Potty Training Q&A: How to Start, Should Dad Help?, & More

You have potty training questions, and we got an expert to answer them! Dr. Heather Wittenberg is a licensed psychologist with a PsyD degree whose specialty is in the development of babies, toddlers, preschoolers and parents.

Question: I'm going to be potty training fairly soon. Is it better if I continue with our regular routine and just incorporate potty training, or is it better to change our routine so that I'm spending more time with my little one while potty training?

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Dr. Heather:  Deciding when to start can be tricky. Your child’s readiness, plus YOUR readiness, need to go hand in hand to make the process a success. So while you’re free to follow your usual routine during potty training, you should allow yourself a bit more time during the day to allow for learning (and the inevitable cleanups!) It’s also important not to rush potty training before your little one is ready, but it’s also important to fully commit and ditch the diapers to start the process. Check out this Pull-Ups potty training readiness quiz to see if your child is demonstrating potty training readiness behaviors. See if your toddler has any interest in trying on Pull-Ups Training Pants – the stretchy sides will allow them to get the Pull-Ups on and off by themselves so they can practice important skills. You might also see if they have any interest in experimenting with the potty or sitting on it. Once you’re able to gauge your child’s interest and readiness, visit Pull-Ups.com for more information on how to get started.

Question: Can my Spouse help train our son faster?

Dr. Heather:  Absolutely! I’d encourage getting several family members involved in the potty training journey to encourage consistency. Potty training is a big, symbolic moment in your child’s development. Your little one is no longer a baby, but a toddler! Your child is working to build a complex, lifelong skill and your family’s guidance, support and patience will help set the tone of your child’s relationship with your spouse. You can make it fun by using sticker charts, games, activities, and more at Pull-Ups.com. One important point for dads and brothers, though – show your little one how to use the potty while sitting down. Standing while peeing is a more advanced skill that can come later.

Question: My 3 year old son does not like to be dirty, but he only sits on the toilet after he's soiled his diaper or pull-up. Somehow this boy manages it without the obvious squatting. Are there other tell-tale cues I can use to get him on the toilet BEFORE he goes?

Dr. Heather:  Parents usually recognize when their child has to go to the bathroom (the wiggle, the crossed legs), but sometimes a certain time of day, or following a meal, is the tipoff to try the potty. Some children are more regular than others, depending on their personality. Check out our quiz to find out YOUR little one’s potty personality. The trick is turning those signals into teachable moments so your child can begin to connect the body’s sensations into an awareness of needing to visit the potty. Have him explain how it feels when he knows he has to go, and tell him what it feels like when YOU need to go – as well as how good it feels afterwards. This will help build his own internal cues, as well as helping you recognize when he has to go. Visit Pull-Ups.com for more tips on helping your child know when to go.

For more expert answers to your potty-training questions, check out Dr. Heather’s other tips!

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