I started potty training Katie at the age of 2 as all the guides I had read told me that between 2 and 2 and a half was a good time. It was a very frustrating period and I found myself getting annoyed with Katie when she wouldn’t use the potty (which was most of the time)! I know it’s difficult but one of my top tips is to try and stay calm and be patient with them. You can’t force your child to use a potty and you don’t want them associating it with something negative. I think when I started, Katie simply wasn’t ready. Your child will start using the potty when they want to, and most children won’t want to go to school wearing nappies. If you find yourself getting annoyed or frustrated, just remember that every child develops at a different pace.
But how will I know when they are ready?
Sometimes age isn’t a true guide as to when your little one is ready to start potting training, but there are some signs you can look out for that will indicate that now might be a good time to start. For example, Katie started showing a real interest in me visiting the bathroom! Also, she started to stay dry for longer periods of time and when her nappy was wet she would cry. It became even more obvious when Katie actually started telling me she needed the bathroom. If you react to their awareness instead of telling them when they should start, you will find potty training a lot easier. I learned this the hard way unfortunately! Some parents opt for summer for potty training their child because it means there will be less clothing to remove in case there is an accident!
Introduce the Potty Early
A friend told me that they introduced the potty to their child from birth, which I think is a great idea. If you put it in your bathroom, they will become familiar with it and explain to them what the potty is for. Children learn by watching and copying. If you have an older child your little one might see them using the potty, which really will help with training. Also let them see you using the toilet and tell them what you are doing. Let your little one sit on the potty in their nappy before you start potty training too as this will get them used to the routine of going to the bathroom and using it.
Training is easier at home
For the first few days potting training try staying at home, or as close to home as possible. If someone is looking after your child, let them know that you are potty training, so they can help. If you do have to go out, take the potty with you so they know that you would like them to use it when they need to go and take a spare change of clothes and wipes – this way you are prepared for any mishaps! Try and always get them to use the potty in the bathroom. I kept another potty downstairs for Katie so that it was readily available if she suddenly needed to go!
Keep asking your child if they need the toilet every half an hour or so, this will make training a lot easier!
Accidents will happen so try not to get frustrated. Instead praise your child when they are using the potty correctly. They will feed off your encouragement and it will make them more likely to ask you if they can use it, or even use it themselves. Some parents like to use reward charts – every time their child uses the potty successfully they put a sticker on the chart. This gives them extra encouragement and turns something quite stressful into an enjoyable game.
Night time training
Try and master potty training during the day before you leave your child’s nappy off at night-time. If in the morning their nappy is only slightly wet this is a good indicator that they might be ready for night-time training. With Katie, I asked her to use the potty just before bedtime and I also left a potty in her room incase she couldn’t get to the bathroom in time. I also bought her a little night light so that she wasn’t scared going in the dark. Waterproof fitted sheets to protect the mattress are a good idea as accidents will happen! I also didn’t give Katie any drinks 30-45 minutes before bedtime as their bladders aren’t as big as ours!