big kid underwear, and lots of praise
*  Purchase a musical potty or toilet seat in a fun kid themes
*  Set a timer to remind them to try to go potty when the timer buzzes
*  Let them play target practice, aim and shoot!
*  Try the coloured water trick: add red or blue food colouring to the toilet and when they pee, the water turns green or orange
*  Boys can start out sitting on the toilet backwards, helping them to automatically aim in the right place

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