Customizing Potty Training for Your Child
1/1/1989 | by Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe, MD, FAAP
Potty training is always an important milestone for young kids to achieve. As with most big developmental tasks in childhood, no two children go through the potty process the same way, even within the same family. The honest truth is we can’t actually train our kids to be successful at using the potty. The best we can do is guide them on the path their bodies want to be on because that is the path that will lead to success.
Following are some simple ways that will help tailor this process in a way that suits your child’s unique style.
First, make sure you are not starting the process before your child is ready. For most children, this occurs between 24-32 months of age with a clear display of some indication of readiness: an interest in the potty, having some dry moments during the day, taking a wet diaper off and asking you to change it.
Second, use your child’s learning style as a teaching aid to reinforce the signals of when to use the potty. Pull-Ups® has found some unique ways to do this with their training pant products that are worth noting. For kids who are visual learners, there are Pull-Ups® Learning Designs training pants, which have a picture that fades when wet. For kids who are tactile learners, try Pull-Ups® Cool Alert® training pants, which become cold when wet.
Both of these work similarly by reinforcing with a queue to the child that they have gone pee and need to change. Comments such as “look, you’ve wet your Pull-Ups® and now it feels cool” or “see how the picture is faded because you’ve gone pee?” can help by reinforcing the queue to your child and helping them link going pee with the change in their training pant. Over time, they’ll sense the urge to go to the bathroom before all this occurs and start letting you know when they have to go.
In addition, all Pull-Ups® training pants have sides that are easy to open, and allow them to be used like true Big Kid® underwear. This is helpful for all types of learners by reinforcing the basic mechanics of wearing underwear and using it properly when using the potty. It’s good to reinforce this message with your child by having your child stand when changing them or sit on the potty to be cleaned off. The more you do to encourage using the potty, the more your child will slowly get used to the concept (even if in the short term, it is just sitting on it to get cleaned up and get changed.)
And lastly, it’s important not to get discouraged because potty training will come when the time is right for your child. Use the tools you have to make it fun and go with your child’s queues. Before you know it, you’ll be heading to the store to buy underwear!