If you’re reading this, you’re probably gearing up with potty training to start teaching your little one how to ditch the nappies and start using the potty. Now, we know this might sound like a huge task, especially with all those questions buzzing around your head. When’s the right time? How long is this going to take? Don’t sweat it – these questions are totally normal and we’ve all been there, so here are our 15 potty training tips for potty training success!
Potty Training Tips
So, what’s next? Well, we’ve gathered all our top potty training tips and tricks to help make this whole potty training gig a little less daunting and a bit more doable. Every kid is different, so they’ll all take to potty training at their own pace. Some might be pros in no time, while others might like to take the scenic route. The secret sauce? Patience, consistency, and keeping things light-hearted and positive.
1. Choose the Right Potty
The first of our potty training tips is to find a potty chair that your child feels comfortable using. Potties come in various shapes, sizes, and designs – from basic models to ones that resemble mini toilets with flushing sounds. Allow your child to take part in the selection process, as this can make them feel involved and excited about potty training. Ensure the potty is stable, and your child can use it without assistance to encourage self-confidence and independence.
2. Foster Independence
Independence plays a significant role in the potty training process. Ensure your child can get on and off the potty chair without assistance. This encourages them to use the potty when they feel the urge, even if you’re not there at that moment, and reduces the risk of accidents occurring while trying to get to the potty.
3. Establish a Consistent Routine
Routine is key when potty training, and setting a consistent routine is one of our potty training tips. Set aside specific times each day for your toddler to sit on the potty, such as after meals or before bed. This regularity not only helps them recognise the signs that they need to go, but also helps them understand that using the potty is a normal part of their daily activities.
4. Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement can do wonders for potty training progress. Establish a reward system such as praise, a sticker chart, or a small treat every time they successfully use the potty. This encourages them to continue their efforts. Remember, the goal is to make this a positive experience for your child, reinforcing their good behaviour without creating a sense of pressure or anxiety.
5. Handle Accidents with Grace
Accidents are bound to happen. It’s crucial not to punish or shame your child when they occur. Instead, react calmly, clean up, and reassure your child that it’s okay and part of the learning process. Creating a sense of fear or anxiety around accidents can hinder progress and make the potty training process more stressful for both of you.
6. Role-play with Toys
Children learn a lot through play. Consider using a doll or a stuffed animal to demonstrate the potty routine. This can make the process less intimidating and more relatable. You can also use the toy to celebrate when it “uses” the potty, demonstrating the kind of positive reinforcement your child can expect.
7. Transition to Underwear
When your child starts showing signs of readiness and interest in potty training, consider transitioning them from nappies to underwear during the day. This allows them to feel the sensation of being wet or soiled, helping them recognise the need to use the potty. Having underwear featuring their favourite characters can also serve as motivation to keep them dry.
8. Use Child-friendly Language
To make the process less abstract, use simple, child-friendly language to explain what’s happening. Instead of using words like “excretion,” use common, easily understandable terms like “wee” and “poo”. Use language that your child is familiar with and comfortable using themselves.
9. Make the Potty a Fun Place
Transform the potty into an enjoyable spot. Set it up in a warm, comfortable space and consider adding some of their favourite books or small toys. The aim is to create an environment where they feel relaxed and are happy to sit for a while. Remember, patience is key – some children take longer than others to get comfortable with the process.
10. If in Doubt, Take a Break
Not every child will take to potty training straight away, and that’s okay. If your child seems to be resisting the process, maybe they are not ready for it. Be patient and wait a bit longer or until their signals are clearer.
11. Gradually Extend Potty Time
As your child grows more comfortable with the potty, try to gradually increase the amount of time they spend sitting on it. This can help them adjust to the feeling and understand that it’s the place to take care of their bathroom needs. Remember to keep it a positive experience with books or toys to prevent it from becoming a chore or stressful.
12. Encourage Hygiene Habits
Once your child starts using the potty, it’s a great time to teach them about the importance of hygiene. Show them how to wipe properly (girls should always wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria) and teach them about washing their hands thoroughly afterwards. This will not only keep them healthy, but also instil good habits for life.
13. Use Visuals
Children often respond well to visual cues. You can use colourful charts to mark their progress, or even use a timer with a visual component to indicate when it’s time to try using the potty. Visual aids can make the process more engaging and comprehensible for your toddler.
14. Be Prepared for Outings
Potty training doesn’t stop when you leave the house. If you’re going out, bring a portable potty or an insert for the public toilet, and plenty of spare clothes. Talk to your child about how potty time works when they’re not at home to help them understand the routine applies everywhere, not just at home.
15. Involve Your Child in the Clean-Up
While you should handle any major cleaning, involving your child in the process, such as changing soiled clothes or emptying the potty chair into the toilet, can help them understand the cause and effect relationship. It can make them more responsible and help accelerate the training process. However, ensure this is done in a positive, educational way, not as a form of ‘punishment’ for accidents.
Seeking additional help
Potty training consultants
If you’ve been trying potty training for a while and things aren’t quite falling into place, don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you’re getting it wrong. Sometimes, even with the best intentions, we just hit a wall. And guess what? It’s totally okay to ask for a helping hand when that happens.
That’s where potty training consultants come into play. These are professionals specialised in the process who are great at passing that knowledge onto parents. They’ll work with you to create a tailored approach that suits your little one’s personality and your family’s lifestyle. It’s like having a personal trainer, but for potty training.
Potty training books
If you’re more of a DIY-er, there are loads of brilliant books out there to guide you through the process. Authors like Gina Ford and Dr. T. Berry Brazelton have some ace potty training books that are packed with expert advice, different strategies, and real-life stories to reassure you that you’re not alone in this.
Don´t miss our entry on the top potty training books to read.
Remember, every child is different and potty training is not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. So, whether you’re consulting an expert or diving into some literature, getting that extra bit of insight can be just the ticket to get things moving in the right direction.