This can be both an exciting and daunting part of your child’s natural development.
I have helped potty train many children over the years, when working as a nanny and working in a creche environment and I’d like to share some of my tips with you. I have made the little video above to explain my tips. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel, so you don’t miss out on future videos as they go there first.
Here are some of my tips to help make potty training as easy as possible.
Firstly, ask yourself if your child is ready? If you are not sure maybe wait a little longer. If you start and then stop it can be even more difficult the next time around. Ensure that your child has a good level of communication – they are usually ready to potty train around 2.5yrs old – so they have a wide range of vocabulary and understanding.
Does your child show an interest in using the big toilet? Do they follow you or their siblings to the bathroom? If they do that’s great, let them and talk through the steps as you do your business and also hint that they will be a big boy / girl soon and they too will use the toilet and have no more nappies. Play pretend with their teddy / dolly and show them using the potty.
Does your child acknowledge when they have a wet or dirty nappy? Even if they have a poop tell them well done and mention that soon they will do their poops in the toilet like Mammy and Daddy. Don’t generate any shame around poops as they can become anxious about this when you are asking them to do it in the potty.
An ideal time to test the potty is bath-time, i.e. when they are naked and ready to jump into the bath. Offer them the opportunity to use the potty and if they have a little wee wee give them lots of praise!
Are you ready to begin the potty training?
Have you got the time to dedicate to potty training? The initial stage of potty training can consume a lot of time and effort in the first few days so ensure that you have nothing major going on so that you can focus on it. Don’t plan to begin potty training during a home renovation or house move or when a new baby is arriving.
Bits & Bobs
Decide if you are going to use a potty or toilet insert. I’m a strong believer in creating location associations and I don’t recommend that you have a potty in the living room.
Get some new reward stickers – unicorns / dinosaurs / fire trucks – whatever they are into. When they do use the potty give them a sticker to wear as a visual reward for doing so well. Join in – use the loo too and let them give you a sticker – monkey see, monkey do. By keeping it positive the process will not be stressful. When they wear their sticker bring attention to it – show it to your neighbour, the lady in Tesco, Facetime Granny and show her, etc. Your child will become excited about it if you are excited about it. I personally don’t use sweeties as rewards as they don’t last very long and I don’t feel its right to reward going to the bathroom with food. The stickers last longer than sweeties. Sometimes when parents have a child who loves the sweeties, they might try to use the potty too often in order to get a sweetie, so this can be counterproductive.
Big Boy / Girl Pants – with Mickey Mouse / Paw Patrol etc on them – whatever your child is into. Children of this age respond well to visual incentives – the idea of wearing their new Paw Patrol pants can keep things positive.
Travel potty – you don’t have to be stuck in the house when potty training. I would suggest that if you venture out that you bring a small portable potty under the buggy or in the car with you in case you get delayed. Also bring a change of clothes. Don’t forget the wet wipes.
A new book or two can help a child to relax on the potty – you’re not going to be there for ages – but often the muscles relax and the child uses the potty when they are relaxed.
Keep in Mind
There are going to be accidents – its part of the process of learning. Acknowledge them and move on. Don’t dwell on them as you don’t want to create anxiety around the potty training process.
The first week of potty training I don’t ask a child if they need to go to the bathroom, I say “ok its time to go to the potty” and make it fun. If you ask a child who is busy playing do they need to go wee wee they will most likely say NO, and then have an accident a short time later. Once the potty training is going well I usually space out the toilet trips and begin to offer the toilet as part of the routine – before you leave the house, before lunch, before nap etc.
Be mindful of their fluid intake, the more that goes in, the more that comes out. If they are drinking lots then more trips to the toilet.
During the potty training, dress your child in clothes that are easy to take off / pull up and down. Stay away from dungarees until your child is able to tell you that they need to go.
Don’t make you child sit on the potty for ages – ask them to have good try – may ready a short story – then say well done for trying, I’m proud of you and move on.
Happy Potty Training!
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