The first milestone for your toddler is crawling, followed by walking, and then, being potty trained. The last one is major and is a big event for both the parent and child. It means the end of diapers and drudgery and the beginning of your kid’s journey toward total autonomy. 

However, potty training can be an incredibly stressful process. Every new parent wonders how to deal with the task in the most efficient and least emotionally draining way possible, but it can be tricky. The following are a few tips from the experts that might help make things move along a lot smoother.

The Best Age

You may have heard of other parents, or even your friends, bragging about how they themselves learned to use the potty at two. Whether or not this is heresy, most experts would agree that three years old is actually the best time to show your toddler the ropes. At that age, they are more sophisticated, developmentally speaking, which makes the process a lot easier and quicker. Furthermore, there will be fewer accidents, so that’s an extra boon to waiting.

Besides, when they turn three, your child will be eager to feel more like a “grown-up” by experimenting with different behavioral patterns, so it makes sense that things will be faster when it comes to potty training at that age. Starting at two can be like pulling teeth and is more painful for everyone involved. It pays to be a bit patient in this area, in more ways than one.

Use a Comfortable Seat

Getting your kid potty trained, obviously, means investing in some essentials to help them feel comfortable while attempting to learn this new skill. The key to doing so is to purchase a comfortable toilet seat for training, one that will not tire them out and will also fit. – A training toilet seat will come in handy, whether you buy a portable potty for them or use the one you already have. The seat is a major factor in the success of this “project” and how quickly your child can get this new skill down.

Phase Out Diapers

So long as you continue to keep your toddler swaddled in diapers, it can make things a lot more frustrating than necessary. They will be comfortable and forget that they need to use the potty, so they will use the diaper instead. The best thing to do is to invest in some underwear and start phasing out the diapers – you can still use them when you take your kid to the park, for example.

That way, your kid will quickly realize that they feel uncomfortable when they are wet, so they will try to avoid that sensation as much as possible and will remember to use the potty as a result. Besides, it can be a good motivational tool; you can take them to the store and ask them to pick out underwear with their favorite cartoon character to help get them more excited about potty training.

Positive Reinforcement

Offering your child small goodies like a few stickers, a small candy bar, or even rewarding them with a movie night with mommy and daddy whenever they remember to use the potty is an excellent way to keep them motivated. It doesn’t have to be anything major; just be sure to remind them that they have done a good job and that you are proud of them. On the other hand, if your child has an accident, try not to dwell on it too much or take punitive action – experts typically advise to simply say something along the lines of “next time, try the potty.”

Positive Reinforcement

Start a Schedule

One way to help facilitate the process is to start a potty training schedule and stick to it. You can make a fun one with stickers to help your child keep track of when they should use the potty, and incorporate a rewards system into it to help provide extra motivation. The regularity of a schedule is a reminder for both you and your toddler to keep up with the task at hand and makes the process feel more systemic with easy-to-reach small goals as opposed to one large, gargantuan, and frustrating task.

Turn Poop Into an Educational Tool

It might seem a bit bizarre at first, but it’s helpful to get things going by singing songs about poop and reading books about it to your child. There’s a reason why the children’s book market is swamped with potty training books. Reading or singing to them while on the potty can make the process more enjoyable and fun for your child, which will help them relax. Since this is a new skill for them, it can be rather daunting, and injecting some humor and silliness into the proceedings to help normalize things is an excellent way to keep them engaged while also “demystifying” a strange process for them.

Know When to Take a Break 

Some children can pick up potty training fairly early while others learn later than average. If your child is still having trouble after a couple of weeks of training, it’s completely fine to take a break and come back to potty training later on. Perhaps they are not fully ready yet, or maybe both of you just need some time off from the task at hand, either way, it’s usually best not to force things. 

You should also remember that boys learn differently than girls, and they typically take more time. They will have to learn when to sit down, understand when to stand up, and so on. Therefore, you will have to teach them more than one skill, so it’s normal for that to take time. Just remember to be patient; your child will get the hang of it eventually. 

Finally, try to make the process fun! While it can be tiring, and sometimes even messy, try to look at it as a way to bond with your child, and do your best to help them reach an important milestone that will have major rewards for the two of you. Just be sure to look for the right products and buy plenty of potty training books to help guide them through the process.