7 Steps to Potty Training Success
Potty training your toddler can seem like a daunting task, but with patience and perseverance you can help your child reach this key milestone.
Learning how to use the potty is a key milestone in your child’s life, but starting potty training can seem a little bit daunting. We’ve put together some tips to help guide you through the process, and with some perseverance and patience, you’ll soon have your child leaving nappies behind.
Know the signs
There are no hard and fast rules about when you should begin potty training. The majority of parents start between the ages of two and two and a half, but some children are ready much earlier while others may take a little longer to get to this stage.
There are however some key signs to watch out for. These include your child:
- recognising when they’re passing urine and possibly telling you that they’re doing it;
- knowing when they have a wet or dirty nappy;
- showing signs that they need to pee, such as going to a quiet corner or fidgeting;
- going to the toilet only once an hour or less frequently;
- knowing that they need to pee and telling you in advance;
- being able to follow instructions and sit on the potty or toilet.
The more of these signs your child displays, the quicker and easier potty training is likely to be. You should also try to avoid potty training during times of disruption or changes to routine, as consistency is the key to success.
Before beginning potty training it’s important to be prepared, and there are a number of key tools that will help to make the process easier.
A potty is of course essential – it helps to have one in your main room and in your bathroom, as well as a portable one for when you’re out and about. Purchasing a step stool to help your child reach the sink and, eventually, the toilet, is also a useful purchase.
Disposable ‘pull-up’ potty training nappies can come in really handy, particularly in the early days of potty training. However, these should just be a transitionary step, so also involve your child in buying some ‘big girl ‘or ‘big boy’ pants to help the potty training process seem special and exciting.
Do the groundwork
It’s important to lay the groundwork and get your child used to the idea before you begin potty training. In the run up to potty training, start changing your child’s nappy in the bathroom so that they get used to it as a place where people go to the toilet. As you change their nappy, explain what you’re doing and why so that they start to understand the meaning of a wet or dirty nappy.
It’s also a good idea to leave a potty where your child can see it and, if they’re happy to, encouraging them to sit on it for a minute or two when you change their nappy. Make sure you explain what the potty is for so they don’t just think it’s a fun new toy!
The best way to start potty training is to make sitting on the potty a natural part of everyday life for your little one, so it’s important to keep a potty within easy reach. When your child shows signs of needing to wee, encourage them to use the potty, as well as encouraging them to sit on the potty after meals. If you know your child regularly goes to the toilet at the same time each day, try leaving their nappy off and suggesting they go on the potty – but don’t push it if they seem upset by the idea.
One useful tip is to dress your toddler in clothes that are quick and easy to change, avoiding items such as tights or clothes with lots of fiddly buttons. Some parents prefer to start potty training in the summer when children naturally wear fewer clothes.
Make it fun
A lot of children need some encouragement to start using the potty, so making the process fun can help to give them that extra incentive. For example, you could stack a few toys or books next to the potty so that they have something to occupy them while they sit on it. Some parents even make up a special potty song that they sing each time their child sits on the potty or toilet.
It’s also important to reward success. You could buy your little one a small toy when they hit certain milestones, but making a chart and awarding them stickers, or even just showering them with plenty of praise, can be equally effective. On the flip side, try not to act negatively if your little one has an accident. Just remain calm and let them know that accidents happen.
Unless you are your child’s only caregiver, it is important to involve others in your potty training journey. As we’ve mentioned, consistency of routine is vital when it comes to potty training, so be sure to keep grandparents and other family members in the loop, along with your childminder or nursery if applicable. An outstanding nursery should be happy to encourage and support your child’s potty training routine in your absence, so don’t be afraid to let them know how they can help.
Last but certainly not least, you need to be patient. Potty training can be a stressful process for children and parents alike, and it’s easy to lose your cool when your little one has his fifth accident of the day. But by remaining calm and positive, and praising progress, you can help guide your little one to potty training success.