As a participant in the Pull-Ups “Madrinas del Baño” campaign, I was able to attend a bilingual teleconference with Dr. Andres Cotton and Jeannette Kaplun to challenge such myths and to learn expert potty training tips.
A mother of two, Kaplun is an internationally recognized parenting expert and award-winning journalist as well as the founder of Hispana Global. A father of three, Dr. Cotton is a is a well-respected Miami based pediatrician with 17 years of experience in the medical field.
"Throughout your career, what is the greatest myths you've heard parents say about potty training?" I asked Kaplun.
Her answer? "If your child has an accident, you're a bad mom. No, it’s just very important to understand that potty training is a long-term process."
Given the difficulties I've been having potty training Equis, I found these words and the entire teleconference to be super helpful, especially in terms of not feeling as guilty whenever I'm drowning as a parent.
Here are the Top 5 Expert Potty Training Tips I learned:
I know what it's like to feel pressure to potty train my son right away.
Equis is currently being potty trained in school so I want to be able to be consistent with him at home.
Although some believe that children should be trained by the time they are two years old, experts say you shouldn’t start training your little one until you see that they are ready.
Signs that your child is ready to potty train are staying dry through the night, showing interest when you use the toilet and feeling uncomfortable when wet.
Sometimes your child is just not ready even if everyone else tells you they are!
Dr. Cotton says you shouldn't worry unless there's no progress to the point that your child is impacted socially for wetting the bed.
"Kids may consistently challenge you," Kaplun says. "Don't stress out about the things he's going to do. You want potty training to be less chore-like. Make it more of a game."
Kaplun's greatest advice to parents is to "Be relaxed. Breathe in, calm down. Change the switch so that potty training becomes more of an adventure" for both you and your child.
By celebrating every flush, you will help your child have a positive association with the potty. Otherwise, your kid will hate potty training because it's too boring.
Potty training is one of the areas where positive thinking really comes in handy because it will help lead to success.
You can make potty training into a game by:
- Acting especially excited by singing, smiling and clapping every time it's potty time.
- Rewarding your child with something special for every flush, such as a a sticker for their sticker chart, small prizes or a favorite game to play.
- Use the Pull-Ups Big Kids app for potty training fun.
It’s important for kids to see parents and peers using the bathroom so they can be familiar with potty training.
When you allow your child to see you use the bathroom, you are modeling positive behavior that can inspire them to use the bathroom too. After all, what kid doesn't try to copy everything their guardians do?
Show them that going to the bathroom with Mommy or Daddy instead of going in their diaper is a cool thing to do.
- Use a timer for children who crave structure. By setting the timer for every 20-30 minutes, you'll help to create a potty training habit, Kaplun says.
- Kaplun also recommends flushable wipes, which I plan on buying Equis soon because it reduces the amount of stinky waste I need to throw into the garbage.
- Use a potty seat that locks into the toilet. I have one of these, and Equis loves to use it more than the actual potty I bought for him.
- If you need to use a public bathroom, Kaplun says, have a potty training kit with you. Pack a portable/foldable potty seat, flushable wipes, and antibacterial gel into a big Ziploc when traveling.
Get friends and family members involved in the process. Asking others for support is a great way to go.
It's important to share the potty training tips with other family members (dad, abuela, aunt, tio, los cousins and madrinas) and with your child's teacher so they know too how to help your child be successful.
By engaging and educating them about training pants, the process and the fun rituals, you will help make sticking with the process easier for your child.
Dr. Cotton says it's important not to compare children and Kaplun also reminds parents not to humiliate their child if they have an accident. This advice becomes especially important when communicating your child's needs to other caregivers who may have learned that comparisons or humiliation are appropriate motivators for using the potty. In this way, you can ensure that although others' approaches may be very different from yours, your child's potty training process is consistent.
What are some tricks you use to make potty training fun?
However, all opinions expressed are my own.