Congratulations! Your little one knows when she has to go potty, her diapers are staying dry and she's showing other classic signs of potty training readiness. Chances are, you're good to go.
So now what? Well, before you officially begin potty training, make sure that you are ready to take on the challenge, too. It does require a commitment, because you'll probably need about six weeks just to complete basic toilet training.
Here are some tips that will help when you decide to get started.
Pick a potty
This may sound like an obvious first step, but a little planning ahead before buying goes a long way. Getting your little one involved in the purchase of her potty can help build excitement and encourage her interest in toilet training. Make time to go shopping together and let her help you select the perfect one.
That's right, play with the potty. It will help your child feel comfortable and proud that she has a potty that's all her own. Let her put it wherever she wants to (really, it doesn't have to be in the bathroom) and encourage her to sit on it with her clothes on to start. You can add more fun to the experience by having her potty train her favorite doll or stuffed animal.
Learning to go potty like the big kids isn't easy. Your little one needs your support and encouragement to keep her going. Praise her interest in sitting on the potty even if she doesn't poop, pee or take off her diaper. When she has an accident (it happens), remain positive by letting her know that it's okay and she can try again next time.
Try an incentive
What's best? That depends on the child. Maybe a potty training sticker chart featuring her favorite cartoon character will work. If that doesn't do it, offer playtime at the park or an extra treat. It might take a little experimenting to figure out what appeals most to your little one, but in the end she'll feel happy knowing that she's making progress and her efforts are being recognized.
Skip the punishment
Is that another puddle of pee in the family room? Take a deep breath and avoid punishing your toddler for inevitable accidents. Being negative won't help her learn any quicker and will likely have the opposite effect. Some research even suggests that using punishment techniques when potty training could mean a greater risk of incontinence and urinary tract infections for your little one-not good!
Reward her success
Has your child been using the potty properly for one week or more? If so, she's probably ready to try training pants or cotton underwear. You can let her pick out her favorite styles at the store as a reward for all her efforts. Remember, bowel control and nighttime dryness will definitely take several more months or even years for her to master. But that doesn't diminish her accomplishment. Learning how to use the potty successfully is a milestone that is worthy of celebration.