Have you considered potty training your little one whilst we are on lockdown? This could be the perfect opportunity to start as we aren’t going out at the moment.
Before you start though it’s important to know if your little one is showing signs that they are both physically and mentally ready, starting too soon can lead to frustration on both parts and isn’t recommended when we all have so much to deal with right now.
You’re changing fewer wet nappies. Until the age of around 20 months, children wee frequently so expecting them to have the ability to hold their bladders is probably unrealistic. A toddler who stays dry for an hour or two at a stretch and occasionally wakes with a dry nappy is physically ready for potty training.
Your child’s poos are predictable. If your child usually poos around the same time each day it can give you a great insight to when to put the potty out booting the likelihood of success.
They broadcast when they are ‘going’. Some children are happy to let you know when they are pooing or weeing whether this is by actually saying it to you or by letting you know in other ways like hiding or going quiet and concentrating with the odd little grunt lol. This is a sign they are ready for potty training.
Your little one doesn’t like having a soiled nappy. If your little one is eager to escape their soiled nappy as soon as possible this is a prime opportunity to start potty training.
Let your child choose their own potty. This might be harder at the moment since we are restricting how often we go out, but you could try looking online. Maybe choose two or three that you would be happy with and let your little one choose from those.
Empty their nappy in the toilet. When your child gets closer to actual potty training and are starting to show some signs, show them where the poo goes and empty their nappy into the toilet! Let them flush the toilet to. This helps them to see that this is where to poo goes!
Get in to a routine. Don’t keep asking your child if they need a wee or a poo as they might not know to begin with. Call it potty or toilet time and get them to visit to potty or toilet every couple of hours.
The after dinner wee. Have your child use the potty 20-30 minutes after meals. The body has a natural reflex to poo after meals.
Get boys to sit down to wee. This is helpful for when they might need to poo as well as wee and can prevent them from getting in to a mess.
Get the aim right. Whether he’s sitting or standing you need to show your little boy how to aim. (This could also be a good opportunity to give your husband or teenager a refresher course too!!). His willy needs to point down in to the toilet or potty! We used to get our son to sit the other way round on the potty so the bit at the back that’s raised the most is as the front, this prevents the willy from coming out a help stop any going on the floor.
Teach girls how to ‘wipe’. Teach your daughter to wipe from front to back to avoid any bacteria spreading. If this is hard for your little girl then she could pat dry or just hold the tissue paper there for a few seconds.
Potty training friendly clothing. Be sure to dress your child in something easy to pull down. Choose elasticated waistbands over button and fly. Definitely avoid dungarees and vest to fasten at the crotch.
Praise, praise, praise. It’s important to praise your child for every step. Sitting on the potty, pulling down their own pants, washing hands and actually weeing or pooing while on the potty should never go unpraised. Reward charts work really well. I have included a link to download two potty training charts, you can use stickers or colouring pens or pencils on these. Download yours by clicking the link at the end of my blog.
Patience is key. Potty training can take some time to learn so don’t be surprised if there are lots of accidents to start with. Is is super important not to punish your child or act disappointed. Let your child know that this can happen sometime and is all part of learning potty training. You might find that your little one just isn’t quite ready, if this is the case delaying potty training by a few weeks can make all the difference.
Trust your instincts. If your child is unwell, you’re about to have another baby or your toddler is making the transition from cot to bed you might want to put off potty training even if your child is showing all the signs of being ready.
You’re ready but your toddler isn’t. You have everything in place, but your toddler is less than interested even though they are showing all of the physical signs of being ready. Sometime parents can be anxious to get their little one’s toilet trained ready for preschool or maybe a holiday. It’s important that your child is ready both mentally and physically so if your little one isn’t showing an interest it’s better to delay this until they are. Just be patient and don’t force the issue. Just like other milestones, each child has their own schedule when it comes to toilet training.
Child has lost interest. It’s not uncommon for a toddler who was once participating in potty training quite happily to then decide they are no longer interested. When positive praise isn’t enough to keep your child interested and they are no longer interested in the reward chart it’s important to look for reasons why. This could be caused by illness, starting school or preschool, a new sibling or anything else that may unsettle a child. The good news is that this is usually a temporary problem. If your child has been out of nappies for some time it isn’t recommended to go back to nappies. Sometimes children just need reassurance of a new situation they face or just need time to adapt to the new living arrangements or routine.
Child will only poo in a nappy. This is a much more common problem than you think. Children are often startled by the sensation of a bowel movement falling away from them and the splash from the toilet water. They feel more secure when pooing in their nappies. If this is happening to your child, it’s preferable to let them wear a nappy temporarily than risk them holding it in as it could cause constipation. As soon as they have finished in the nappy, remove it in the bathroom and empty the contents in the toilet and encourage them to flush the loo and wash their hands after. This issue can be quite frustrating for parents but it’s important not to force your child to use the potty or toilet no matter how tempting that might be. Eventually they will get over their fear so it’s important you’re there to praise them after.
As promised, there are two reward charts below that you’re welcome to download and print. These should help incentivise the use of the potty for your child. You can either get your child you use colouring pencils on the chart or get some small stickers to use. To download one or both you just need to click on the images below.
If you have your own tips then I would love to hear them. Just pop them in the comments below.