Using a potty is a new skill for children to learn. It is best to take it slow and at the children pace. It is important to be patient as this will help in getting it right even though you feel frustrated.
It is important that you do not compare children performance in potty training as all children are an individual and different.
When to start potty training
- Being patient and giving children time will help with potty training
- It is important that when a child is ready, replace nappies with plenty of pants. This will help in potty training.
- Encouraging children to sit on the potty should be included in the children’s routine.
- Read stories about potty training.
- Most parents start thinking about potty training when their child is between two and two-and-a-half, but there’s no perfect time. Some people find it easier to start in the summer, when there are fewer clothes to take off and washed clothes dry more quickly.
- Be Consistent with no disruptions.
- Take potty with you if you are going on outings.
- Continue potty training even when your child is with family and friends.
- You can’t force potty training. If a child is not developmentally and mentally ready, you will not be able to make them use a potty.
- Do not tell a child off for accidents
- Do not start potty training when there are several changes in the child’s routine. This will confuse the child.
How to know your child is ready for potty training:
- Does your child know the difference between wet or a dirty nappy
- Children pulling at a wet or dirty Nappy
- Hiding to pee or poo
- Waking up in the morning with a dry nappy
- Telling you that their nappy needs to be changed
- Your child will get to know when they’re passing urine and may tell you they’re doing it
- They show they need to pee by fidgeting or going somewhere quiet or hidden
- They know when they need to pee and may say so in advance
- They also need to be able to sit on the potty and get up from it when they’re done and follow your instructions.
- Using a potty will be new to your child, so get them used to the idea gradually. It’s usually easier if boys start by sitting on the potty before they switch to standing up later on.
- Leave a potty where your child can see it and explain what it’s for. Children learn by watching and copying. If you’ve got an older child, your younger child may see them using it, which will be a great help. It helps to let your child see you using the toilet and explain what you’re doing.
- Using your child’s toys to show what the potty is for can also help.
- You could see if your child is happy to sit on the potty for a moment, just to get used to it, when you’re changing their nappy, especially when you’re getting them dressed for the day or ready for bed at night.
How to start potty training:
- Keep the potty in the bathroom. If that’s upstairs, keep another potty downstairs so your child can reach the potty easily wherever they are. The idea is to make sitting on the potty part of everyday life for your child.
- Encourage your child to sit on the potty after meals, because digesting food often leads to an urge to do a poo. Having a book to look at or toys to play with can help your child sit still on the potty.
- If your child regularly does a poo at the same time each day, leave their nappy off and suggest that they go in the potty. If your child is even the slightest bit upset by the idea, just put the nappy back on and leave it a few more weeks before trying again.
- Encouraging them to use the potty to wee will help build their confidence for when they are ready to use it to poo.
- As soon as you see that your child knows when they’re going to pee, encourage them to use their potty. If your child slips up, just mop it up and wait for next time. It takes a while for them to get the hang of it.
- If you don’t make a fuss when they have an accident, they won’t feel anxious and worried and are more likely to be successful the next time. Put them in clothes that are easy to change and avoid tights and clothes with zips or lots of buttons.
- Your child will be delighted when he or she succeeds. A little praise from you will help a lot. It can be quite tricky to get the balance right between giving praise and making a big deal out of it. Don’t give sweets as a reward, but you could try using a sticker chart.
- Use a potty training doll. Getting them to teach a dolly to do a wee wee is a great way of getting them involved in the process. If Dolly can do it, so can they! It is a good way of showing them that when drink goes in, wee comes out – making it less of a scary process when they hear themselves go!
- A sticker chart for positive reinforcement – Incentives are a great way to get their attention and definitely worked. Breaking down the different areas makes it more achievable and less daunting, little rewards rather than expecting it all at once means you aren’t setting them up to fail.
Potty training pants and pull-ups:
- Training pants should be a step towards normal pants, rather than a replacement for nappies. Encourage your child to keep their training pants dry by using the potty.
- If your child is not ready to stop wearing nappies and it’s hard for them to know when they’ve done a wee, you can put a piece of folded kitchen paper inside their nappy. It will stay wet and should help your child learn that weeing makes you feel wet.
Night-time Potty training
- Focus on getting your child potty trained during the day before you start leaving their nappy off at night.
- If your children nappy is dry or only slightly damp when your child wakes for a few mornings in a row, they may be ready for night-time potty training.
- Ask your child to use the potty last thing before they go to bed and make sure it’s close by, so they can use it if they need to wee in the night. There are bound to be a few accidents, so a waterproof sheet to protect your child’s mattress is a good idea.
- Just like daytime potty training, it’s important to praise your child for success. If things aren’t going well, stick with nappies at night for a while longer and try again in a few weeks’ time.
Using the toilet instead of the potty
- Some children start using the toilet instead of the potty earlier than others.
- A child’s trainer seat that clips onto the toilet can help make your child feel safer and more confident on the toilet. A step for your child to rest their feet on gets your child in a good position for doing a poo.
- If you have a boy, you need to make sure they sit on the toilet every day to poo. Once they have started weeing standing up it’s easy to forget about pooing, and this could lead to constipation.
Potty training for a child with Special Needs
Some children with a long-term illness or disability find it more difficult to learn to use a potty or toilet. This can be challenging for them and for you, but it’s important not to avoid potty training for too long.