Attach the chart near your child’s potty so that he/she can see it while attempting to complete each step. You may also post the optional Hippo’s Reward Chart that allows your child to track progress and be proud of each accomplishment.
Learning this new task can be very rewarding for children when not rushed or pressured. Be sure to give ample encouragement. To ensure your child understands how the routine will work, introduce each step on the chart. Before you begin, you may demonstrate by allowing him/her to see you use the potty. Discuss what reward your child would like to receive once he/she has earned a star for five hippos. Rewards could be a trip to the playground, watching a TV show, or a special treat or activity.
Using Your Chart
Guide your child through each step on the chart by describing and pointing to the illustrations. Contribute any physical help needed at first, such as pulling pants down or wiping. Explain and demonstrate to your child how to wipe. Teach your child to wipe only once with each wipe or section of toilet paper and keep wiping until he/she only sees white on the wipe/toilet paper. Girls should be taught to wipe from front to back.
The five hippos represent accomplishments and it’s up to you to determine what constitutes those. For example, if your child is just starting the goal may be simply sitting for a minute or two on the potty while you read a favorite story. That would earn your child a hippo. As things progress, you will want to only give out hippos when your child uses the potty. The key is to stay positive and keep your child motivated to strive toward the reward. The reward is represented by the star, which is earned after the five hippos have been collected.
For boys, we have included a hippo standing at the potty illustration. If you are looking to teach this skill, simply Velcro the card next to, “Sit on the toilet and go potty.” There are many fun tricks for teaching boys how to aim, such as putting Cheerios or in the toilet as a target.
Going potty is a learning process; therefore, your child will make mistakes. It is important to stay calm and never get upset about accidents—your stress could cause her/him to be ashamed of going to the bathroom, which will interfere with learning and independence.
Ask your child to use the I Can Use the Potty! chart to teach a favorite stuffed animal or doll to go potty. This will help him/her to internalize the steps and allow you to make sure your child fully grasps the process and concept.
Add “going potty” to your child’s daily routine (when he/she gets up in the morning, before leaving the house or going to bed, and about every half hour or hour throughout each day, at first.) This will help your child recognize the need to go to the bathroom. As you see progress, you can allow your child to decide when it’s time to go. However, you still may want to have some scheduled potty times.
Encourage and teach the healthy habit of proper hand washing after potty use. (Our I Can Wash My Hands! is a great guide.) Because every child is unique and at a different stage when beginning potty training, don’t hesitate to add your own ideas as you use the chart and reward system. Games such as hiding a hippo card and letting your child go on a treasure hunt for it can make using the potty and earning the card even more fun!
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