Top 5 Tips for Potty Training Success

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You always want those baby-raising milestones to be as fun and effortless as they seem on your favorite mommy blogs, but there’s nothing particularly fun (and certainly not effortless) about potty training. It’s a complicated process that can take months or even years to come to fruition. There are stops and starts, tantrums and successes, battles and the occasional total breakdown. While all is in service to your little one taking another step forward in his growth and development (and of course ridding your life of diapers as quickly as possible), you must roll with the punches and not expect perfection. Yet there are ways to improve your chances of avoiding a trip to the mental health ward. Here are five of the top tips for potty training success.

pic4First of all, you must be consistent. Once the process begins you cannot give up, no matter how frustrating it has been. Create a timeline for trips to the bathroom and stick with it. Even if you are setting your child down on the training toilet every twenty minutes to ‘try’, consistency is key. You’ll have more failures than successes, but it will help your child develop an understanding of when he needs to go. And recognizing the need is just as important as a successful toilet trip.

You also cannot be afraid to tell some white lies. While your child’s toilet deposits aren’t actually feeding the fish or traveling to some magic fairy land where they transform into golden bricks used to build princess castles, there’s no harm in telling your child these things. Whatever gets them excited about the process is a positive, and you’re not a terrible mom for pulling the wool over their eyes, no more than when you share stories about the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. Some day they will go to the toilet on their own, but you have to do whatever is necessary to get them moving in the right direction.

Also take the time to get dad involved in the process. Even if you’ve become the queen of potty training you might be surprised at the power of a different voice every once in a while. Your son may listen more quickly when dad asks, simply to show off to his father. Some boys just naturally respond faster to potty training when a man leads the charge. And if things have gotten stressful with you and your child around this, a calmer person intervening will never be a bad thing.

While you may think it will disqualify you for any ‘mom of the year’ awards, don’t be afraid of employing the properly placed bribe. Kids don’t always see the reward that comes from potty training, as mommy is always there to change the mess. But if a successful toilet trip earns them a new bouncy ball or a piece of candy, that could be the exactly what’s needed to puts the whole process over the top. Just be consistent with that reward and have them out in plain view, either in the bathroom or right out on the counter so they know what their good behavior will earn.

Finally, don’t be discouraged by the time it takes. There is a wide range of ages at which children are ready to handle potty training, and every kid is different. And even in the best of cases you’ll be wiping behinds until your child is four or five, and helping them in unfamiliar basement toilets or public restrooms until they are six or so. Take the failures in stride, and you’ll help your child stay calm about the whole thing. The more stressful it is for your child the longer the process will take. So allow it to run its course and everyone will be better off for it.

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