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How Do I Get Started with Potty Training?

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Question: How Do I Get Started with Potty Training?
If you've determined that your child is ready for potty training, here's how to get started.
Answer:

Potty Training Starts with Talk About the Potty Itself

Have a talk with your toddler. Sit down and discuss with him some key toilet issues. Tell him that everyone goes potty (even animals) and it's a normal part of life. Talk with him about the toilet, a special place where he can potty. Tell him how the potty works and let him try flushing himself. Explain that he's going to be wearing underwear instead of diapers, just like you. Take this time to read some books or watch videos about going to the potty, and be sure to involve other family members, especially older siblings who are already using the potty.

Involve Your Child in the Purchasing Process

Take a trip to the store. Involve your toddler in purchasing underwear, a step stool and potty chair (if you decide to use one). These items will have much more significance if he is involved in the decision-making process. Be sure to purchase plenty of undies so you're not overwhelmed with laundry in the beginning stages of training. It's easy to revert to diapers when you're out of training pants and you don't want to do that.

Make Dressing and Undressing Easy

Put away any difficult clothing until potty training is complete. Overalls, pants with lots of buttons, snaps or zips, tight or restrictive clothing and oversized shirts will all be an obstacle to your child during potty training. Put them away now so you can resist the temptation to use them when there's nothing else clean or you're in a hurry some morning.

Think Now About How You'll Handle Praise, Rewards and Accidents

Make some decisions about how you're going to try to approach these things with your child. These don't have to be written in stone, and indeed they shouldn't be. As potty training progresses, you may have to change methods many times according to the his needs (and yours). It is helpful, however, to have some things outlined in your mind. Decide whether or not you're going to use Pull-ups, training pants or regular underwear and try to stick with this decision so your child has consistency and isn't confused. Think about whether or not you want to use rewards or not. Figure out a strategy on how to handle potty issues when you're away from home. Practice a calm, matter-of-fact response to accidents in your mind.

Talk to Your Child Care Provider

If your child is in child care, ask for their advice and make sure there aren't any hard and fast rules the center or caregiver has in place that may be an issue. Let them know that you're going to start and enlist their help with the process.

Do you have a question you'd like to see answered? You can send your questions to me at babyparenting@aboutguide.com and I will answer them here on the site.

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