Potty training is not an easy thing to do. That's actually an understatement. It takes time, patience, and consistency. Did we mention patience?😅 We know it can be overwhelming for some of you so we listed down things that you should know before you start potty training.
Identify the Cues and Pattern
It's not always the same for all babies but the usual cues are: change in facial expression and grunting. By the time we start them on regular food, they start to develop their own bowel pattern. It may help you a lot to start taking down notes. You can start with these details: time of meal, estimated time they urinated and pooped. Then you can start adding a few more details that you notice: their usual body cues, do they start approaching you or communicating with you. It's easier to recognize patterns when you write them down.
Start the "Potty talk"
We don't mean the jokes😅 When you feel like your little one is ready to be potty trained, it helps to get them acquainted to the bathroom and how to use it properly. Take them with you when you have to pee and explain each step. One of the important things about potty training is consistency - so it helps a lot for them to see the same steps with the same simple explanation all the time. If you're using a portable potty and you've familiarized yourself with their pattern, encourage them to use it by using the same explanation when you take them with you to the bathroom. Constant communication with them can encourage them even further to try it on their own.
Make it a Part of their Routine
Like we said earlier, consistency is key. This is where a lot of dedication and patience comes in. After introducing it to them, we have to make sure that we create a routine for them that we can also follow. This will take a lot of time. Also important at this stage is to lose the diaper and let them have a "naked from the waist down period" before introducing them to underpants. It's a gradual process and it will be messy at times, so make sure you're prepared for that.☺️ Let them understand that when they have to go, they have to communicate it and you will help them get onto the potty. You can do this in the morning when you remove their overnight diapers so they understand that during the day, they have to learn how to hold their bladder and use the portable potty. You can let them wear underpants later on and for a longer time when you feel like they're already getting the hang of it.
Rewards can help
One small piece of their favorite chocolate, one more episode of Paw Patrol, two more stickers to use on the wall, extra half hour of playtime - you can use rewards to reinforce good behavior and to emphasize when they're doing something right so they'll be inclined to do it again and again. For some crafty moms, they create their own potty training chart. If their baby get a lot of stars on their chart, they get their reward.
The Nighttime Challenge
This can be tricky and difficult. Our patience isn't at its best at 2AM when we have to change sheets and covers. For some, they start with limiting the water intake an hour or two before bedtime then checking the diaper the next morning, if their baby has filled it up or not. If you can wake up before the baby does, then that's great. That's when you can check if they're able to hold their bladder while they're asleep. Write down their usual nighttime pattern. When you start their nighttime training by letting them sleep without their diapers, just make sure the sheets and covers that you're using are easy to clean up.
Finally, learn that it will not always be a 💯 perfect. Even when you're done with the potty training and you feel like they've already mastered it… messy accidents will happen. Don't be too hard on yourself and on them when this happens. It's normal and it's going to be okay.