Welcome to the wonderful world of potty training. One part liberating, one part frustrating, and all parts necessary, taming the toilet is a rite of toddlerhood. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. A potty chart is among the weapons to keep in your bladder arsenal – it prevents you from going in unprepared, wading through unchartered waters made up of urine. In other words, a potty chart is a new kind of “flow” chart.
Get your free printable potty training charts here and see for yourself!
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Why are Potty Charts Beneficial
Potty charts are so effective because they help all parties involved: parents, caregivers, kids, moppers of the tile floors.
Potty charts bring several benefits to your bathroom. By tracking successes, they let your child see their progress; a tangible visual may be the motivation they need. Charts provide a sense of self-awareness as well as control and they demonstrate that there is a right way to go potty and a wrong way to go potty. When you add in a prize at the end, a chart allows your child to see how close they are to the reward.
But potty charts benefit parents too. They show you what’s working, what’s not working, and where you should be concerned. They also make it easier to consult with a pediatrician, if needed.
How to Use a Potty Chart
There are several ways to use a potty chart effectively, including:
Make the potty chart a sticker chart:
Hang a sticker chart at your child’s eye level (where they can literally keep their eye on the prize) and let your kid put one on the chart every time they use the potty successfully. This works because stickers are favorites among children. From the fuzzy to the scratch-and-sniff, kids will do almost anything for a sweet piece of adhesive (including pee and poop in the potty). Stickers are most effective when used as an immediate positive reinforcement and don’t make it too difficult to earn; you want them to constantly feel that sense of pride.
One of the keys to potty charts is communication. Make sure your kid knows why they’re getting stickers and what they need to do to earn them. You want your child to correlate the act of using the toilet with the received prize.
Kids who are learning to potty train won’t simply stop what they’re doing, grab the latest edition of New York Times, and head to the bathroom to poop. They need you to help them. Remind them to tell you when they need to go.
Make your child your potty partner:
To train effectively, your child must be invested in this process: so, involve them! Let them be the ones who add the sticker to the chart (or, if they prefer, swap that sticker out for a stamp or marker). Kids love when they get to do things; it gives them a sense of accomplishment.
If your child is only going to the bathroom two or three times a day, it'll take forever to fill up the chart. Frequent bathroom trips, on the other hand, allow for more stickers, which makes way for more inspiration. If your child appears to have a bladder the size of an elephant’s, ply them with water and juice. They must have to go to practice going.
A final thing to consider is the reward itself. It’s not only important that you have a prize but a prize your child wants. If your daughter is a tomboy and all your stickers are princesses and daisies, she won’t have much interest in them. But, what’s more, make sure the reward fits the act. If your child tinkled in the toilet, a sticker might suffice; if they go number 2 in the loo, consider a sticker and another small prize (such as a piece of chocolate or a small toy). More on this below……
How to Choose the Right Reward
So, you already know that it’s important for you to choose a reward your child will like, but what else is important in evaluating the potency of a prize?
A few thoughts to consider include:
Supplementing the sticker:
If your child loves stickers, they might be enough. But if not, consider supplementing the sticker reward with something else (such as a piece of gum).
Reward the rows:
After your child fills all the squares in a row, reward them for that row. This adds another tier of incentive, literally. Your row reward doesn’t need to be something physical – it could be a fun game.
Reward the sheet:
Like rewarding the row, reward your child each time they fill the sheet. Make this reward a little bigger than the previous rewards. You might consider a new toy, a trip to the zoo, or a new book.
Free Potty Training Charts
If you’re ready to rock and (toilet paper) roll, click on one of these free printable potty charts to get started. Choose one with your child’s favorite character and let the transition to the toilet begin!
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