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Help your child learn to use the potty

Sarah Megginson is a freelance writer, journalist and editor. She currently edits Ultimate, Australia's highest-circulating entertainment magazine available nationally through Sanity stores and writes for magazines including Cosmopolitan...

How to toilet train

From SheKnows Canada
Are you ready to help your little one trade in their diapers for the potty? Babies will make the transition at different times, but with these tips you can help them on their way!
Potty training tips
Potty training

Set the right attitude

Approach potty training as a positive, fun interaction rather than a task to be dreaded. Learning to use the toilet is one of your child's major transitions into preschooler-hood, so treat it as a celebratory occasion!

Don't rush it

From your infant's perspective, there's a lot involved in learning how to use the potty, so it can take them awhile to get all their ducks in a row! Take the pressure off both you and baby, and don't force it: You'll know when your baby is ready. Every toddler is different, so be patient, and take it day by day, week by week or even month by month!

Get colourful

Try something bright and colourful to encourage your little one's interest in potty training. Grab a roll of toilet paper, and submerge it in a bucket of water. Add some bright red or blue food colouring, then remove the roll, and let it dry. Every time you want your child to use the potty, throw in a piece of coloured toilet paper first, and watch their face light up when the colour turns a bright, new hue!

Communicate

If you're about to start potty training or you're a few months away, start communicating about toilet behaviours. You can lay the groundwork by reading potty books together, such as I Want My Potty by Tony Ross or Once Upon a Potty (for boys or girls) by Alona Frankel, or by encouraging your little girl to play with a drink-and-wet doll. You can also begin taking your child into the bathroom when you use the toilet.

Consider bribes

A policy of "earn and reward" can work wonders in this area! You might set up a "potty piggy bank" and add a silver coin every time your tot succeeds on the potty. Or you can go with an instant reward, like a few Smarties or M&M's for each potty victory. And don't forget the best reward of all: a big hug and kiss from mom!

Encourage target practice

A common practice for teaching a little boy to use the potty is to encourage accurate aim by having him "sink" a piece of toilet paper or a piece of cereal such as Nutri-Grain or Corn Flakes. He'll have fun trying, and that will help ensure toilet training success!

Use the bathroom

At the beginning of the toilet training process, begin changing your child's diaper in the bathroom. It helps them to associate going to the toilet with the bathroom, and this will help make the transition to "big kid" easier.

More tips for moms

Diaper bag essentials
Potty training tips
The old-school potty training method

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