Changing diapers is no one’s favorite part of parenting. Still, the prospect of potty- or toilet-training your child can be daunting. When is the best time to start? What’s the best way to go about it? How do you manage the whole process without giving your kid a complex?
It doesn’t help that parents often hear conflicting opinions – from their friends, their relatives, even from the experts! – on how best to transition their kids out of diapers and onto the toilet or potty.
Neither does it make your life easier if your child resists making the transition, or if he or she begins to make it, only to go on strike and revert back to diapers. And sometimes spouses, too, differ on their preferred approaches, making consistency a moving target. Plus, you may feel pressure from family or friends, sitters, daycare workers or preschool teachers to pick up the pace or do things differently.
With so many potty-training approaches, methods and philosophies floating around – and so much outside pressure to make the change and possible resistance from the person that matters most in this exercise, your child – what’s a parent to do?
Take a deep breath, visualize something calm, and remember this: No matter what path you take toward potty- or toilet-training your child, and no matter when you start, the finish line is remarkably stable. By the time they are three and a half, most children are either potty-trained or well on their way. And even if it takes a little longer than that, we promise, sooner or later, no matter how easy or difficult it is to get there, that day will come.
This guide is designed to help you reach that finish line and enter the promised land – the bathroom – with a kid who’s excited and proud to be using it. Just think how satisfied you’ll both feel when you kick those diapers (and wipes and changing pads and diaper creams and diaper bags) to the curb and break out the new undies.