January 12, 2020
The Kid Spa Austin Guide to Potty Training
Learning to use the potty is a major milestone in every child (and parent!)’s life. At Kid Spa Austin, we love seeing the pride and confidence children develop as they master this skill and we are so excited to help your child through this process!
When to start Potty Training
Depending on your child’s vocabulary and self-awareness, they may be ready sooner, but 2 ½ to 3 years old is when children generally begin learning to use the potty. Children should be able to follow simple instructions and must be able to communicate their basic needs.
Another sign to look for is whether your child can stay dry for a couple of hours at a time. This indicates whether their bladder muscles are developed well enough to hold urine between trips to the bathroom. A good way to check bladder control is by feeling your child’s diaper as soon as they wake up from naptime – many children will be dry when they first wake up, but will have a wet diaper within 15-20 minutes of having woken up.
The first step to potty-training is getting your child to “go” on the potty for the first time. It helps to give your little one juice or plenty to drink before trying to sit on the potty. Use clothes that are easily removable and encourage your little one to help pull down/up their own clothes. It is also important to go through the potty process each time (pulling down clothes, sitting, wiping, pulling up clothes, flushing toilet and washing hands). Finally, toddlers need to know that they should tell a grown-up when they need to go potty or have an accident.
The biggest challenge for children is learning to stop what they are doing and to go use the potty. To limit the number of accidents, you will initially want to keep your child on a regular potty schedule at home and remember to have your child use the potty immediately after waking up, before going to bed and before leaving the house. Likewise, you may notice that your child consistently goes at a certain time. Our daily potty logs are a great way for tracking this! Finally, a good rule of thumb is that if YOU need to go, THEY need to go!
Transitioning to Underwear
As soon as your little one goes on the potty a handful of times, you should switch immediately to pull-ups during the day. Pull-ups are important because they encourage kids to pull up and down their own clothes while keeping accidents to a minimum. Remember to encourage keeping the pull ups dry so your toddler doesn’t begin to treat it as a diaper. Once your child can stay dry consistently, it is time to switch to underwear during the day and a pull-up at night!
It is important to remember that accidents will happen. In fact, there may be plenty before your first success story. When your child has an accident, have your child help in getting themselves cleaned up and remind them to “stop what they are doing and go use the potty” the next time. Make sure to stay positive and encourage your child to keep trying!
If your child begins to have accidents on a more frequent basis, it is often the case that they know how to use the potty but they simply do not want to take a break from what they are doing. This type of set-back can generally be resolved by going back to a regular potty-schedule until your child can remember to use the potty on their own. In parallel, if your child is in pull-ups and begins to regress, it may be time to get rid of the safety net and switch to underwear!
Support at School
The transition to underwear is easiest for children if they follow the same process at school as they do at home. So, once your child switches to underwear at home, they should also wear underwear to school! Just make sure to communicate this change to your child’s teacher and remember to pack plenty of clothes (2-3 changes). Be prepared that your child will likely have several accidents at school before they are fully able to use the potty on their own.
Staying motivated and consistent will help your toddler through this process. If and when you feel like giving up, remember that your continued love and support will be rewarded when your child finally reaches this developmental milestone and emerges as a happy and confident Big Kid!