If you are thinking of potty training your toddler, then picking summer to do this is a good decision. Here are SIX reasons.
Most parents go on vacation during summer so they can spend more time with the family. That means they have lots of time to potty-train their toddler. They can make all the trips with him or her to the bathroom throughout the day without any disruptions. The more time they spend making sure their toddler perfects this new skill, the better at it he or she will get.
Wearing less clothing
Summer is the season to wear less clothing in order to beat the heat. Toddlers, in particular, are allowed to run around butt-naked or with less clothing, which makes them more aware of their bladder and bowel movements because of the fear of having an accident. This helps with potty training because it signals to them to go on the potty when they feel the need to relieve themselves. Potty training also becomes easier since there is no hassle of taking off a lot of or heavy clothing before putting a toddler on the potty, as parents would in winter. The less challenging potty training is for a toddler, the more comfortable they will be with it, and the easier it will be for them to grasp it.
More places to train
Outdoor activities during the summer like going to the beach, camping, hiking, or just having fun in the backyard provide more places for toddlers to potty train, outside the home. In case a toddler has accidents while he or she is starting out, it is better if they happen at these places. Better having poo or pee in the backyard garden than on the living room carpet.
Drinking lots of fluids
We drink lots of fluids during the summer to stay hydrated. For your toddler, this means more trips to the loo. And more trips also mean he or she will have more time to practice with the potty.
Accidents dry quicker when the weather is hotter. Besides, a toddler will find it comfier with a bare bottom astride his or her potty when the weather is warm than during a cold and frosty winter.
If a toddler is starting pre-school in the fall, potty training in summer is very necessary. Most pre-schools won’t admit toddlers who are not fully potty-trained. So the summer break is the perfect opportunity and motivation to help your child cross this hurdle.
If you have decided to potty train your toddler this summer, you will find these tips a lifesaver:
Make sure your toddler is ready. Your toddler has to be ready before you potty-train. Readiness for potty training usually has nothing to do with age but with physical, developmental or behavioural milestones. Some children may be as ready as 18 months while others are when they are three years old. All in all, these are some readiness signs you should look out for:
- Your toddler stays dry in his or her diaper for two hours max.
- Your toddler can pull down his or her diaper, training pants or underwear.
- Your toddler can get on the potty, stay on it long enough to pee or poo and get off it all on his or her own.
- Your toddler shows a keen interest in wanting to use the potty and to be independent. For instance, he or she may ask questions when they see others using the bathroom.
- Your toddler understands and communicates ‘potty language’. For instance, he or she can say ‘I need to go poo’.
- Your toddler connects going potty with the feeling of pooing or peeing.
- Your toddler understands and can carry out simple instructions.
- Your toddler likes to imitate your bathroom habits.
Show your toddler the signs. Help your toddler to know the signals of when he or she needs to go on the potty. For instance, squirming, holding their genital area or squatting. Then tell them to let you know anytime they feel like going. Praise them anytime they tell you they need to use the potty.
Be patient. Potty training will try you as a parent. That’s when patience, perseverance and positivity are needed. There are days you may have accidents and days you won’t, but it’s all part of the process of getting your toddler to master this skill.
Don’t be too hard on your toddler. Praise or reward your toddler anytime he or she gets something right and ignore his or her mistakes. Be careful too of your choice of words. Don’t use words like 'stinking' or 'dirty' which may embarrass your toddler.
Have potty breaks. Make time for potty training. The best time to do this is after your toddler eats or drinks. This will encourage them to use the potty after meals. You can also try early mornings when they wake up and before bedtime. If you are now starting them out, let them sit on the potty chair without a diaper for a few minutes. Potty breaks should be every two hours. For starters, you can let them leave their clothes on. During this short break, sit with them and let them read a book or play with their favourite toy.
Be prepared. Have a couple of potty chairs and place them at vantage points. The bathroom is best or wherever your toddler may be spending most of his or her day. That way, you can get things done on time and avoid accidents. Take a potty chair with you when you are out of the house too.
Teach them hygiene. Teach girls to spread their legs and wipe from front to back to prevent getting an infection. And teach boys to wipe too. Also, teach both boys and girls to wash their hands after using the potty.
Trade diapers for training pants. Take your toddler off diapers when:
- You have had a couple of successes with potty breaks
- He or she stays dry in their diapers for the most part of the day consistently
You can now try him or her on training pants or underwear. Remember to give your toddler a treat to celebrate this progress.
Play some psychology. Buy your toddler some fun underwear with images of their favourite cartoon or toy characters on them. Tell them they get to wear them after they go on the potty. This makes them learn fast. Besides, because some toddlers love these undies so much, they would rather go on the potty than go in their nice undies.
Get your toddler involved in choosing the potty. Go shopping for the potty seat or chair with your toddler. Let him or her choose one in their favourite colour. Their excitement over the potty chair or seat will get them excited about potty training.
Use a sticker chart. A sticker chart comes in handy to keep tabs on progress made. Hang one in the bathroom or near the potty. Whenever your toddler does something right, like washing their hands after peeing or pooing, let them put a sticker on the chart. This kind of reward is very encouraging for toddlers. Click to download our fun sticker chart and stickers.
Use entertainment. Make potty-training fun to keep any anxiety at bay. Make up a potty-training song you both can sing while on your way to the bathroom or when your toddler is on the potty. You can also read their favourite books to them or let them play with a toy.
Teach by example. Children are very impressionable. They are copy cats. Take your toddler with you to the bathroom when you need to use it. As they observe how you go about your numbers 1 and 2, they will get the whole idea. Dads can take on the boys while mums the girls. But go with whatever suits your family.
Encourage toilet use. You can also potty train your toddler using a regular toilet with a child seat fitted to it instead of a potty chair. In this case, you need to give your toddler a footstool or step stool. This will help them get on the toilet and to maintain their balance. If it’s the first time for your toddler, do not flush after they use it. Some toddlers get frightened by the flushing noise. Wait till they become familiar with using the toilet and then introduce flashing to them bit by bit. You may even create a fun game out of flashing or tell them a funny story about flashing just to get them to relax and become used to the noise.
Be extra patient with boys. Boys, unlike girls, have a hard time differentiating between their numbers 1 and 2, perhaps because of their anatomy. You can help your toddler out by teaching him to pee sitting down first and then teach him to pee standing up.
Have naked time. This works like magic! During the summer months, let your toddler run around naked. They will become more aware when they have to pee or poo with no diaper on. To avoid an accident, they will be more than eager to go on the potty.
Try target practice with boys. It takes time for most boys to get their aims right. This is where target practice comes in handy. You can do this by placing a target in the toilet bowl and asking your toddler to aim at it. You can also use a potty training urinal. These are specially designed to help boys with their aiming. They come with funny aiming targets to give your toddler more aiming practice.
While you are at potty training, have these essentials handy:
- 2 spare clothing
- 2 or 3 pairs of underwear or training pants
- A portable potty seat or fitted child seat (for toilet use)
- Footstool or step stool (for toilet use)
- Some diapers (in case of an emergency)
- Flushable wipes
- Hand washing soap
- Sticker chart and stickers (have you downloaded ours?)
Well then, best of luck with potty training this summer!
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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