As with everything related to childcare we don’t believe there is one way to potty train your child and we don’t believe there is a correct age. We definitely feel that it is so much easier if you can wait until your child is ready but in some cases nurseries ask for children to be potty trained before they start and sometimes that is slightly earlier than you would have otherwise potty trained them.
Firstly lets look at some common signs that may mean your child is ready to potty train.
- Showing an awareness that they are doing a wee or poo in their nappy.
- May not be able to carry on what they are doing when they have a wet or dirty nappy.
- Is interested when you go to the loo.
- Understands and follows simple instructions.
- Has fairly regular poos.
- Enjoys being praised.
Below we are going to outline some tips that have helped us when potty training children in our care.
- Make it an exciting time for the child. Include them, let them choose their big boy/girl pants and let them choose a potty or the colour of the potty if there is a choice.
- Never let yourself get cross when they have an accident. Keep everything to do with going to the loo positive.
- Use stickers as a reward (but not a chart as they are probably too little still to fully understand a sticker chat) as they may enjoy receiving a sticker to put on their t-shirt when they have used the potty.
- Go to your local library and find lots of stories about using a potty.
- Line the potty with a clean nappy. This stops the noise which some children don’t like.
- Keep a potty on each floor of your house.
- Don’t confuse your child by half heartedly potty training them, if you have decided to potty train then you need to stop nappies completely (apart from naps and night time) on the day you decide to start. Do not put them in a nappy when going out just so it is easier for you.
- Choose a week or two when nothing major is happening. Don’t start just before a holiday, when you have friends/family staying, when you are about to have another baby or have just had one or when you are moving house.
- Don’t make too many plans outside of your house.
- Use lots of positive praise and try and not show any emotion when an accident happens.
- Disposable change mats are your new best friend! Use them in car seats and buggies and place a few under the potty just incase, as it makes cleaning up much easier.
- Personally we don’t use pull-ups as we feel they can confuse a child but they are great when transitioning to staying dry during a nap.
- Celebrate any small triumph.
- If warm enough let them run around in just their pants and a t-shirt.
- Do not panic if you realise your child isn’t ready and you have to go back to nappies. Have a break for a few weeks and try again.
- “You can put some toilet paper into the bottom of the potty so that even a few drops of wee can be seen. If your child is using a toilet, put a few drops of blue food colouring into the water. Adding a bit of yellow urine will turn the water green, which will surely fascinate your child”. Pantley E., 2007.
We hope some of these tips might be helpful. Let us know if you have any tips that you’ve found have helped with potty training!
Remember “Toilet training is accomplished when a child uses a potty or toilet for bladder and bowel functions during waking hours.” Dr Barton D. Schmitt, Contemporary Pediartrics, 2004
Pantley E., The No-Cry Potty Training Solution, 2007.