3 essential potty training tools

Fara thought that having an older son would make potty training easier for her little boy. But she quickly learned that it’s not always easier the second time around.

Her first son was very cooperative through potty training and caught on fairly quickly, but her younger son, even though he wants to be just like his big brother in every other way, wasn’t as eager to use the big boy bathroom.

“My younger son plays the games his brother likes, he wants do to karate like his brother, everything, but he hasn’t been working with us to potty train like I thought he would,” Fara said. “We know he has to go, and he knows he has to go, but he’s so playful and energetic that it’s been a challenge to get him to stop playing and go to the restroom. We’ve learned a lot this time around.”

1. Rely on family and friends for help and ideas.

Fara said her mom has provided a lot of help this time around, especially because Fara works full time. Her mom takes her son to the bathroom every half hour or every hour, and Fara said she was so grateful for that suggestion and those she’s received from other moms.

“It’s also useful when you talk to other moms who can share tips about what worked for them,” she said. “Somebody might have a different idea than you do and if yours gets old, you might try something new.”

2. Invent games that make going to the bathroom fun.

Fara gets her son excited to potty by telling him to “put the fire out, you’re the fire engine.”

She also add flushable things to the toilet, like leaves or flushable toys, and lets her son practice target shooting. “He tries to point at them and that makes it a little more interesting for him to go,” she said.

3. Reward your child’s successes

When her son first started using the potty to pee, Fara would buy him little gifts, but when he went poo, she said it was a huge deal.

“We would either take him to Chuck E. Cheese or get a bigger gift so that he would feel like this was a big achievement for him,” she said. “We made sure he knew why he was getting this gift – because he went to the potty – and we would tell him that he was growing up, and if he kept doing well, he could do more of the things his brother does, like taking different classes.”

Fara admits she was hesitant at first about using rewards. She said she didn’t want to have to bribe him to do what was expected of him, but now she thinks of it more as encouragement than a prize.

“It’s more like telling him, ‘You did something very important and you’re being appreciated for it,'” she said.

Fara expects that in the next few months, her younger son will be an old pro at using the potty. In the meantime, she’s continuing to push, encourage and keep it as fun as possible.

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