There's more than one way to teach a toddler to use the potty--from elaborate sticker-and-reward systems to the let-him-go-barebottomed-all-day approach. Whatever technique (or techniques) you decide to try, you'll want to make sure your child is ready. Most kids are 2_ before they're developmentally able to give the potty a try (and some are even older--especially boys). In any case, you'll know it's time when your tot complains when his diaper is wet or soiled; he pulls at it; it's clear he knows when he needs to "go;" he has words for "pee" and "poop." Once you see most or all of these signs, you'll know it's time to say bye-bye to diapers, and hello to these potty-training must-haves:
- POTTY SEAT
- It could be a little plastic pot, an elaborate mini-version of a grown-up toilet (complete with paper holder and a place to stash newspapers, er, board books), or simply an insert for the regular toilet. Pick a potty based on your child's personality--not your bathroom dÈcor--if, that is, you want him to actually use the thing. If he likes mimicking Mom and Dad, for instance, he might like the attachment that lets him use the same toilet you do.
- TRAINING PANTS
- These disposable diaper/underpants hybrids are a hundred percent more practical than cotton underwear while your child is learning the ropes of potty training. He can slide them up and down all by himself (and, in the event of a spectacular accident, you can get them off easily by ripping the side seams). Find a brand that fits your tot's tush snugly (especially around the leg holes, to prevent leaks). And consider a type that allows him to feel wetness when he pees in it: It'll help him learn more quickly when he's got to go.
- FLUSHABLE WIPES
- Unless you want to put your plumber's number on speed dial, switch from regular baby wipes to a version that won't clog up the pipes. Most come in refillable, pop-up tubs--super kid-friendly.
- BOOKS AND DVDS
- Audiovisual aids never hurt, and there are dozens of them out there to help teach toilet training, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding a book or DVD that your child will relate to. Some even have two versions--one for boys, and one for girls.