The Trials and Tribulations of Potty Training
The thought of potty training can throw us into panic and dread and leave both baby and parents in tears.
Everyone has opinions, suggesting multiple different methods, timing and products for potty training. This advice can be confusing and very often conflicting, start in the summer or the winter, use pull-ups or go straight to pants, stay at home or go out, offer treats or not!!
For me the biggest secret to successful potty training was the timing I.e is your child ready?? That sounds so simple and yet it can be tricky!
Children will reach it at different ages and the timing is not a statement about intelligence, personality or motivation although that’s how many parents will make you feel....
Here are a few quick tips to help you and your little one on their journey.
Is your child ready and what are the signs?
- Can they pull down and pull up their own pants?
- Do they let you know when they have done a poo or a wee and want to be changed?
- Does your child know what a wet or dry nappy means?
- Are their bowel movements at a fairly predictable time?
- Have they started to talk to you about other people using the bathroom?
If you answer yes to a lot of these questions, then your child may be ready!
Tips for successful potty training
Ease of access is key, so put your potty in a place where your child will spend most of their time. It doesn't have to be in the bathroom it can sit in a corner of your playroom.
Have the potty around for a few days prior to starting training so your child can practice and become familiar with sitting on it.
I would recommend a potty as most children feel less scared sitting with their feet on the floor rather than the seats that sit on top of the toilet. Also, they are less likely to fall off...
I strongly believe that my children do what I do rather than what I say... so show them, bring them with you when you are going to the toilet.
Put your child in easy-to-remove cloths such as elasticated trousers or a skirt/dress and buy some "big boy/girl pants" and start chatting about them.
Remind them. It may seem like nagging, but young children often get distracted and ‘forget’ that they need to use the potty.
Look out for the signs! When you see that the little up-and-down dance or the knees-together, find a loo fast.
I allowed for a few activity-free days so that I could dedicate my time without any undue pressure.
Try to coordinate with all your children's caregivers. Let your teachers and minders know how you are doing at home and ask them to do the same.
Give you child praise for each step, even the small ones and the ones that aren't completely successful. Keep positive.
We all know that little boys aim can be very bad in the early stages so make it a bit fun! Putting some ice cubes with food colouring or some o-shaped cereal. If you are feeling adventurous try adding some blue food colouring to the water - this will turn green when the yellow hits it!
Don't worry about night training for a while. I would recommend waiting until your child is regularly dry after waking from naps and sometimes dry in the morning. We used to lift our children when we were going to bed for one last wee.... Overnight bladder control doesn't usually come for a year or so after daytime control.
But most importantly remember to be patient and prepared for accidents - it's part of the process. try not to get angry - I know how hard it can be...
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