Potty training can be a stressful transition for you and your child. After years of changing diapers, your little one is finally ready to learn the basic skill of using the toilet. But this is easier said than done. The whole endeavor can quickly lead to tears and frustration for you and your child if you don’t go into it with a plan of action. So here are some ideas for how to make potty training a fun activity for your toddler.
Get them a potty that is their size.
Some kids are scared of going potty on the big potty at first, so it can be helpful to get your toddler a potty that is their size so that they can go whenever they want to without your help or fear of falling off the big tall toilet. There are even potties now that make music or a happy little noise when your child goes, which kids love. The goal is to provide them with opportunities for self-motivation, and a child-size potty is the perfect way to do that.
Set up a visual rewards system with stickers or marshmallows.
Toddlers (or any child, for that matter) are highly motivated by rewards. So before you jump into potty training, come up with a rewards system you can stick to. Some parents use mini marshmallows, others prefer stickers or small dollar toys. Whatever method you choose, make sure you make a chart or a jar or something visual so that you and your child can track their progress.
Praise your child when they make it to the potty on time.
Any time your child does successfully make it to the potty, make it a big deal. Get excited and tell them you are proud of them. Vice versa, if your child doesn’t make it to the potty on time, try not to be too hard on them. It takes time to learn a new skill and potty training is no exception! You may have read that kids are ready to potty train between the ages of 2 and 3 years old. While some children are ready sooner than that, others aren’t ready until later. Pushing them to do it can take all the fun out of it and can actually have the opposite effect that you want, causing your child to take longer to learn. So don’t pressure your little one. They’ll learn at their own pace.
“Only when a child has a certain measure of mental awareness and muscular control can training ever begin to be successful. It’s sometimes hard for parents not to measure a child’s success by what the books say or by the standards of another sibling or a friend’s child. But for each child, the timetable for learning to use the potty is as individual as learning to walk or talk. Expecting too much too soon can lead to frustration for both parents and children. When we as parents have realistic expectations about the toilet training process, we are more likely to approach it with a comfortable balance of gentleness and persistence. And our children are more likely to gain from the experience not just mastery of their body functions, but a stronger sense of self…”-Fred Rogers, Preface to “Going to the Potty”
Get some fun accessories like a potty watch or training pants.
Making it to the bathroom in time is sometimes half the stress of potty training! To alleviate this problem, you can get your child a potty training watch to help remind them when to go and prevent accidents.
Additionally, potty training is always more fun with cool training pants, especially if they have favorite characters on them. You can get washable or disposable ones, just make sure you’re getting something that your child can pull up and down easily to make trips to the potty a breeze.
Make a basket of special potty training toys and books.
Another way to make potty training fun is to have a bin or basket of special toys or books next to the toilet that are only for potty time. You could even buy a few books about potty training for your kiddo to sit and read while they go! A few of our favorites are: