So, the time has come. Your little one is showing signs of being ready to take the step towards the potty. If this conjures up images of a poop-covered house, 150 changes of clothes (for you and child) and an apocalypse-style barricading yourself in the house, then you’re halfway prepared.
While many parents look forward to the liberation of their child being toilet trained – no more nappies, no more dashes to changing rooms when there’s an explosion at the most inappropriate time, no more subtle bum-sniffing when you get a familiar whiff – it can also be a daunting prospect. It could go smoothly, or it could be a challenge. Either way, it will happen. You will successfully teach your little one to use the toilet and you will experience indescribable joy when the first poop in the potty is achieved… and you won’t be shy in sharing this momentous occasion with anyone who will listen.
The key to potty training is knowing when they are ready, and not feeling like a failure if it doesn’t happen straight away. Lots of people try, realise it’s not quite time yet, leave it a few weeks and try again. Here are a few pointers to help you and your child make the transition.
Signs that your child is ready for potty training
- Staying dry for 1 ½ – 2 hours
- Showing awareness of needing the toilet
- Keen to have their nappy off and wear pants
- Wriggles around when needing a poo or wee
How to help your child prepare
Make sure your child knows where the potty is – it’s a good idea to have one or two in different parts of the house so they are readily available. Make it fun – go and buy ‘big boy/girl pants’, let them choose a design they like with their favourite character on.
Encouragement and praise
Always encourage your child to use the potty every couple of hours. Take them to the potty after a drink and praise them, even if they didn’t actually do anything. Ask them often if they need to go to the loo. Accidents will inevitably happen, but don’t make a fuss when they do.
Be flexible and consistent
You may have to stop what you’re doing at regular intervals, so be prepared to focus a large amount of your time on training. Take your potty when you go out and about – you can even get travel potties. Wherever you are, keep the same routine of popping them on the potty or the toilet regularly.
Night-time toilet training
Pull-ups are a good idea at the start of potty training. Make sure you take them to the potty or toilet as part of their bedtime routine and ensure they know where the potty is if they wake up in the night. Leave a light on for them to make it easier. For some, staying dry through the night can take a long time, but don’t be disheartened. You’ll get there.