Making the all-important transition from diapers to potty-trained is a challenging step for your little tot, but a very beneficial one. Potty-trained children are not prone to diaper-related ailments such as diaper rash and diarrhea caused by rotavirus. As an added benefit, children who are trained earlier are less likely to suffer from urinary tract infections.

From a financial perspective, cutting on diapers means saving a sizeable chunk of baby expenses, which can be channeled into development for your child. Despite these obvious benefits, the average age for potty-training risen year-on-year. Several potty training guides will recommend training your child only after certain developmental skills are exhibited, such as walking and the ability to follow verbal commands. However, these skills are developed at a different pace in each child.

We believe that there are health and developmental advantages to begin potty training early. In this sharing we offer several pointers on how to kick-start your child’s journey to independence!

1. Practice makes Perfect

Once you’ve got the right equipment figured out, the next (and arguably most challenging) task will be to get your child onto the potty chair. Potty training can start as early as 3 – 6 months, when babies are able to sit up on their own. Once they gain more mobility with age, they may have less patience to sit on the potty chair for extended periods.

Set your child on the potty chair at times when she’s likely to have a bowel movement. Start with short durations of time, and gradually increase as she becomes more comfortable and it becomes a routine. If she is initially reluctant or apprehensive of potty training, don’t force it as this would only result in increased aversion towards potty training.

Toddlers learn a whole lot just from visual cues. A good way to potty train a toddler will be to demonstrate the entire process from start to finish. This includes wiping, flushing the toilet, wearing the pants and washing of hands, but not necessarily in that order.

2. Dangle a Juicy Carrot

Bribery is the oldest trick in the book, and for good reason – it sure as heck works! Create a surprise bag and place in it whatever your child fancies, be it soft toys, puzzles, or M&M’s (just make sure he washes his hands prior!). Each time that your child goes for potty training, reward her with a present. Let her choose it for maximal effect. If she shows progress, show appreciation by rewarding her with a commensurately larger gift.

If you’re concerned that your child will be asking for treats for potty time all the way into adulthood, fret not. Children are eager to please their parents, so once they are familiar with the routine of potty time, withhold the gifts and give them verbal praise and encouragement instead. You may be surprised; this verbal reinforcement is significantly more precious to them than a random treat. Make a big deal about each of their progress steps, and they’ll make potty training a big deal just for you!

3. If all else fails, distract them

Well, tough luck if you’ve had to come to this point. Perhaps your child is not that ready, or simply uncomfortable to relax during potty time. The good news is, there are a multitude of solutions available. It just takes a wee bit more effort.

The basic idea will be to help you child view potty time as an enjoyable activity. Try singing her favorite tune during potty time, and if you can get her to sing along, then you’ve made some progress. Alternatively, grab some of her favorite toys or story books and read them aloud to her. Better still, let her do the reading, helping with her vocabulary and potty training – that’s killing two birds with one stone!

When you child has successfully navigated the challenges of potty training, let them experience wearing real cloth underwear, which would be a “refreshing” change from the icky soiled diapers. With that, we wish you success in potty training and saying goodbye to those stuffy diapers!

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