If your little one is finally ready to start potty training, here’s our guide to getting it right:
Choose the right time
It’s important to start potty training when your child is ready. Some children start to learn to use a potty from as young as 18 months while others may still be in nappies on their third birthday. Trying to train them too soon can extend the process making it a frustrating process for both of you. Be sure that your child’s routine is established. If they’ve started a new nursery or are getting to know a new sibling you may want to wait until things have settled down.
Toilet training can be an intimidating experience so make it fun by choosing a potty with a colourful design or familiar cartoon characters. Another advantage of a potty over a toilet is it can be moved around the house. If you do decide on a potty seat, ensure that it is fitted securely over the toilet seat and can be removed easily for storage. A small stool in the bathroom is a good addition as it will give your child stability and ensure they can reach both the toilet and sink.
Watch and learn
Observation is a useful training tool. Imitation is a natural instinct at this age so your child will learn from watching how mummy, daddy and other siblings go to the toilet. Use the opportunity to explain the mechanics of using the bathroom and the reasons why mummy and daddy use the toilet differently.
Follow a programme
Encourage your child to get used to the potty by sitting on it fully-clothed for a short period for a few days. Once they seem comfortable, invite them to sit without a nappy on for a few minutes throughout the day. Maybe they have a favourite book or toy they can play with while seated to keep their interest. If your child seems resistant, be patient and praise them for the progress they’re making. Once they’re used to potty breaks you can move on to training pants. Maintain consistency by taking a portable potty and spare clothes with you when you’re out and about.
Make it fun
Stickers and progress charts are a good way of incentivising your child. Sweet treats, toys or trips to the park can also reinforce progress and remember to praise them for the steps they’re taking, however small. Treat your child to a shopping trip where they can choose some “grown-up” pants to help them with their potty training journey and show enthusiasm for their next big milestone.
It can feel like you’re in it for the long-haul but stick with it and stay positive. There will be accidents and frustrations along the way but be patient as your child will gain encouragement from your positive attitude. Ensure that other family members and carers are equally enthusiastic about this new milestone.