It’s something that comes to all parents at one time or another- potty training. It can be a source of frustration, despair and endless worry. OR it can be easy as pie- a breeze. It depends on how ready your child is and how relaxed you can afford to be. While there is no ‘one rule fits all’ and, indeed, no ideal age to potty train, there are signs that you can look out for to see whether or not your little one is ready, and lots that you can do to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Take a look at our potty training checklist- we hope it helps!
Is your child ready?
You might be ready to ditch the nappies and move on to big pants, but that does not necessarily mean that your child is ready. If you try to potty train before your little one is ready, you may find the whole process is a lot longer and far more stressful than is necessary- there are certain physical and emotional developments that need to happen for your child to be able to make the step from potty to pants. There are signs to look out for that can help you to decide:
- does your child tell you when her nappy is wet or soiled?
- does your child take off their nappy by themselves?
- does your child show an interest in the potty/ toilet when other family members use the bathroom?
- is your child’s nappy dry in the morning?
- does your child tell you that she needs the toilet/ potty?
How to get started
As with any aspect of parenting, there is no right or wrong way- whatever works for you and your family is best. Many experts do agree, however, that when you potty train it is best to take away the nappies and introduce proper underwear from day one. Once your child is in knickers rather than nappies, it is easier for her to realise when she is wet (if she has an accident) and easier for her to make the association between wearing knickers and going to the toilet. Swapping from nappies to knickers throughout the day can be confusing, and staying in nappies whilst you train even more so- your child is used to ‘going’ in her nappy so won’t necessarily see the need to use the toilet. To help your child transition from nappies you can:
- let them help to choose new underwear
- help them to decide where to keep their potty and make sure that they are able to get it by themselves
- praise,praise, praise. Tell your little one how grown up she is by using the toilet/ potty. Many experts advise against rewarding for using the potty, but you can always let your child know that you are pleased at their efforts!
To stay in or not to stay in?
This is another debatable point where potty training is concerned. Some parents set aside a week in their diary and stay around the house as much as possible so that they are close to the toilet and so that accidents are kept to a minimum. Some parents prefer to leave the house armed with all the essentials they need- spare clothes, wipes, potties/ toilet seats etc. It is up to you and what works for you.
Potty or toilet?
Again, this depends on you and your child. Some parents find that potties are more handy as they are portable and less daunting to smaller children at first. Some parents buy special seats that fit on top of normal toilet seats so that their child can use the toilet like the rest of the family. If you do go for potty, bare in mind that eventually your child will need to learn to use the toilet too.