Potty training can be a minefield for a busy parent, and trying to work out when to start and how best to do it can be as confusing as those early days of trying to work out which routine was best for your tiny baby.
The most common theme I find among my clients is starting too early.
Although some nurseries require your little one to be in pants before they start, try not to feel pressured. Starting too early can have a detrimental effect and I am often asked in to fix problems with little ones who have a bad association with potty training already.
In order to have the best start possible, I would advise the following steps for successful and quick potty training:
Start with a “preparation” period
This is a month or so when you start to introduce the idea of the potty to your little person without pushing it upon them.
Allow them to follow you to the toilet, start talking (and even showing!) them what is happening, and make sure there is a potty in each room that is used often, so that your child has access to this whenever they need to. The more “normal” going to the toilet or potty becomes, the better your child will respond.
Read books that help your child understand the process of potty training
There are a wide variety on the market and most of them are fantastic. Try and use exiting voices and really get your child involved so that it becomes an exciting prospect for them.
Go shopping to buy special “big girls/boys” pants
This is a great way to involve your child in the process. Most stores now sell pants with favourite characters on, which can really help on day one when your toddler cannot wait to “wear Peppa” for the day!
Role playing with favourite toys
This can be a really helpful way of introducing the idea of potty training. At the age of 2-3, role play starts to become a lot more important to a child as their imaginations start to florish. Maybe Fireman Sam wants to start playing “pee on the potty”, or the bedtime teddy wants to do a wee on the potty before bed. Again, the more fun it becomes, the better it will be.
Be ready with rewards
One the day you chose to start potty training, make sure you have your rewards ready. Stickers are great and tend to appeal to most 2-3 year olds, you can also buy a sticker book which can be carried around with you so that you are not limited to rewards just at home.
When the first pee comes – go crazy!
This is a huge thing for your child and you need to show them how excited and proud you are of them grasping the concept.
Lift your child to the potty for the first few days
Around every 30-45 minutes. Once you have started to do this, by keeping a record of your child’s pee’s and poo’s, you will soon learn their pattern. Some children will go to the toilet every hour, others are great at bladder control and will hold on for 3 hours at a time. Learn your childs toilet habits and go with them…
Deal with accidents calmly
Accidents can be scary for your child and frustrating for you as the parent, however creating a big scene will either scare your child or encourage them to do it again – remember any attention is good attention when you are a toddler. Deal with the accident calmly, without telling them off, and do not draw too much attention. A simple “woops” and “lets do it in the potty next time” will be just fine.
Potty training can be a very rewarding experience for your child, yet one that can become very frustrating for you as the parent, particularly when it does not go to plan. Following these simple steps will help guide you towards a happy and positive potty training experience.
- Heidi is available for Phone and Home Consultation on potty training and other toddler behavioural issues. Visit www.theparentandbabycoach.com or call 0330 6600 204