Toilet training or potty training if you prefer can be fun, can be frustrating and without a doubt, it could get rather messy. On the upside once a child has mastered the skills they need to know, for example when they need to go and the processes involved they usually find it easier and easier as time goes on. There are many top tips for toilet training, however, the first is probably the most important…
Wait until THEY are ready!
It doesn’t matter if your sister’s children were in cotton pants and asking to go at eighteen months or your friend’s little one could wee on demand by two, each and every child is different and waiting until they are ready will make the process a whole easier on everyone, especially them.
Signs That Your Tot is Ready for Toilet Training
For toilet training to be successful a little one needs to understand and recognise when they are doing a wee and when they are doing or need a poo. Without these sensations, there is little chance of toilet training being successful. This might occur as early as eighteen months or much later. This really is one of the milestones that should be child-led after a fashion. It is also important that tots are old enough to understand the rudimentary words associated with toilet-use, such as wee, poo, pants, toilet, potty and so on.
Pick a Good Time
Once your little one is showing signs of being ready to try toileting (knowing when they need to go, disliking being wet or dirty, pulling down pants etc) try to choose a good time to start toileting. Some insist that summertime is a great time as little ones are warm enough to play in just their undies for example. Others believe having a long weekend or similar at home is the best time as you get a few uninterrupted days where you don’t need to go out so may concentrate solely on getting the wee where you want it to go.
When you decide to start the process try and make it a good time for you too, not a time when you are going to be extra busy as it can be somewhat stressful for some. Choosing the right time can go a long way towards smooth sailing. Do persevere when you get started unless if it becomes very clear that your little one perhaps isn’t as ready as you thought after all. There’s no reason why you can’t stop for a while and restart in a few months time.
If the time is right, stock up. When first attempting toilet use you can get through an amazing amount of pants/knickers, wet wipes and more. Also, consider whether you and your child want a potty or a special toilet seat to start with. Some prefer the potty because it is so portable while the toilet introduces the child to the “big boy/girl” toilet. Think about what would work best in your home and for your child, and make sure you have everything else you need to hand.
Many parents choose to crack toilet training through the day first, using big children’s pull-ups for nighttime as this seems much easier (plus heavy sleepers might struggle to realise straight away during the night that they need to go until too late). You might choose to do day training first, you may do both at the same time. One top tip for night training, however, is to have some sort of barrier between your little one and the sheet/mattress which may be easily whipped away and changed, rather than you needing to do a full bed change and mattress flip several times a night.
Do not be tempted on starting toilet training to throw away all the nappies straight away. You never know how long the process of learning will take and not having that back-up can be disastrous if things don’t go to plan.A dash to the supermarket last thing at night with a soggy and cross little one for pull ups is not fun.
Whatever approach you choose to use when toilet training be consistent. Do the same thing in the same place every time. Use the same phrases and the follow the same routines. This makes learning the process easier for little ones and is also reassuring.
In an ideal world, you’ll be at home every day until he or she has the toilet-thing sorted however in real life that isn’t always simple. If your little one goes to a nursery, a childminder or is with someone else while you are at work make sure they know the approach that you are using so that everyone is saying and doing the same thing. Primarily they’ll be taught by you at home, however, practicing elsewhere will go better if your little one knows what to expect.
Practice these two phrases;
“Hooray! Well done, aren’t you clever!” and “Oh dear, never mind though! You’re a big girl / big boy and we’ll try and remember to ask next time“. Telling a little one off for not making it in time (however frustrating more wee on the floor is) will halt progress, cause worry and upset and altogether make life difficult for everyone.
Be your child’s cheerleader, use stickers and a reward chart if it helps and remember that they will get there faster and easier if they are happy and confident as opposed to fed up and frustrated.
Toilet training does sometime feel like a mountain that needs climbing for some parents and children while others skip over the top in the first few days. Once you’ve finally cracked it, the chart is full of stickers, the laundry basket is free of piles of wet pants and you no longer feel like you’re chained to a potty you can give yourself a pat on the back, pour a glass of something tasty and start planning for the next fun milestone……