It is certainly a challenging time if you are locked down at home with active toddlers who need amusing for hours on end – however, it makes one thing easier and that is potty training.
One of the greatest frustrations for many parents trying to potty train is getting out and about and carrying on with normal everyday life with the unpredictable and instantaneous toilet requirements of a toddler. With the next three weeks at least confined to your home, and the added bonus of relatively pleasant weather forecast, this is the perfect time to introduce your little one to the joys of a potty (or toilet if you prefer to miss that step).
When is the right time to toilet train?
There is no hard and fast rule as to when a child is ready to toilet train, every child is very different and it’s important to remember that this isn’t a competition, so don’t compare with friends (you don’t see many 18 year olds walking around in nappies – so most children get the hang of it eventually!!)
Generally, by the age of one year, most babies will have stopped pooing during the night (showing the first unconscious level of control). By the age of two, some children will be dry throughout the day; and by the age of three 90% of children will be dry during the day. So generally, a good time to start training will be between the ages of two, and two and a half. However, you can be guided by your own child. For example, they may be ready to start introducing the potty if they:
Know they have a wet or dirty nappy (maybe trying to take it off – or tell you)
Know they are peeing or pooing and tell you that they are
Fidget or try to hide or move away from you when they need to pee or poo
Have a gap of at least an hour between peeing
Tell you that they need to pee in advance (if your child is at this stage, potty training will be much easier)
Getting ready for potty training
Once you have decided that potty training is on the horizon, there are a few things you can do to introduce your child to the concept and help prepare them.
Start changing their nappy in the bathroom and talk to them about why their nappy is wet or soiled so they associate the bathroom with the place to go to the loo. Let them see you, or an older child using the loo and encourage them to help flush the toilet and wash their hands after.
Leave a potty in the bathroom and encourage the child to sit on it after removing their nappy, before dressing or going to bed.
Starting potty training
You may need to keep a potty in the bathroom and if this is upstairs, a second potty downstairs.
Initially, encourage your child to sit on the potty straight after meals (as this is when they are most likely to ‘perform’) or if your child generally poos at the same time each day, leave their nappy off and keep suggesting that they sit on the potty; or if they show signs of starting to poo – encourage them to sit down. Make the situation as pleasant as possible, perhaps have some books next to the potty that you can sit and read together.
Don’t make a fuss if they have an accident, you don’t want your child to feel anxious or worried. Just be encouraging that they will be successful next time.
A little praise goes a long way and your child will be delighted with positive attention when they succeed. However, it’s also important not to make too big a deal of it, so don’t reward with sweets – but maybe a sticker chart counting successes.
Toilet seat or potty?
The majority of children will start their toilet training journey using a potty (which is moveable and convenient for parents) and then transition to a toilet seat (a small child sized seat that clips to the adult toilet seat) once they have got the hang of the potty and are able to hold themselves for long enough to get to the toilet in time.
However, some children have a real dislike of the potty and can even find seeing their poo close up quite disturbing. In this case, there is no reason why you shouldn’t miss the potty altogether and use the toilet seat from the start.
If it is easier and convenient you can also use a mix of both – perhaps encourage your child to sit on the toilet seat in the bathroom but keep a potty downstairs. The key thing is to go with whatever your child is happiest with.
Potty training should be an achievement and fun; if it starts to become a battle or the child shows obvious distress, it is better to stop and wait until they are ready. Leave the potty in its place – you may even be pleasantly surprised to find that your child reintroduces the training itself.
We love the Roger Armstrong 4-in-1 Potty which is a complete toilet training system providing
exceptional value at just £15.99 (retails in Australia at $59.99!)
The all in one design combines a potty, toilet training seat, and step stool altogether to cater for the different stages of toilet training. The removable seat can be attached to the adult seat, side handles provide additional confidence and the wide stable base provides enhanced stability with easy to clean surfaces.
For more information about toilet and potty training your child visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/potty-training-tips/