April 11, 2020 — By Wendy Sachs
Perhaps the time has come for potty training. The term usually sparks a mixture of anticipation of a life without diapers and the dread of the process. But it doesn’t have to be thought of as a chore! There is much to know before you start down the path. Let’s explore this stage a little.
Timing Is Everything
The best advice for easy potty training is to wait. Wait until the child is ready. There will be pressure from schools, friends and relatives who may offer advice based on the standard ages of 24 months to 3 years. But not all kids are ready in that window. What should you watch for?
+ Can child sit on a potty for a few minutes independently?
+ Does child communicate in some way that they need to go? Do they have a basic vocabulary about their body?
+ Are they interested and excited about wearing underwear
+ Can they pull pants down and up?
+ Can they follow basic directions?
+ Are their dirty diapers less frequent? Do they often have bowel movements at “regular” times?
+ Do they seem bothered by wet diapers and ask to be changed?
+ Are they in the middle of any big life changes (like new sibling or caregiver)
Also take into account if the adults in the home are ready. It is not good to take on potty training in the middle of caregiver transitions or huge stressful times for the adults in a child’s life. You are going to need all your patience for this.
Get On the Same Page
Adults need to be consistent so take some time to discuss what words you will use for urine and bowel movements. Where will the potty sit and what methods will you all use? Having a quick check in on how this will all work and being consistent between nanny and parents will be easier on everyone and set you up for success.
Start With Fun Explanations
Use simple terms to start talking about the process, what it feels like, what will happen and the advantages to the child when they use the potty. There are hundreds of methods that promise quick results but in any method, the most important part is that there is no shame for accidents which are bound to happen. Keeping a potty close by play areas will help you get there fast. Many parents/nannies use a timer to sit on potty every hour for a few minutes. Let kids read a book on the potty or sing a song. Make it as fun as you can! And if the child seems resistant, follow their lead. Take a break and try again in a month.
Nighttime Comes Later
Most kids still may need a diaper for nap time and overnight. Kids generally can’t stay dry overnight until they are 4-7 years old. Teach kids how to use a pull up and don’t put on any pressure for kids to control things while they sleep.
Most of all try to relax. Potty training can be all kinds of fun as your child discovers they can do it and you will enjoy the new freedom of a life without diapers.