Potty Training Tips from a Psychologist’s Perspective!

There are many challenges we face as parents but one that tops the list for many is potty training. Potty training, while it can be a very challenging and difficult process, is also an amazing opportunity to connect with your child, an opportunity to build children’s self­-confidence, self-esteem and sense of independence. Dr. Maria Darcy created PoGO Potty Panda, a potty training system with this in mind. In this post Dr. Maria outlines a few of her top potty training tips for tackling this challenging (and exciting!) milestone.


1.) Make Potty Time Highly Interactive, Fun and Engaging!

It is ideal for learning if potty time is interactive, fun and engaging. We want our children to want to use the potty, dare I say it, to look forward to this! Prior to potty training it is important to prepare your little one for this new experience. Before you have a “Bye-Bye Diapers Celebration” introduce your child to the concept of potty use in a relaxed, interactive and supportive manner. This is often most easily achieved when your child is around 20 to 24 months old. As children get older their capacity and tendency to resist becomes stronger. Given the importance of attachment during these years, having a “special potty friend” (i.e., a stuffed animal like PoGO) for your child to engage with can provide a source of connection, support and focused encouragement through this experience.


2.) Encourage a Positive Connection to Potty and Potty­Use

Timing is everything!  Make sure you (and your child) are in a good place, physically and emotionally, to start this process, no need to rush. Having your child take ownership of his or her potty is really helpful. This makes so much sense when you think about how often your little one says “MINE” at this time.  It’s a great idea to encourage your child to choose their own potty (pre-selected by you of course), encourage them to decorate it with stickers, their name, maybe even their picture sitting on it. The idea is to personalize it all the way!


3.) Remind Your Child to go Potty at Regular Intervals

When you first begin potty training, increase your child’s usual fluid intake, increasing their need to go potty. This will give you and them plenty of opportunities throughout the day to practice potty time. Practice, practice, practice helps build your child’s confidence in the whole process. On a more practical note, it is helpful to be in an area where accidents are not going to be difficult to deal with.


4.) Patience, Persistence and Positivity

Key ingredients to making this experience successful are patience, persistence and positivity. The process of potty training takes time and invariably has set backs. Having an attitude of openness and seeing any “setbacks” as opportunities for connection and learning is very helpful. Praise for small efforts like simply walking to the potty or sitting on the potty is a must. Try not to overdo the praise though, this can feel overwhelming to some children. It is important to never shame your child for an accident as it will quickly turn training into a negative experience. Be their biggest cheerleader!


5.) Did I Mention No Need to Rush

It’s important to remember that potty training can be time-consuming and tough. If you need to take a break, do. Keep your goals for yourself and your child in a reasonable range, he or she will be potty trained. Stay in the moment and work with the now. Planning for nap time training and night-time training is not necessary and actually when the time comes for that, it’s often remarkably easy to transition.

Moms (Dads), how is potty training for you, we’d love to hear from you.

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