It seems like a lifetime ago that I potty trained Amelie – she was 23 months – and now Charlie has been potty trained since December 2016 (he was 32 months). I’m not an expert, however, I’ve successfully trained 2 children and thought I would share some helpful hints/tips that I found useful and may assist with anyone looking to start the process.
Are They Ready? I’m sure you’ve read this a billion times and I found this quite confusing as there are lots of bullet points asking:-
- If your toddler stays dry for a couple of hours at a time
- Whether your toddler has taken an interest in others going to the toilet
- If your toddler has regular bowel movements
The list goes on, however, both of my children don’t poo at the same time each day, they pee all the time and at the most inconvenient time and have always been in the bathroom when I’ve been for a wee. So this is why I found the above very confusing. How did I get round this? As soon as my two started to walk I would leave a potty in the front room, I thought this would be a good way of getting them used to it and explained that this is where we go for a wee or poo.
Leave a Potty Out – We’ve always had nakey time before baths when the children were younger and would encourage them to sit on the potty just to get a feel for it. This proved really successful with Amelie, and when Charlie saw Amelie going for a wee on the potty he would sit on it too – not necessarily to go for a wee but he seemed comfortable on it.
Age & Time – I also think age plays a huge part in potty training, I tried when Charlie was 2 and a half but he wasn’t having it. The whole thing was super stressful and I gave up. I did persist with leaving the potty out and was really pleased that Charlie started to use it more and more. Another thing to take into consideration is the time, you need to dedicate at least a week to potty training and that unfortunately means staying at home for that time. I was lucky as it took both of my children 3 days, we did have accidents but that is why it is important to set aside the time.
Patience – This is a toughy for us parents, you will get frustrated, annoyed and fed up. But just remember they are little and aren’t going to grasp the concept of knowing when they need a wee to run to the toilet over night, it is a gradual process that we are trying to teach them. I didn’t ever shout or get cross at the children for peeing on the floor as this would discourage them and I didn’t want to knock their confidence. I just moaned a lot to Mr K and anyone else who would listen.
Rewards – Chocolate buttons, Smarties, stickers, whatever you choose to reward your child with go with it. Charlie loved getting a smartie after he went for a wee and it really encouraged him to go.
Clothing – Loose and easy to pull up/down clothing is best when potty training. With Amelie I used to leave her bottom half naked but Charlie wasn’t keen on having his bum out so I used to put him in pyjama bottoms. Whatever clothing you use, you will be changing and washing it a million times over so any old clothing will do.
Out & About – When you feel comfortable enough to venture out take plenty of pants, wet wipes and spare clothes as well as the potty. If you go out in the car and are worried about your toddler wetting the car seat, cover it with a carrier bag and pop a towel over the bag that way if they do have an accident the towel will soak up the mess first. I did buy the Huggies dry pads with Amelie but they are expensive and didn’t fit the seat as well as a towel.
Encouragement – Give lots of praise and encouragement when your little one does a wee or poo, I found this really helped with getting them to go on the potty.
Take Them Often – This will drive you and them crazy but ask them if they need a wee often. Take them to the potty every half an hour – sounds excessive but works. When you are out make sure you know where the nearest toilet is if you aren’t taking the potty with you.
Big Boy/Girl Pants – Before you embark on potty training take your little one to the shops to pick out some big boy or girl pants. Charlie loved this, I made sure I let him pick out the pants he wanted and he was very excited.
Explain – I chatted often to Charlie before we started potty training I explained that he wasn’t going to wear nappies anymore, he was going to wear big boy pants and go for a wee on the potty. There are lots of good books out there for children which may assist in them understanding what happens when you go on the potty. It is good to talk about it before it happens as it is a massive step for them.
Going For A Poop – This was the most challenging part of potty training and it took a while for Charlie to grasp this. We had lots of accidents in his pants and on the floor but we got there in the end. I would sit Charlie on the potty or toilet with the IPad, it helped him relax and was a distraction. Both of the children were able to tell me when they needed a poo but there were times when Charlie would hold it in as he was scared of going, I tried my best to reassure him and stay with him whilst he went. Over time he got used to going and now is a pro at knowing when he needs to go.
Urinal – I have mentioned before about the portable child’s urinal that I purchased for Charlie, it has been a god send. I stuck it to the tiles by the toilet in our bathroom at a suitable height and every time Charlie needed a wee I would take him to the “froggy” where he would stand up and wee. He found this far easier to wee than sitting on the potty as sometimes his wee would squirt all over the place. Within a couple of days he was no longer using the potty to go for a wee he was standing up when going to the toilet. This is a really useful thing to buy if you have boys and is only a few quid.
- Urinal (bought from Amazon)
- Big boy/girl pants
- Spare clothes
- Wet wipes
- Muslin Squares
I think in my experience the most important thing is time and patience, a their parent you will know when your child is ready and you’ll have your own plan of action when the time is right. I hope this has been of some use and not too jumbled/confusing.