Does the mention of potty training fill you with dread? It’s a daunting task for both the parent and the child. We want to get it right, but what is the right age to start training? As with most things, you will not be short of advice, from friends, family members and health visitors they’ll all be able to share their experiences and tips. (There will always be that one person who claims their child was out of nappies at a year old. Just smile and nod) In this blog I have explained the top tips for potty training to make it as successful as possible!
1. Are they ready?
The first thing we want to make sure of is whether our child is ready. Different children are ready at different times and the timing has nothing to do with their intelligence or personality.
When they are ready, they’ll be able to know they’re got a wet or dirty nappy, or they may even know when they need to pee and say to you in advance. This is a good starting point!
2. Potty or toilet?
Many children feel more secure starting with a potty that sits on the floor rather than one that sits on the toilet as it’s less daunting and it gives them the security and balance that comes with being able to put their feet securely on the ground. Although some children may prefer to sit on the toilet so this one is just preference! However, it’s handy purchasing a step stool for getting to the sink and, eventually transitioning to the big toilet!
3. Go shopping!
Bring your kids to the shop and buy them ‘big boy’ or ‘big girl’ pants. Involving them from day one will really improve their chances of success. They will get super excited about wearing their favourite characters or colours. And don’t forget – it’s also better for the environment as nappies take up to 500 years to decompose!
4. Accidents happen
Staying calm and patient is key. Accidents are bound to happen – they’re learning after all, this is a big step for a little toddler. If your child picks up on any stress or frustration from their parent, it can make them stressed and nervous and lead to even more accidents!
5. Stay consistent
Potty training is a milestone for your child. For best results, start when there isn’t much going on in either of your lives. Avoid times when you are busy or big changes are happening like starting nursery, there’s a new pet in your house, or even a new baby! This ensures you are both relaxed and can give it your best shot!
6. Reward them
Set up an award system – this is a great motivator to use the potty! Use a sticker chart and put a sticker on each time they used the potty successfully. Make sure to let your child see the award system and explain it to them, leave it where your child can see it, so they can associate it with going to the potty.
7. Make it fun!
This will make things a lot easier and relaxed. There are plenty of potty training songs out there to use and silly books with pictures that can only be read when on the potty!
Secret tip - When it comes to standing-up wees, boys (and for that matter, many men) need some practice with aim. Floating a ping pong ball in the toilet water and seeing if they can hit it is a good game, and useful too. But you may also have to accept you’ll be mopping up wet floors for several months/years/lifetimes.