My almost-three-year-old daughter is playing with Pooh Bear and Dolly in the armchair when suddenly she jumps up and begins dancing on the spot. “Mommy, I hafta go potty!” Those words send us rushing upstairs to the bathroom.
As I look back on the potty training process in our house, I can see three things that helped my daughter reach this point of telling me when she needs to go pee or poop. Those things were providing her with an example, putting her in cloth diapers, and simply waiting for her to be read.
Be an Example in the Bathroom
My daughter never liked it when I disappeared into the washroom, so I usually ended up taking her with me. When she was little, she sat in the corner; as she got older, she passed me the toilet paper or began sitting on her own potty while I sat on the toilet.
As she learned to talk and respond to our requests, I would tell her, “Mommy needs to go potty. Do you want to come too?” Using my own bodily cues was a good way to judge when she should go to the bathroom as well. If she answered no, I went by myself. Sometimes she said no, then later came upstairs just because I was up there and then sat on her potty.
Use Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers make toilet training a little bit easier because the baby notices when she is wet. When my daughter was a newborn, we had simple cotton diapers provided by a local diaper service. The smallest pee made these diapers cold and clammy, and she hated it. One night, we changed her six times in an hour because she kept wetting her diaper and then howling about it.
Some fancier brands of cloth diapers use fabrics that wick some of the moisture away from the baby’s bum. This makes it harder for the baby to notice that they are wet, but big pees and poops still make the baby uncomfortable. Most babies will then fuss and get a diaper change. My daughter’s first step towards potty training was telling us as soon as she’d done either a poop or a pee, so that we could get her out of that uncomfortable diaper.
Be Ready When the Child is Ready
I bought my daughter’s potty when she was about eight months old and tried at various times to put her on it and give her hints. I was, I admit, sceptical about the theories that kids get potty trained when they’re ready. I thought it was just a matter of teaching them to respond to their body cues.
However, Sunshine definitely showed a time that she was ready to learn this. In about a week, she went from telling us after she’d done it to telling us before she’d done it, and staying in dry diapers all day (and all night). Her growing ability to communicate and understand what we told her seemed to help. When she could make requests such as “I want some milk,” she could also begin to say, “I want to go potty.”
Toilet training is, of course, a complicated procedure that will be slightly different for every child. These were the things that helped my daughter learn; perhaps one or more of these potty training tips will work for your child as well.