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Toilet training tips - what's got you worried?

Have you been potty training for awhile and feeling like you're not getting anywhere?

Or worse, do you feel as though your child is actually experiencing potty training regression?

I know you've heard all the arguments for staying calm, patient and focused, but that may be hard advice to swallow right now.

Let's start with some important perspective.

Toilet training advice for keeping on keeping on.

  • Potty training is a process not an event.

It's true that you may have originally tried to do toilet training in less than a day or a three day potty training session with your toddler or preschooler. Your child may have genuinely understood the concepts you presented.

But now he has to integrate this new information - for a lifetime. That doesn't happen overnight. Your child must now practice what he knows and make it a second-nature part of his daily life. That will take months at least. And that's fine.

Or, the other possibility that has led you to look for additional potty training tips is that your child did not originally "get" her first round of potty training. That's very common and understandable. I have potty trained four of my own children and I know how frustrating it can be to explain what's expected to a child, even show them what you want them to do, have them look you in the eyes and say "yes, Mommy" and then obviously not have gotten it at all.

The answer to both of these scenarios is the same: a potty training restart. Calmly talk to your child and explain that for a new round of fun, you and he are going to practice using the potty on a schedule again. Take another day or two when you can focus only on toilet training and take your child to the potty every hour on the hour, or whatever works for your child.

Get back into a routine. Yes, you are essentially going over the same information, but use new phrases and new rewards and your child will see it as a next step. Which in the PROCESS of toilet training, it is.

  • Face the facts.

It's quite possible that the following advice will not be pleasant to you: your child may simply not want to potty train at this time.

Don't panic.

This is completely normal.

The truth behind this tip is that you are asking your child to mature and while sometimes that sounds like a great idea to him, sometimes it does not.

And when he wants to stay little and safe and comfortable, an easy way to do that is to pee or poop his pants.

Everyone starts talking about how he is acting like a baby again. And that sounds okay to him for the moment. (So be careful what you say!)

One way to handle this is to stop all the toilet training talk for a bit and cuddle. Take a few days to hang out with your child as much as you can and just listen.

Talk about how exciting and scary growing up can be and see what kind of reaction you get. Hug and agree no matter what you hear. A child who is feeling this way needs to have the adults in his life take him seriously.

After he feels listened to, when he's ready, he'll be eager to "grow up" some more. Give him, subtly, the choice to use the potty when he's ready to "be a big boy some more". He'll get there.

Toilet training tips for the constipated.

Some kids will hold it in forever, it seems. Of course, that only makes things more difficult.

Getting your child to relax is a big part of getting control of potty training and bowel movements. Is she scared? What's her diet like? Is she getting plenty of water (not just juice and certainly not sodas)?

If you're have difficulty with pooping issues, look at my potty training and constipation article.

Take note of your child's natural rhythm and maintain a regular and unhurried schedule of sitting on the potty chair waiting to poop once you get things moving again. This can go a long ways towards keeping on track.

Toilet training advice relating to resources.

Potty training aids can be a great help if used carefully. The biggest mistake some parents make is buying a bunch of potty training toys, giving them all to their child at once, and expecting that this will somehow magically toilet train their child.

Of course, when you look at it that way, you know that won't work.

Potty training resources are used best as a support to your own natural teaching. For example, if you are going to use a beloved stuffed animal or a little mommy potty training doll you are going to need to set the stage first for encouraging your little one to be a nurturing teacher to her doll.

Use a potty doll and Potty Patti Kit role-play with her, so she can essentially potty train the doll herself and in the process be practicing her own bathroom habits.

Potty dolls can be hugely helpful as they allow you, the parent, to determine exactly what your toddler does and does not understand about the toilet training process. Remember, just because your child says she understands what you are asking of her, doesn't mean she really does.

You can look at potty dolls here.

Potty training targets are great fun for a few days. Introduce them and then take them away for a bit, keeping the interest high for your little potty trainee. By the way, there are toilet targets available for both boys and girls.

Potty Targets
If you purchase targets, definitely use them as a type of reward. You can use round cereal bits (think Cheerios) to introduce the idea (this is a very smart way to help little boys learn to aim), then offer the purchased "special" targets as an incentive for improving whatever you want your child to work on.

Pushing fluids for a day when potty targets are new allows your child to get a good amount of "practice" identifying the urge to pee and controlling himself enough to get to the potty chair, take aim and let go.

Girls can benefit from this, too. It may get a bit messy at times, but if you can overlook that and praise the good habits forming, you can make some real progress using potty targets.

Take a look at toilet targets here.

Potty watches can be an extremely helpful toilet training tip. Again, the key is not to overuse.
Potty Watch
If the potty training watch is working, let your son or daughter keep using it. But the minute it ceases to work, cycle it out with another piece of toilet training advice. (I would really play up how Mommy or Daddy use their watch, too. Let your child "catch" you regularly using your watch. It will create interest for him.)

You can use a timer to accomplish the same idea as a potty training watch. Set your timer for 30, 60, 90 minutes, whatever is right for your child.

When the timer goes off, remind your child "it's time to use the potty".

The advantage of the potty watch is that since a child is wearing it himself, he is greatly encouraged to take responsibility for getting himself to the potty when the watch vibrates or makes music (or whatever it does) and that will help eliminate the need for you to remind him, which is eventually what you want.

You can see a potty watch for yourself here.

Potty training dvds can be quite helpful, but they won't work for everyone. My toilet training advice on this resource is to check out your local library first and preview some potty training dvds. Potty Training DVDs

You can simply view the library dvds with your child. This is a good way to let your child ask you questions and allow you to dispel any confusion with the topic. In addition, you can see for yourself the type of dvd to which your child responds best. For example, live action or beloved cartoon or TV character.

If you find a dvd or a type of dvd that really seems to connect with your child, then you can purchase that toilet training dvd for longer use.

See what's popular in potty training dvds here.

Potty Training Guide If you are just starting out potty training and would appreciate a step-by-step guide or if you are dealing with a lot of regression, then I recommend you take a look at the resource Potty Training Secrets Exposed.

Just to let you know, there's a lot in this toilet training guide. This is a fairly intensive program.

Additional toilet training tips.

  • Toilet training issues come in all varieties. For example, if you have been using some sort of toddler training pants and your toddler has decided to use them as a diaper instead of going pee or poop in the potty chair, try this idea instead.

Training pants such as Pull-ups are wonderfully convenient, but they don't allow your child to feel wet when he pees. The result is that many toddlers just use them as a diaper. Instead, put your potty trainee in regular underwear and when you have to go anywhere that an accident will be troublesome, put on plastic pants over the underwear.

Your little one will still feel the wetness immediately, so training can continue, but the plastic pants will help contain the accident, at least for a little while until you can help him clean up.

  • Remember, patience and more patience. As I mentioned before I have potty trained four kids and taught three (so far) to drive. Interestingly enough, there are similar emotions involved!

  • Stay matter-of-fact and proud of your child. Potty training is a huge milestone and you both deserve to be congratulated.

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