potty training during coronavirus


The bottom line on potty training during coronavirus

  • Potty training typically happens around age 2½ to 3½. It is not recommended to begin toilet training before age two.
  • It’s OK for your child to feel “wet” during the transition from diapers.
  • Potty training too early may contribute to long term issues with constipation, bedwetting and daytime accidents.

Toilet or “potty” training is a big developmental step for your child, and a life changer for you and your family.  Because every child is unique, it’s important to treat potty training the same way. During this extended time at home during the coronavirus quarantine you may be wondering, “Is this is a good time to potty train my child?”

While your days may be less rushed and you won’t have the added worry of finding a public bathroom when you’re out and about, it might be the right time for your child. But it might not. Here are some signs your child might be ready to ditch the diapers.

How to tell if my child is ready for potty training 

Toilet training is best accomplished when kids are between 2½ to 3½ years old. Some children may be ready to potty train a bit earlier or later than this, but we recommended not to start before the age of two. Potty training too early can contribute to long term issues with constipation, bed wetting and daytime accidents. There are many things you can do to promote the skills your child need for successful toileting. But, try not to begin the process before your child is ready.

Children are considered “ready” when he or she:

  • is aware of urges, is uncomfortable when wet and has a desire to remain dry
  • has dry periods that last two hours or longer
  • is eating a diverse diet that includes fiber and water to promote healthy stools. General guidelines call for drinking one ounce of fluid for every two pounds of body weight. So, your 30 pound son should drink at least 15 ounces of fluid every day.
  • has regular, soft poops (soft serve ice cream consistency is ideal)
  • imitates older family members
  • is able to follow simple directions
  • has an adequate attention span for a child his age
  • has the motor skills to safely sit on a toilet and manager her own clothing.

Tips for successful potty training:

  • It’s OK for your child to feel “wet” during the transition from diapers. If your child sometimes feels wet it will help them understand why using the toilet is important. In the meantime, you can use cloth diapers or cotton underpants with plastic pants; or a paper towel or thin cotton lining inside a diaper. 
  • Use a small potty chair on the floor or a potty seat attached to your toilet. Add a child size step stool so your child can easily reach the seat.
  • Your child’s knees should be positioned slightly higher and wider than their hips to allow for full pelvic floor relaxation. 
  • Make use of your natural body rhythms. Have your child attempt to poop 10-15 minutes after a meal or snack.
  • Demonstrate how to wipe and encourage kids to do it on their own. Remind them to wipe from front to back. Let them try first, check them, and if necessary, give them tips on how they can do better. Wipes can be helpful while toilet training, just teach them not to flush wipes.
  • Buffer flushing noises. Some kids are frightened by the sound of flushing. Never flush the toilet while your child is sitting on it.  If your child is stressed by the sound of flushing let them leave the bathroom while you flush or try having your child wear headphones to block the noise.
  • Celebrate successes and praise the little things. Reward behaviors you want to keep, ignore the behaviors you don’t. Rewards can be as simple as singing a song, using sticker charts, inexpensive toys, chips or coins placed into a container, listening to music or books, or wearing a fun hat or scarf. You can also add food coloring or Fruit Loops or Cheerios that float in the water and watch them flush away.

Preparing your child for potty training:

If your child isn’t quite ready for potty training, you can still work on skills they will need, such as:

  • Practice putting on socks to build hand and pinch strength as well as pushing down and pulling up their pants
  • Play games to help your child have less anxiety or fear.
  • drop small pieces of leftover food into the toilet and listen to the “kerplunk” sound with your child
  • introduce bathroom noises in a fun way!
  • with boys, toss a few Fruit Loops or Cheerios  into the toilet water and have them practice aiming  their stream to sink them
  • Practice climbing onto and off the toilet using a stool
  • Talk about healthy poop and what to eat. Suggest your child try drinking more water or eating a favorite fiber loaded fruit or vegetable if they are constipated.
  • Talk about healthy pee. Suggest your child try drinking more water so their urine is a light yellow to clear color.
  • Talk about healthy pee. Suggest your child try drinking more water so their urine is a light yellow to clear color.

The bottom line: Potty training can be a success and even a fun time for you and your child if you plan ahead, be creative, and be patient.


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