From diaper to potty: how and when to make the change
Although each little one has their own rhythm, from the age of 2 we can start “training” children in the use of the potty. We give you this advice to make the transition successfully.
How to know if it is the right time, using a potty or an adapter, do diapers expire, or what steps we should take and in what order are some of the most frequent doubts of parents when deciding whether to start dispensing with diapers? In this post, we clear up the main unknowns and give you useful tips to successfully make the transition from diaper to potty.
How to know when the time is right for potty training
Learning to use the potty is a process that requires training. Each child will be different, but around 24 months most children are ready to start learning.
Above all, it is important not to force the situation. If we wait until the child is ready, the process is much easier. Controlling the potty training and using the potty is not an easy task for the little ones since it includes a complex routine of successive and consequent learning:
- Understand what the potty is and what you are expected to do with it.
- Being able to express that you have to go to the bathroom.
- Learn to undress.
- Control the urge to urinate or defecate and master these functions at will.
- Learn to clean yourself.
- Know how to dress.
- Get used to pulling the chain.
- Get used to washing your hands always after going to the bathroom.
As a general rule, we can start potty training when the child begins to notify us every time his diaper is dirty or if he frequently tells us that he wants to pee or poop.
The first stage of learning is to make the little one understand what a potty is for and how to use it. Each stage will take time.
It is frequent and natural that “accidents” are suffered. It is very important not to scold the child when this happens and instead to reinforce his positive behavior with praise to encourage him to repeat it daily. Throughout the entire process, we must be patient and understanding.
The main objective at the beginning of the training should be to make the child understand what the potty is for, not to dominate the whole process.
From diaper to potty: how to make the transition
Although during the process each family can discover their own “tricks” (accompany the potty sessions with the reading of stories, use dolls or toys to familiarize the child with the use of the toilet, etc.), to begin the learning process of using the potty, it may be helpful to follow these steps:
- Buy a potty and allow the child to become familiar with it
Although some children like to imitate adults and prefer to train on an potty adapter, most feel more secure in a potty than in the toilet bowl. This is because when they sit on the potty, they have their feet on the floor, are more balanced, and are not afraid of falling to the floor or into the bowl. The simpler the potty, the better. The child must understand that it is not a toy, but a personal hygiene utensil.
A good idea is to share the purchase and take into account your personal tastes and preferences to choose, for example, a potty in the child’s favorite color. After all, he is going to use it and the more he likes it, the more willing he is to use it.
Before you start using the potty, let your child look at it, handle it, and feel comfortable with it. Tell him what “his” potty is and explain what it is for and how it is used. For the first few days, let the child sit on the potty at least once a day, fully dressed, to get used to it. Allow your toddler to get up from the potty at any time and never force him to sit if he doesn’t want to.
Potty Adapter (Editor’s Note – this is the exact one we used since my big toddler didn’t like his potty seat): Potty Training Seat for Boys & Girls, Urine Splash Guard, Fits Oval & Round Toilet, No Slipping, Toddlers Love it, Home & Travel, Easy Training (Green) – PeekAboo
- Place it within sight and within reach
Place it in plain sight and in a place accessible to him in the room of the house where the child spends most of the time. It is not imperative that the potty is only in the bathroom. Leave it in the playroom, near your bed, on the patio, or anywhere your child plays, so your child can use it when he feels like it. Once the little one understands why it is there, encourage him to use it when he needs it.
As the little one understands what is expected of him, you can gradually remove the diaper at home. For short periods of time in the beginning, and whenever you are at home at the end. Allow the diaper to be used again during nap time or nighttime sleep until you are both sure you are in control of the situation. Or use Peejamas overnight training pants.
- Create a routine
When the child is comfortable sitting on the potty dressed, start practicing without clothing. This is the next logical step that will allow the child to get used to the idea of undressing before going to the bathroom.
Get your child used to sitting on the potty whenever he needs it. Getting them used to sitting in it in the morning or after each meal can be useful to match learning moments with those of real need. In this way, its utility will be much clearer.
- Wait until your child is ready
Forcing learning is completely counterproductive. If the child is afraid of the potty or is not comfortable with it, do not force him to use it. Do not be angry with him, respect his rhythm, and suspend training for several weeks or even a couple of months.
Give it time for your child to get used to the idea of using the potty and to feel comfortable with it. Not being successful the first time is not synonymous with failure, in the end, we all end up learning to go to the bathroom. Remember that it is a natural process that the child must go through. It is their success, not yours.
- Get ready to face accidents
Because there will be, without a doubt. Be tolerant and don’t scold him when he’s wrong. This is one of the most complex learnings that takes place during childhood. Children have a hard time breaking the habit and comfort of using diapers and they do not always arrive on time to use the potty.
When your child makes a bowel movement, throw the stool in the potty in front of him. Although you must clean it afterward, this gesture will help you understand that this is where they should end up. Gently explain that this is the right place for urine and stool as many times as you need it, kids love to put everything in its place.
Mom hack: line the potty chair with a coffee filter to help capture solids for easier cleaning.
- Be patient and keep a positive attitude
If the little one associates the potty with constant anger and quarrels, he will not want to use it in any way. All newly acquired skills are honed over time.
Avoid comparisons. Each child is a different world and it is easier for some than others to learn certain things. But in the end, all children dominate the control of their sphincters.
- Congratulations and awards
Although the ultimate goal is for the child to master all aspects of going to the bathroom, from undressing at the right time to pulling the chain and washing his hands, every achievement along the way should be celebrated.
Young children constantly seek recognition from their parents. When we praise a certain behavior we are fixing an idea in her memory: “I am doing well.”
This fills the little one with satisfaction and personal pride, very pleasant feelings that raise his self-esteem. Therefore, we will be increasing the chances that he will repeat the same behavior in the future.
I’m Diana Forest, a working mother and a writer, who likes to share her journey as a mom. I have been working with the healthcare industry for a decade.