Getting On The Potty

potty trainingIf your child has started showing signs of being ready for potty training, it’s time to rejoice. Soon you will be able to say goodbye to nappies and the constant exposure to their delightful contents. And best of all, you’re going to save yourself a heap of time and effort once your child can safely ditch nappies and eventually sleep through the night without a nappy.

Potty training is major milestone in any child’s development. Potty training generally happens anywhere between 27 and 32 months. Yes, its often amidst the worst power struggles of the ‘terrible two’s’ that there comes a parent-child power struggle involving poo. Proving yet again that the universe has a sense of humour! Take comfort that there are some ways to make it a little less traumatic for the both of you, let’s look at a few potty training basics…


Is your child ready to potty train?

It’s important to be sure that your child is ready and or open to the idea before you begin. Starting too soon can devastate any chances of succeeding for a while. You’ll both lose confidence and feel less inclined to try again. Ultimately this means even more nappies and tearful encounters than needs be.

Just a few indicators that your child might be ready to potty train;

  • Does your child have awareness that their nappy is soiled? Do they pull faces or indicate discomfort when they’ve noticed their nappy is means they are noticing the contents of the nappy and are grossed out by it.
  • Can your child stay dry for two hours or more?
  • Can your child pull their own clothes off and put them back on again?
  • Can your child indicate when they need to go?
  • Does your child have the language skills to follow simple instructions?
  • Does your child show an interest in the bathroom and ask about your activities in there?

If your child is showing signs of toilet training readiness, its time might be time consider initiating toilet training. Avoid attempting potty training if your child is unwell or there is any added stress in the home.


Before you potty train

If you think your child is ready, its time to gather the necessary equipment and get started!

You will need some tools to help you:

  • A potty: You would think this would be a relatively simple purchase, if you can remember the simple plastic potties of yesteryear. Today there are a variety of newer designs that take some of the work out of the whole process. The Potty Bench is one such product, although it’s somewhat pricier than its simpler counterparts, the ease of use and the added fun factor makes it a worthwhile investment.
  • Pull up pants: In a vast array of cute designs. Try to let your child pick out their own big boy pants to give them some sense of ownership in the process.
  • A doll that wets itself: There are plenty of dolls that are perfect to demonstrate basic potty principles to your little one.
  • Other extras/accessories: Little step ladders, targets, ample cleanup equipment in the form of flushable wipes, as well as an array of fun potty training aids.


Potty training tips and tricks

  • Introduce the idea early on: There’s no need to wait until your child is ready to buy a potty. Have a potty in the bathroom and encourage your child to sit on it. The idea is to make potty time a natural process. Role modelling involves leaving the door open so your child can learn by watching. If you have a boy, have your significant other show him how boys go. In addition, use DVD’s, books, and whatever you can get your hands on to demonstrate how potty time works!
  • Potty train in summer: Fewer clothes means a bit less effort and a lot less mess. Wait until summertime to begin potty training and your child will have fewer clothes to deal with. Warmer temperatures are also ideal for allowing your child to run around naked, which removes a tricky part of the equation (removing their clothes).
  • Use the doll that wets itself: The ultimate potty training tool. Have your child show the doll how to go potty to ensure that they understand the process.
  • Just do it: When your child is ready to go, put them on the potty and wait a bit. Try giving your child extra juice beforehand; to be sure there is something to go potty with.
  • Celebrate: At this age, toddlers are super keen to please the adults in their lives. Go overboard with the celebrations and praise when your child uses the potty successfully.  Many parents choose to throw a ‘Potty party’ to celebrate successful potty attempts. This kind of positive reinforcement is especially powerful in children around this age, because they are so eager to please you.

Don’t become disheartened if it takes a while. The reasons for failure might be due to other issues that can be easily fixed. For example, many toddlers notice the difference between a warm nappy and a cold potty seat. There are several potty warming products on the market that you can use to pre-warm the seat and ease the transition from cosy nappy to eventual porcelain. Try to suss out which aspect of using the potty is difficult for your child, and look for tools and aids to overcome the obstacles standing in the way of a successful potty training experience.

The main thing about potty training success is maintaining a positive energy around the process. This means NO pressure, no matter how frustrated you become! You can’t give enough encouragement and praise when your child uses the potty successfully.

Successfully potty training your child is one of the most satisfying parenting experiences in the parenting adventure. Persevere and experience the joys of a nappy-free life again!

 – Kahea Rusch


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