Summer can be a great time to work on toilet training with your child. Warmer weather makes it easy to let them run around in just their underwear without having to worry about the layering needs of winter weather, particularly for those in cooler climates.
Need some stress-free tips and tools to help your child learn how to use the potty and feel confident and independent? We’ll cover the highlights here, but we also recommend taking a look back at our “Toilet Time” Training and Potty Training Bundle posts for even more toilet training wisdom.
Here are a few ideas to keep in mind when you start this adventure with your child this summer.
1. Take your time
Everyone’s heard the stories from family and friends about knocking potty training out in a weekend. Well, guess what? That’s not always the case, and it is really not as common as you may think. Plus, when toilet training does happen, it’s because your child is ready for it and feels happy and confident about trying out some newfound skills and independence.
Every child develops differently and will be ready for different steps at different times. According to Tips for Toileting author Jo Adkins, kids are often most receptive to toilet training when they can imitate your actions and react to your directions. The real end-time for potty training is when kids push boundaries, usually around 4-5 years old. Don’t force it—setbacks can push back progress significantly!
2. Find books your child loves
If you start potty training when your kid can imitate and respond to you, they are probably understanding a lot. Books can help them understand the need to learn to use the toilet and feel less like you are forcing something on them that they don’t want to do.
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi is a great book to help children understand that using the toilet is a normal activity that everyone does. Look for some fun books and sticker packs to make potty time enjoyable and help create a sense of accomplishment for your kid. Remember, positive feedback is a big motivator and will help reduce toilet training stress for you and your child.
3. Use Time Timer
Potty training is about helping your child find and understand their bodily rhythms. Helping your kid create a rhythm around using the toilet will allow them to adjust on the go to their own natural rhythm. Create blocks of time for play and then blocks of “Toilet Time” and use your Time Timer to help your child clearly visualize these periods.
Start out with short blocks of 20 minutes of play and let your kid know when the timer is up, it's time to use the toilet. Don’t forget to include handwashing in the new routine to help your child create healthy habits from the start with the Time Timer WASH and WASH + Soap Dispenser. Get them in the routine even if they don't need to go. As they get used to this process, increase the time between trips to the toilet. Eventually, your child will make the call on their own. But remember, patience is key!