Is your child ready to go nappy-free? Potty training is a big milestone in any young child’s life, but many parents have questions and worries about how it should be done. Follow these potty training tips to help make the transition to potties and pants easier for everyone.
1. Introduce the idea
Let your little one adjust to the idea of big boy or girl pants, before putting them under pressure to do anything about it. Books and TV programmes about potty training are a great way to sow the seed in your toddler’s mind, so introduce the concept in a gentle way, before attempting to start potty training in earnest. If your child has a big brother or sister, or older friends who are already potty trained, they may also be motivated to copy them. Talk about the subject in a general way, as it comes up – you’ll be able to gauge by their reaction how receptive they may be to starting potty training.
2. Invest in a potty or toilet seat
Some parents like to start with a potty, which is more manageable for little bottoms, while others like to go straight to the toilet, rather than make the transition later on. Whatever you decide, get your little one involved in choosing the equipment. If they have a favourite TV character or colour, a potty, toilet seat or new pair of pants with that design may encourage your child to try them out.
3. Let them watch you
Although most of us value our privacy when it comes to going to the toilet, children learn by watching us. So if you’re comfortable, let your child see you using the toilet, to see that it’s nothing to be scared of.
4. Set aside some time
Potty training isn’t something that can be rushed – and a potty training toddler is unlikely to fit in with a busy schedule. So clear some time in your diary when you can relax and stay at home – close to the potty! Summer is a great time to start, because it means little ones can run around without clothes – but if you feel your child is ready before then, it’s better to start straight away rather than wait for the warmer weather.
5. Rewards and motivation
Potty training tips often recommend sticker charts and other motivational treats as a way to tempt children to use the potty. Some parents might find a no-fuss approach works better, with children who prefer to avoid too much intense focus and attention. You know your child better than anyone, so you’re best placed to decide which type of reward, if any, might work best.
6. Be patient
It has been argued that ‘potty training’ is misnamed, because it’s impossible to train a child who isn’t ready to learn. With that in mind, think of potty training as a long-term thing, rather than aiming to get it done and dusted in a weekend. Your child will get there in their own time – if they’re having a lot of accidents, consider putting them back in nappies and trying again in a month or two. Treat accidents in a matter-of-fact way, however annoying it may be – telling children off or punishing them is unlikely to be effective and may put them off potty training.
7. Work with your nursery
If your little one attends nursery, potty training is likely to be a joint endeavour between parents and nursery workers. The nursery team will have seen it all before and can offer valuable potty training tips to help you support your little one as they learn to do without nappies.