Potty training is really the first instance in our baby’s life where we’re teaching him/her how to respond to their bodies. This is a time that will require us as parents to stay as patient as possible. In fact, I think this will really set the stage for how our children respond to learning. It’s important that our child doesn’t feel self-conscious or fearful, but ultimately confident in their new learnt skill.

Here are 8 tips for potty training your toddler:

Timing for Baby: Before you begin, make sure your baby is ready for potty training. They need to be able to physically use the potty and signal that they need to go.

Timing for Parents: It’s helpful to make sure both parents are at in a positive state of mind. If there is a lot going on in your life, then it may hinder on your focus or energy toward training your toddler. Your routine should be as normal as possible while you take your baby through this process.

Use positive encouragement. Forcing them to sit on the potty until they go will only lead to setbacks in potty training. If you force them, it will create negative thoughts about using the bathroom that may last a long time. We don’t want our child to withhold letting us know they need to potty.

Progress: Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that potty training should take a specific amount of time. Every child is unique and while some may learn in three days, others may take as long as a year. Be patient because there is no point in trying to make them learn faster.

Accidents: They will happen and it’s normal. Make sure to help clean up the mess and simply wait until next time to encourage them to use the potty.

Clothing: Make sure you dress your baby in clothes that are easy to manage. They may wait until its almost too late to make it to the potty, so it’s helpful to dress them in easy-to-remove clothing. It’s actually helpful if you’re at home to let your baby run nude. So they can easily get to the potty or let you know that they need to go.

Bed-wetting after Potty Training: Bed-wetting, or enuresis is not solved through potty training and is a separate issue altogether. It’s common for occasional bedwetting even after your baby has been successfully potty-trained. Sometimes our potty-trained toddlers don’t have the bladder control or mental capacity to know they need to wake up and go to the bathroom.

Understanding the Bathroom: Ease your baby into the strange sites and sounds of the bathroom. Familiarize them with the toilet flush, get them comfortable with the confined space, and help them understand that there is water in different areas of the bathroom. Putting yourself in their shoes will help ease their mentality while potty-training.

Potty training your toddler is all about patience and encouragement. This is really the first opportunity we get to make an impression on our children and how they can expect to be taught and trained by us as parents.