Are you about to embark on the potty training journey with your little one? On Happy Mum Happy Baby: Parenting SOS, we sat down with Potty Training & Toddler Specialist Amanda Jenner to help us through one of the trickiest stages of early years.
To help you get started, here are Amanda’s Do’s and Don’ts to potty training! Remember every child develops at a different rate so do not feel pressure to race against time.
DON’T begin if there is a change in circumstance, for example – your toddler has been unwell, there is a new baby in the family, you have moved house, your little one has changed nursery or if there are any problems within the household. Toddlers love to feel secure in their surroundings so, if there has been a change in circumstances at home, it would be better to wait a month or two and let things settle down before you embark on potty training.
DON’T start too early – Starting too early when your toddler is not able to communicate, express their feelings or recognise their bodily functions can lead to failure. So, make sure your little one is showing all the signs they are ready before you start.
DON’T put a time limit on it – It is important not to set your expectations too high and set a time limit on potty training. Some little one can get the hand of it in days, while for others it might take weeks, or even months, to become dry. Rushing the process will only lead to regression, so take your time and success will follow.
DON’T become cross – Potty training can be very frustrating for both you and your toddler, but it’s important to remember that it is a huge step for your toddler to suddenly remember unprompted to as to use the potty/toilet. Little ones don’t like to disappoint their parents, so try not to become cross with your child for accidents or not wanting to sit on the potty/toilet. Instead, turn your frustration into lots if encouragement using upbeat and happy language such as ‘Mummy/Daddy is so proud of you for trying’ Don’t forget practise make perfect.
But what about the do’s?
DO speak to your child about potty training before you start – It is always good to have a potty-training story book to read to your little trainee at least a week before you start. This will take them from the unknow and create and exciting build up to the big day, giving them a desire to potty train and become a big boy or girl.
DO start when your toddler is showing signs of readiness - Unless your circumstances are about to change, which may affect the consistent training, if your toddler is showing all or most of the key signs, they are ready. There is no need to delay until spring or summer.
DO transition from nappies or pullups to pants – Make sure you use big girl/boy pants and get those nappies/pull-ups off during the day. It is so important for your toddler to make that transition and to understand that they are now a big boy/girl and do not need nappies/pull-ups in the day anymore. Many parents tend to use nappies/ pull-ups as well as pants to avoid accidents and for going out of the home, but I always train children with just pants – if a nappy/pull-up is used during training then it can make toddlers lazy and lead to accidents and regression as they know the nappy/pull-up is there for protection. Using both nappies/pull-ups and pants will only confuse your toddler and send mixed messaging.
DO take your potty/trainer seat out and about with you – trying to find a toilet quickly when you are out and about is sometimes tricky! If your toddler has an accident outside the home, this can really knock their confidence. For the first few weeks of potty training, it’s a good idea to take your potty with you wherever you go as your toddler will normally give you very little notice that they need to go.
DO talk to your childcare provider – Different childcare settings require different things in relation to potty training. Some will expect your child to be fully potty trained before they attend, while other are more relaxed about it and are happy to support your efforts at home. Speak to your childcare provider and discuss with them that you are about to start potty training. Inform them of the way you will be doing this and what programme you will be following, as well as how to reward and praise your little one. This must be always kept consistent.
DO get the family involved – Speak to grandparents, aunties, uncles etc. and make them aware that your little one is starting their potty-training journey. This will create extra encouragement which is very special for your little trainee.
Just remember, YOU know your child better than anyone, so go at your own pace and do what you think is best for you and your little one at the end of the day! You’ve got this!
Head to where you listen to your podcasts to hear our full conversation with Amanda Jenner on Happy Mum Happy Baby: Parenting SOS.