Time to Actually Get Started
You have the potty and underwear. You've seen all the signs. You know it is time. But you have no idea where to start.
Start by having your child sit on the potty when you change their diaper. You may or may not see any action, but it will get your child familiar with sitting on the potty. As you get closer to actually starting to move to wearing underwear, you can start putting your child on the potty more often (after meals, before bath, other times when you think that they might need to pee). It is always nice to have some success before you venture into underwear so that your child has an idea of what they are supposed to do.
When you are both ready, pick a time when you don't have any other plans and pull on the underwear. For the first little while, you should plan to take your child to the potty every 15-20 minutes. Encourage them to sit for a few minutes each time, singing songs or reading stories as good ways to pass the time.
You will soon be able to tell if you really need to take your child that often. Some children at this stage pee often but small amounts, others don't pee as often but larger amounts. You need to learn your child's needs to judge how often to take them. As the days and weeks progress, your child will start to tell you when they have to go to the potty.
Don't be afraid to put a diaper on your child for naps or going out, but do try to be as consistent as possible with the underwear and trips to the potty. And be prepared for lots of laundry!
Another very important thing to remember is to always be positive. There may be a few accidents or there may be a lot of accidents. But either way, you need to keep this as a positive experience. If you get frustrated, upset or angry when they have an accident, it is very quickly going to become a negative experience. Give lots of praise for success and downplay accidents.
You are going to be making many trips to the potty in the first few days and weeks, but it will be worth it in the long run. Don't be afraid to show your child what you want them to do. There is nothing wrong with letting your child watch you use the toilet. Watching older siblings can be excellent motivation as well. Follow your child's cues and hope for the best!
Stay tuned for more tips, tricks and advice every Tuesday! And please do share your own experiences! I am always looking for ways to make potty training easier for myself, not only at work, but also at home as I will soon be jumping in head first to potty train Liam!