7 Ways to Make a Happy Potty Place for Your Child
Some children will happily potty anywhere, any time. But to some children, a bathroom is a formidable place with big, hard fixtures and big, cold expectations. A positive bathroom environment will help your child feel at ease testing his early potty skills. A child-friendly bathroom gives your child the feeling this is “his” special place to grow and learn. As with all playful learning, your child is at the center of a very personal experience. Is the bathroom a happy place for your child? Create a positive space where he wants to spend valuable time learning.
You don’t need a professionally decorated child-themed bathroom to entice your child. You definitely do not need expensive fixtures and accessories that have you hovering over your child’s use. Think instead about what your child looks at when he sits on the potty. Would he like a mirror to see himself? Would he like to see a piece of his artwork framed or an enlarged picture of himself on the potty or of him washing his hands? Would he like a book basket nearby? Consider your potty room from your child’s point of view and create a place of ease and comfort for him.
7 Ways to Make a Happy Potty Place for Your Child
- Write your child’s name with a colorful permanent marker or add stickers to his potty chair or his step stool.
- Add theme towels or personalized name towels. Decorate your own with fabric paints or buy your child’s favorites.
- Use child-friendly hooks for your child’s towel instead of the usual towel bar.
- Add some fun foam soap in an attractive child-pump dispenser.
- Create a pull-up/dry clothes station where your child can change during the transitional weeks. Designate a drawer or add a cubby for clean pull-ups.
- Double check that the temperature on the hot water is turned down.
- Use an easy wash enamel-base paint on the walls.
Even though your child is becoming more independent in his potty exploration, continue to supervise when he’s in the bathroom for safety and positive potty habits.
If your home has more than one bathroom, designate one as your child’s special potty place, preferably a bathroom close to where he plays or sleeps. This may pose a problem if you live in a two-story house. If so, pick the bathroom that has easiest access for a potty training child in a hurry. You also have the option of buying multiple potty chairs or potty seats for multiple bathrooms.
The Potty Chair or Potty Seat
Before you begin any structured potty training, introduce your child to the potty furniture. Potty chairs and potty seats come in many varieties, from minimalist to elaborate, from simple to complex-and-batteries-required. One person’s favorite is another person’s torture.
Keep your child’s personality in mind when choosing a potty seat or potty chair. Better yet, let him be involved in the selection. A razzle-dazzle child might love bells and whistles and music when he pees. Another child might prefer to decorate his own potty chair and let his own imagination transform his chair into a potty throne.
Either way, introduce your child to his potty chair or seat by explaining this is where he will pee and poop one day. He already knows that he has a high chair or booster seat for eating, and maybe a small table and chair for playing. The next step is learning he has a place to potty, just like mommy and daddy have a special place to potty. The intellectual and emotional connections are made through ongoing familiarity with his potty place.
Your child gets acquainted with his potty chair in three basic steps. The first is ownership, in which he learns, “Look, this is mine!” “Mine” is a powerful word for your toddler. Let him revel in the feeling, especially when something really is his. Talk about the potty chair as his potty and the big toilet as your potty. Say, “Look, we both have potty places. One is big and one is little—just like us!”
The next step is appropriate use, in which he learns what to do with this new chair or seat. He can sit on the potty chair; he can read on his potty chair; he can play with a doll on his potty chair. He may not use his potty chair to climb onto the bathroom counter. He may not throw small toys into the potty chair. He may not use his potty chair instead of a chair at the dinner table. The same with the potty seat. It fits on the toilet “just right.” It’s not a hat or a Frisbee. It’s to use when you want to use the potty.
The last step is making friends with the potty, when he decides “Yes, I like this.” Your child is interested in using the potty chair and spending time there learning about what his body can do. When he reaches this step, he is not frightened, intimidated, or overwhelmed by the existence of his potty chair.
Potty Training Foods
Last but not least, the right potty training foods will also add to a positive potty training environment. Obviously, eating and pottying go hand-in-hand. Potty training is easier if you are giving your child plenty of fluids and non-binding foods. High-fiber foods keep things “moving.” Too much dairy slows things down.
Give your child healthy meals and snacks. Brown rice, wheat and multi-grain breads, bran cereals and muffins, fresh and dried fruits, and fresh vegetables all help digestion. Prune juice, peach nectar, and pear nectar ease constipation. Also give plenty of water. Limit junk foods, high fat foods, and dairy. Avoid giving him crackers, cookies, and sweets that fill him up before he eats the healthy high-fiber foods. Reduce white flour breads and pastas. Monitor daily amounts of dairy products with milk and cheese. Also, decrease portions of bananas and applesauce if he is complaining of hard poops or seems to be pushing too hard.
Great teachers know that a well designed environment is like having an extra teacher by your side. Congratulations! You have now all the essentials for a positive potty environment, which means you have extra help and support for your potty training adventure. You have taken a giant step toward a successful potty experience with a home that fits your child’s potty needs in both size and style.
Want more potty training tips? Check out "Creating a Child-Centered Potty Training Experience" now!
Give your child a boost of confidence with a personalized book about this always-exciting, sometimes-challenging milestone. Big Boys Go Potty and Big Girls Go Potty ask your child about their experience going potty, offering encouragement when they have an accident and praise when they succeed.