Many parents think it’s nearly impossible to tame little tots at a “terrible twos” stage. It’s almost a norm to think that this stage is filled with tantrums and mayhem that learning how to potty train a 2-year old is dancing around self-destructive tendencies. But with many parents anticipating this training to be a milestone in child-rearing that ushers freedom from diapers (and in a way, budget, too!), it is only wise to learn how to do it– the right way.
To get you started, here are tips and tricks from Dads and Moms when potty training a two-year old.
First and foremost, “potty awareness”
Toilet training usually starts at around 18 to 24 months of age. But preparing your child’s mind about potty training must be done ahead of time. Raise awareness right around his or her first birthday by reading a book about it. This Sesame Street P is for Potty! Lift-the-Flap Board Book makes a wonder-rific start. The main contention is to allow them to gain awareness and make the transition comfortable. Keep in mind that tots at this stage hate sudden stressful changes. So do it with ease and add fun to it.
Look for physical clues
Just because your older children or that of a friend’s started toilet training at a certain age doesn’t mean your 2-year old must also be the same. A child usually presents a physical manifestation of his or her readiness to take on the potty training challenge with subtle clues. Some may no longer feel comfortable with their diapers. Others have started discovering how to get dressed on their own. Some may have developed consistent pooping or peeing schedule. When a child also knows how to follow simple instructions, it can be the perfect moment to start.
The right gear matters– a lot!
There’s a good reason why potty seats and kiddie urinals abound in the market. In an effort to make the transition less stressful to toddlers, parents are encouraged to use these toilet training aids. Experts, however, suggest that 2 to 3 year old kids potty seats or urinals must allow them to plant their feet sturdily on the ground or floor. Kids this age usually have a hard time emptying their bladder or bowels when their feet are not pressed down on hard ground. Aside from keeping their balance, it also gives them a sense of security.
Little girls can make do with a flat-on-the-floor potty or a specialized seat with a step stool. For little boys, however, getting a separate urinal, like this Foryee Cute Frog Potty Training Urinal, will allow them to be “like Daddy”. In a way, it keeps their thought process more focused.
When choosing a potty seat, two-year olds will love the Fisher-Price Learn-to-Flush Potty for its awesomely fun features. It allows them to learn how to flush and with a removable potty ring, transitioning from this to a regular toilet seat can also be made less stressful.
Timing is everything.
“To everything, there is a season and a reason”, and so it goes. It is wise to avoid potty training during stressful situations. If you are undergoing some major emotional upheavals in the family like death, divorce, or a new baby, or perhaps you’ve just moved homes or just came from a long vacation, don’t push it. See to it that a child is relaxed and enjoying a regular routine. This makes it easier for them to absorb your instructions and allow them ease of learning something new that’s quite demanding of their focus (which, as you know by now, can be a challenge to most tots in the Terrible Twos stage).
Teach by example.
While reading books or watching online videos can help, nothing still beats actual demonstration. Dads are often tasked to teach little boys “target practice” or on how to properly use a urinal vis-a-vis a potty seat. Moms can teach both girls and boys though on how to do the “dirty deed” without accident or near-miss. Sit with your child first thing in the morning, before bedtime or daytime naps, and before leaving the house. This will give generate the habit of emptying the bladder and bowels at home. While doing so, it is also wise to teach them how to remove and wear back their undies and pants– and of course, proper flushing and hygiene.
Train to encourage by offering rewards and praises
It is a complete no-no to punish these sweet little ones when they miss or have accidents. Keep in mind that not all children learn fast. Allow them to take their own sweet time in learning the trick to potty training. Offer praises each time and make certain rewards like making their favorite drink or pastry. It does not have to be ostentatious or extravagant but rather more of an encouragement.
Make it fun
Potty training should be fun. Even when it’s impossible to do it in an “uneventful” manner and, at times, can make it feel like pulling your hair from its roots, doing it the fun way makes the experience more momentous for your little tot. Make urinal “target practice” fun with games. Pooping may be done with background music, too.
A little “encouragement” goes a long way
Two-year old tots usually find it easier to learn how to take a pee in their potty trainer but harder to poop. When all sort of praise, rewards and maneuvers don’t work, it is time to show your creative chops. Some parents tell their children that poop usually flushed out to seas and oceans to feed fish. Being compassionate to Nemo and Dory will eventually make them do the dirty deed. So, take time to find out about what stories your child loves and use it for potty training effectively.
Some parents have multiple potty seats around the house– in the living area, playroom, bedroom, and bathroom. Without a doubt, this helps prevent accidents and near misses. If you want to lessen transition time, however, keeping potty training within the confines of your bathroom will be most effective.
Patience is a virtue
Be prepared for accidents and near misses. Even when a child move from the terrible twos to beyond, setbacks can always happen. The idea is to keep training as comfortable and as less stressful to the child as you can. Jump for joy for every success but learn to have restraint during accidents and near misses. Potty training should be a journey of love.
Don’t Forget: Proper Hygiene
Often taken for granted, teaching proper hygiene is a must. Learning how to potty train 2 years old should not be the only focus of your training. Include lessons on how to flush, the proper way of wiping, and more so on hand washing after each deed. Keep the main idea focused on cleanliness by developing the habit of making each trip to the bathroom as tidy as possible. Best of all, enjoy the ride! It’s going to be bumpy but definitely, the destination will be astounding.