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Ten wise tips for learning to go to the bathroom

1. Wait for them to be ready. All children develop at different rates. If your oldest child learned to go to the bathroom at age two, that doesn’t mean your second child will. If your neighbor’s child is potty trained, it doesn’t mean yours should be. Your child needs to be ready, or it will be a long battle and a frustrating struggle. So wait for your child to show signs of being ready, like going long periods of time without making a diaper dirty. Recognizing your need to go to the bathroom, or even just a fascination with the bathroom.

2. Don’t fight them. If you’re fighting over it, stop and try again in a week or two. As soon as potty training turns into a fight, it’s time to quit. If it’s a power struggle, your child will win. Your child is learning about himself and becoming an individual, and often his individuality is expressed through resistance. Don’t let that be due to potty training.

3. Help them understand what is happening. Books, movies, etc. often helps. This is a learning process, so so many supports and helps can improve. If your child has a clear understanding of what the potty is, when he uses it, and how he uses it, it won’t intimidate him as much and potty training will be much easier.

4. Be consistent. You can do “naked noon” where every day for a couple of hours they wear only their underwear and use the potty. If you find that you can’t be consistent every day, consider a potty training weekend, where you spend the entire weekend in potty training.

5. Remind them every two hours. Your child will ignore his body’s signals to play, eat, or sleep. So help them by giving them a reminder and taking them to the bathroom every two hours to go to the bathroom. This will help them recognize the signs and get used to going to the bathroom.

6. Make the bathroom easier to use. Dress them so they don’t struggle to get their clothes off in time to get to the bathroom. Get a stool, potty chair, or potty ring to make every step of the potty training process easier.

7. Rewards and positive reinforcement. They work well for many children. Praise, sticker graphics, treats, or toys for success, it all works. This is not a bribe, but rather a way to help your child stay excited and celebrate the thrill of their success.

8. Make it fun. Potty training is often scary, so do little things to make it more fun, like running to the bathroom with them, getting a fun soap to wash their hands, teaching them ditties and songs to use when they’re in the bathroom. Help them choose fun underwear, etc.

9. Help them recognize the sensations of going to the bathroom. Sometimes a lack of success in potty training is due to not understanding how your body works. So, give them a big drink, then tell them what to expect, then in half an hour or so, have them. Soon, they will equate the sensations with the need to use the potty, and they will do better.

10. Stay inside. Do not try to learn to go to the bathroom while you are away from home, on vacation, etc. Stay home for a few days to make it familiar and easy for your child to get to the bathroom when needed. As they gain better control, you can venture further.

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