A common misconception when potty training is that you must prompt your child and take them to the potty every 30-60 minutes.
This is false and here’s why!
If a child relies on you to prompt them to go to the bathroom, they won’t learn how to read their personal body cues telling them that their bladder is full or that they need to poop. Instead, they will wait for you to take them, even if their body isn’t signaling that it's time to go. This can result in accidents once the prompting stops, at no fault of the child.
Constantly prompting a child can grow tiring, frustrating and result in the child resisting or pushing back on potty training altogether. We want to make the potty training experience fun and positive for our children, not stressful and annoying!
Children are much more capable of going through this process than we often give them credit for! In order for children to learn the new skill of potty training, we must trust them to learn and read their own bodies and self-initiate going to the toilet.
When we allow children to learn and perform new skills independently, they will be more likely to become successful at the new task more quickly because there won’t be any confusion as to when they need to rely on you (their guardian) and when they need to act independently.
If we believe in our kiddos fully, they’ll more likely have the confidence to believe in themselves and accomplish the new skill sets in front of them.
There are TWO valid reasons where I condone prompting:
1. Before naptime or bedtime.
2. Before you all are about to leave the house to go somewhere.
Setting your child up for success is important, and therefore I suggest prompting for these two big events, because children often don’t realize they have to go to the bathroom until their bladder is full. If they are busy playing in a social setting, or fast asleep in bed, they’ll be less likely to get to the potty on time.
I receive a handful of questions saying, “I try to let my child self-initiate, but they are still having accidents, what do I do?!” In this case, I recommend a potty watch! A potty watch is a child friendly watch that will alert them when it’s time to go potty. This will bridge the gap into self-initiation, without you having to be involved. It’s essentially a more independent method of prompting to help children learn how to self-initiate.
Some children will need a little extra help learning how to read their own body cues and self-initiate, and others will catch on pretty quickly and that’s okay! Every child is different and that’s what makes this whole process beautiful!
Each morning during potty training you can say something like, “Let me know when your body is telling you it’s time to go potty and I’ll help you! I won’t ask you to go again.” Believe in your child because they are absolutely capable of learning this new skill!