Potty training is something all parents have to do, so here are my top tips for an easy ride – but remember, every child is different and what works for one might not work for another, it’s all just trial and error.
Don’t forget that accidents are inevitable at first, don’t be angry or make a fuss. If your toddler has an awful lot of accidents, or shows any signs of distress about potty training, stop for a month before trying again – they may not be ready.
1. Buy a Potty
At around 18 months, buy a comfortable potty, there are so many designs and styles, buy something you think they will like. It may be a good idea to have one for upstairs, one for downstairs. Let them sit on it for fun now and again. Tell them what it’s for, and if they do anything in it, praise them – but don’t expect too much too soon.
2. Timing is everything
Most parents start proper potty training around the age of two (some are older and some younger, it all depends on your child). Get them sitting on it more regularly before you start the ‘real’ training.
3. Nappy Off!
Leave them with their nappy off from time to time. Its best to do this for a couple of hours when you have time to spare at home. Sit them on the potty now and then. Be prepared for lots of accidents but don’t worry, it will get them used to the feeling of not having a nappy to soak it up.
4. Pants time
Get some fun pants with characters on they like, it will help a lot when getting them to wear them, maybe even let them choose their pants themselves. Choose a week when you’ve got lots of spare time and wont be going far to start your ‘serious’ potty training. When training choose easy clothes like jogging bottoms so they can be pulled up and down easily.
5. Ask, ask, ask.
When you get started you need to keep reminding your child, so keep asking regularly if they need the potty at first. There will be many accidents and it can get frustrating but don’t get cross and persevere. Once they are doing well with you asking try reducing the number of times you put them on the potty – your aim is to help them recognise the signals for themselves.
6. Be prepared
Put them on the potty before you go out and remember that they will probably need to go whilst you are out too so regular trips to the loo will be needed. Take a spare pare of clothes just in case and put a towel or carrier bag on their car seat to avoid anything getting ruined.
7. Make allowances
You might want to try using disposable trainer pants when you’re away from home or when you don’t know if there’ll be a toilet you can get to quickly. These absorb accidents but can also be pulled up and down like ordinary pants. Of a night you can use these or a nappy, remember that children can take up to a year after potty training to become dry at night so don’t feel you need to rush them.
8. You’ve done it!
Some children will get it in a few days, others can takes weeks and weeks, don’t worry – if you feel your child really isn’t getting it go back to nappies and try again in a month, sometimes the older they are the more quickly they pick it up. Remember they will probably still have a few accidents, so keep on persevering. They will still need help from you with things like bottom-wiping and clothes with zips and buttons – good luck!