Farrah hadn’t even thought about potty training when Bryanna, at 16 months, asked to go to the bathroom.
“Everybody says start at 2, so I considered whatever she did before then to be practice,” Farrah said. “I got a potty seat, and I asked her if she wanted to go every now and then if I saw her thinking about it or heading to one of her spots-she has corners where she goes to the bathroom. I thought it was really early for her to be potty training, so I kept it a no-pressure situation and tried to make it an enjoyable experience.”
It turned out to be a great time for some mother-daughter bonding.
Here are some of the things Farrah did early on to make the potty training process flow a little more freely.
- Try to dispel fears.
Farrah knew a lot kids are afraid of flushing the toilet or sitting on it, so she tried to get rid of all the fear. Bryanna was really scared of the flushing at first, so Farrah said, “Let’s flush the toilet together.” Bryanna put her hand on Farrah’s, and they’d push down on it together.
“She seemed okay because we made a game out of it,” Farrah said. “We’d say, ‘Bye, bye water!’ I think that took attention off the actual sound of the flushing, and now she’s not afraid anymore.”
- Create potty-time activities.
Having activities near the potty has certainly made using the bathroom more fun for Bryanna. Farrah kept a lot of books on hand for Bryanna to read on the potty, books that she only gets to use when she’s on the potty. She loves the Wiggles, so she has a Wiggles book that sings songs to her, and she just sits there. They also got a brand new flip-up book, too, just for the bathroom.
“She rarely sits down to read a book, unless we’re going to bed, so I feel like it’s a great time for me to teach her,” Farrah said.
Before the books, Farrah said it was all about the toilet paper.
“She loves the toilet paper,” she said. “The first thing we did was take the toilet paper and throw it in between our legs. That was the game, and it worked for her.”
- Keep the potty accessible to the child.
Farrah keeps the potty in the bathroom where Bryanna can get it and put it on herself. Everything is really accessible to her, and because she can control the set up, she’s more comfortable with it.
- Celebrate success.
If Bryanna pees in the potty, Farrah said, they get really excited. And if she poops, they make a huge deal out of it.
“We stand there and we clap,” Farrah said. “She sees that it’s really exciting and she wants to do it.”
- Use accidents as a teaching tool.
Sometimes, Farrah said, Bryanna will go and pee on the floor and then say that she had an accident.
“She’s really forthcoming about it, which is really nice,” she said. “We’ll just clean it and she stands next to me, and interestingly, she gets upset a little bit that she’s had the accident. I tell her it’s okay that she had the accident and ask her, ‘Where do we go when we have to pee or poo? We go in the potty.'”
- Don’t rush them.
They may say they have to do it, but it may take kids 10 minutes to get comfortable on the potty. Don’t give them a time limit. Ask them when you have time to sit. Sometimes it’s 20 or 30 minutes just sitting there. Farrah feels it’s like anything else — you just have to follow their lead. They know where they are and when they’re ready.
For more help with potty training, see what these resources have to offer:
About.com’s resident pediatrician teaches you the best ways to deal with your formerly-sweet bundle of joy.
Be A Pampers Parent
Get advice from Caroline and other parent experts at the Pampers Parenting Institute, where you can find information on your toddler, preschooler or infant.
The Potty Place
At Let’s Talk Potty Training, the experts at Pampers offer advice, videos from other potty training mommies and even printable toilet-time activities to share with your toddler.
Lessons from the Clinic
Get all you need to know about timing, technique and accidents from the Mayo Clinic.