Potty Training – When And How To Start

Potty trainingPotty training is something that many parents do not look forward to. It can mean little accidents to clean up and a lot of challenges, but knowing when the right time is will help you in your efforts to teach your child to be nappy-free. Some parents start to potty train when their child is about 2 years old. For some, they feel like it is the right time or that their little toddler can cope, but other children are just not ready.

The main thing about potty training that you have to remember is that all kids are different. Do not force the issue if your child does not want to sit on the potty, because you will only make things worse. Give them time and let them do it at their own pace.

You should also be prepared for inconsistencies. Some kids take to it easily and are fine for a few months, and then suddenly don’t want to anymore. This is fine too, just have patience and don’t force the issue too much. Obviously there is a line between not being ready, and being mischievous, so use your best judgement. If they are not ready, leave the issue and try again in a few months time.

To prepare your toddler for potty training, you should teach them to tell you when they have messed in their nappy. Soon they will run to you every time they need a nappy change and let you know. This is good progress and will be very necessary when potty training.

You can also buy a potty training book. Some have little stories about using the potty and how clever you are if you do. This is a form of encouragement, and will also keep them occupied when you actually start the potty training process.

Once you have started potty training you can keep a little sticker chart and every time they use the potty successfully, you can reward them with a sticker for the chart. You can also use little sweets or anything your child loves as a reward.

To begin training you should take their nappy off and tell them that they must now use the potty because they are not wearing a nappy. Get your child to sit on the potty and tell them to stay there. Check every so often to see if they have done their business and make a big fuss if they get it right. Some kids might get a fright when they start to use the potty for the first time as they know they are not wearing a nappy and it might feel strange for them. Keep encouraging your child and they will soon get the hang of it. 

Start out by taking the nappy off and letting them use the potty just once a day. Once they are comfortable with this and tell you that they need to use the potty, you can start doing it more often. Teach them a phrase like -Potty Time so that they know and get used to the fact that they must get their nappy taken off to use the potty. 

Leave the night time training until they are very comfortable with not wearing a nappy during the day, and until they have learnt to recognise when they need the potty, before they actually do. To start the night time training, use a mattress protector or cover for the bed just in case, but wake them up at a certain time of the night and tell them it’s -Potty Time . Help your child to use the potty, praise them for being so clever and not messing in the bed, and pretty soon their bodies will automatically wake when they need the toilet.

Once they have mastered potty training, make sure that you teach them the correct techniques for wiping (if you have a girl), and toilet etiquette, as well as all about washing hands afterwards. Phew! Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?


 – Bev


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