Parents are staying home with their toddlers and preschoolers now. All day. While this can be a challenge, it can also be the right time to do potty training.
Here’s how to make it work when you want to teach your toddler how to “make” in the potty:
- You don’t have to wait for readiness. What you might get instead is a child that has lost the excitement of being praised by adults, and fears failure more than seeks praise or rewards. If that sounds like your child, quickly read Waiting for Toilet Training Readiness? Create It Instead!
- Have good equipment. If you don’t have a potty seat that fits your child or a toilet insert and a footstool that is stable and safe, now is the time to go online shopping for one. Without good equipment, you are already in trouble. Children should be able to get on and off easily and not be fearful of falling off the toilet. If you are training a preschooler and not a toddler, you really need good equipment. They are bigger and move faster. Safety and confidence go hand in hand.
- Have a plan for praise and rewards. Not every child will want a tiny candy, but nobody should expect a new toy for every time they pee in the potty. Know your kid and know what gets them to try a new skill. Some children don’t do well with effusive praise Sensitive Child? Be Careful How You Deliver Praise , so don’t go over the top if this is your kid.
- Know how to set things up for success. If your child is typically-developing, get Oh Crap Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki, because she is the best person to tell you how to help you be successful. She even has a chapter just on poop! If your child has hypotonia or hypermobility, consider my e-book, The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone. It is inexpensive, available on Amazon and Your Therapy Source, and gives you checklists and explanations for why you need to think out-of-the-box to potty train these kids. You don’t leave for vacation without a map. Don’t wing this. Just don’t.
- Build your ability to calm yourself first. Exactly like on an airplane, (remember them? We will get back on them eventually) you need to calm yourself down in the face of refusals, accidents and tantrums. You are no good to anyone if you are upset. Read Stress Relief in the Time of Coronavirus: Enter Quickshifts and Should the PARENTS of Kids With Sensory Issues Use Quickshifts? for some ideas.
Looking for more information on potty training? I wrote an e-book for you!
The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone is my first e-book. It explains why learning this skill is so tricky, and it gives parents and therapists detailed strategies to set kids (and parents) up for success! Understanding that the sensory and social-emotional impacts of low muscle tone are contributing to potty training deals is crucial to making this skill easier to learn. I include a readiness guide, strategies to pick the best equipment and clothes (yes, you can dress them so that they struggle more!), and how to move from the potty seat onto the adult toilet.