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Potty Training

Toilet Training Advice by Amanda Jenner

Toilet Training Advice by Amanda Jenner

Getting started

Toilet training is an enormous milestone in a toddlers life, and it can also be a stressful time for parents too. Timing is absolutely crucial. Choose a time when you can start your toilet training routine with few interruptions. Don’t start if your toddler has been poorly, if there is a new baby in the family, or if you've moved house or changing a nursery.

Do's and Don'ts

Do look for the signs of readiness. Stopping in their tracks, using the words wee or poo, pulling on their nappies and insisting to be changed. They may hide when they are doing a poo, as they become conscious of what they are doing. Finally, they will be dry for longer periods of time as their bodies are developing and bladder is becoming stronger.

Do get your child involved. When you begin, make sure they are involved by taking them to pick their potty and/or toilet training seat. Take them along to also chose their big boy or big girl pants too, as this will help them feel part of the process and make it feel exciting!

Do let everyone know. It's important to tell your nursery, child carers or anyone else who looks after your child that you have started toilet training. This helps to keep everything consistent, and avoid set-backs. Don't stop toilet training if they spend a night away at grandparents or friends house as they will become confused.

Don't stop when you are out and about. Teach your toddler from day one that this is normal outside and inside the home. Take your potty and/or training seat with you wherever you go. Remind them that they have it with them as this will help them feel secure and confident. This will also help reduce accidents as often there is little warning when they need to go.

Do give lots of encouragement. Praise and play base learning has been proven to be effective approach for potty training little ones. Use reward charts, stickers, a reward box and a good toilet training story book.

Don't scold or raise your voice. Accidents will happen, remember to keep calm, as scolding your child will result in the fear of toilet training.

Don't compare your child. Every child develops at a different rate, so try not to compare your child to anyone else's.

Myth busters

  • Boys v. girls- is there a difference?

No. There is no difference to approach or methods, the only technique difference is that boys obviously have extra bits and they need to tuck down when they sit on the potty or toilet.

  • Regression can happen.

Once your child has been successfully potty trained and dry for a minimum of 6 weeks, they can still regress. Little ones can have accidents due to life changes, such as moving home, starting a new school or nursery.

  • No season for potty training.

Don't hold off because its cold outside. Start when your child is ready, there is no season for potty training.

  • Your child might be ready, but are you?

A parents willingness to commit to toilet training is just as important as a child being ready. Make sure you are fully ready to complete the journey, a half hearted approach, could see you reverting back to using nappies "just because it's easier". This has disastrous consequences as a child will become confused and this will delay toilet training.

Typical Problems & Answers

“Hi I have a son that is almost 3 and trying to potty train him he won't do a poo in the potty or toilet waits until has a nappy on if we are going out or has done in his pants a couple of times but he is good at asking to go to the toilet if he needs a pee at home but at the child minders he doesn't ask they have to keep on taking him and asking him and he is having accidents is there anything I can do?”

Amanda's answer

Poo's are always a challenge and this can take longer to combat than wee's, and is a very common problem when toilet training. It is so important that when he does his poo in his pants you take the pants and the poo and show him where it goes, by emptying into the toilet/potty and keep repeating this. Also a reward box is a great way of further encouragement, by filling the box with goodies and keeping it out of reach, so it has an element of surprise.


“My daughter has lost all interest in potty training. She is 4 in 10 days and has learning delays. She was brilliant with the number 2 and 9/10 used the potty, number 1 hit and miss, we have tried different methods ask her every 15 minutes always says no. putting knickers on under nappy but nope. She goes to school 5 mornings a week and does use it there the odd time, I just need some advice on the best way forward.”

Amanda's answer

I think the best way forward with your daughter is that you invest in some flash cards, this is a great way of teaching a little one with learning delays. Place the cards in the toilet and the pictures will show her what she has to do, this is a very successful way of teaching and letting her learn how to do it herself. Also a good potty training DVD really helps to teach through imagination and play, so they relate to the characters it this really does work.

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