Today we are going to talk about communication and how it relates to potty training! It is super important to communicate our expectations and our guidance in a way that our kiddos can easily understand so that they do not feel overwhelmed or confused.
Here are a few helpful tips on communicating with your kiddo during the PT process:
Tip 1: MODEL – show your child what you want them to do. You can do this by using the potty yourself and talking through the steps, or by using some of their toys or stuffed animals. Role play is a great way to teach the steps of potty use!
Tip 2 - REQUEST - Have your child sign/say “potty” and “all done”. Verbal communication isn't entirely necessary before you introduce potty learning!
Tip 3: USE PICTURES - (picture of a toilet, pictures for a sequence of going potty, etc.) Visual aids are a great way for kids who struggle with speech to learn AND to use to indicate the need to go potty.
Tip 4: ASK/ANSWER – In the early stages of learning, ask your child, “Do you need to potty?” Allow the child to answer/gesture “yes”/”no”. This keeps things simplified and allows your child to feel a certain level of control.
Tip 5: FOLLOW DIRECTIONS- Tell your child to follow 1 or 2-step directions like sit on the potty, flush, wash hands, flush then pull up pants.
Before starting the potty training process, it can also be incredibly helpful to begin bringing up topics surrounding potty training in a casual, lighthearted, and positive way.
Children can often be fearful and/or even resist change. Potty training is a BIG change in the lives of our little ones, so it is not unheard of for children to struggle with the initial introduction of this process.
If you have hit a wall with your child’s potty training and you can’t seem to figure out how to move forward, believe it or not, it can help to simply talk to them! But how do you REALLY talk to someone so young and get them to open up about what they are thinking and feeling?
Arrange some one on one time – It helps to make our kiddos feel special and relaxed before bringing up a tough topic.
Engage with personal interests – “I’m so happy to be hanging out with you today! I see that you’ve been reading a lot of books, which ones are your favorite?”
Identify likes and feelings – “Do you like it when I read to you? How does it make you feel?”
Wait to hear their entire answer – Allow your child to really think about their response and express their feelings without any interruption.
Ask potty related questions – Once there is a good give and take to the conversation, you can begin asking potty-related questions. “Your teacher mentioned that you had an accident at school today, how did that make you feel?”
Spike curiosity – “I wonder why you don’t like sitting on the potty sometimes?”
Put the ball in their court – “So what do you think you should do next time?”
Learn! – Try to listen and learn as much as you can from your child. This conversation is simply exploratory to learn about your kiddo's thoughts and feelings. (This practice works best on children ages 3 and up!)
It all comes down to trust and really listening to our kiddos, without a premeditated response. Our kiddos want to feel heard, just like we do!
We are our children’s guides throughout this process, and when we can communicate on their level, we will likely witness successes and an overall positive experience quickly and permanently!
Happy Potty training!