Potty training is a big milestone in every child (and parent’s) life. There will be accidents along the way, but don’t miss our practical potty training tips to help you get started!
When it comes to potty training your child, timing and a huge big dose of patience are the key! Stock up on some underwear – letting your child pick their own if possible – and set aside some time to get started. Before you do, take a read of our potty training tips below:
Potty Training Tips
Timing is Key
Many children start to show an interest in potty training by the age of 2. But potty training is not aged based, every child is different and some are closer to 3 before they are ready and some start earlier or later. Often girls are ready before boys. And some children train in a matter of days, while others take weeks or months.
There is no rush so don’t start because you feel you “should”. If you start too soon, it may take longer than you expect because your child is just not ready. Instead, watch out for the signs that your child is ready and act promptly.
If there have recently been (or there are about to be) any major changes in your child’s life, like the arrival of a new sibling or a house move, it is probably best to wait a few months before starting to potty train.
When to Start Potty Training?
If your child is displaying some or all of these tendencies, they are likely to be ready for potty training.
- Is your child staying dry for longer periods, 2 hours or more during the day?
- Does your child want to be changed as soon at they are wet or dirty?
- Is your child showing an interest in the potty or toilet?
- Is your child interested in wearing underwear?
- Does you child let you know when they need to go?
Getting Ready to Start Potty Training
Before you start to potty train your child, ensure everything is ready to make the process as easy as possible for them. You want them to succeed so being organised is key.
Make sure everyone who looks after your child is aware that you are beginning potty training, and purchase a potty or a training seat for the toilet.
Before you start:
- Encourage your child to sit on the potty or training seat with or without their nappy
- Have some books on going to the potty that you can read to your child
- If they have a favourite toy, let them play potties with their toy in advance of potty training.
Off You Go!
I found it easier to trade regular nappies for pull ups, but do what works best for you and go straight for underwear if you prefer.
- Encourage your child to sit on the potty or toilet for a short time, every 60 to 90 minutes without their pull up/underwear to get them used to it.
- Praise them even if they don’t do anything.
- Talk to your child about using the potty and stay with them when they are on it. You could give them a book or toy to have while they are trying. Or have a song that you sing while they are sitting on the potty.
- Look out for the signs that your child needs to go and get them there quickly but calmly.
- Don’t chastise them for accidents
- Be positive and encouraging
- At this early stage it is easier for boys to master going to the toilet by sitting on the potty/toilet rather than standing up.
- Help your child with their clothes and pull ups.
Keeping up the Momentum
To make Potty Training a positive experience for your child it is often good to offer an incentive. Use encouraging words and phrases every time they make it to the potty or toilet on time. Let them flush away the contents.
You could have a reward chart where they can add a sticker each time they go and when it is full they get a trip to the playground. Or offer to read a special story or play a special game.
Offer reminders, but don’t keep asking them if they need the toilet every 10 minutes! Accidents will happen but eventually you will get to know the signs of when they need to go, as will they.
As time goes on, sit them on the potty or toilet at certain points in the day, when they wake up, after a snack or meal, before nap or bed times or before you go out.
Would like your child to be more independent? This list of essential life skills will stand them in good stead for years to come.
No Nappies or Pull-Ups
After several weeks your child should be confident enough to trade their nappies or pull-ups for underwear full-time. Take them with you to choose these and make it a celebration. Ensure that the clothes they wear are easy for them to remove and do not hinder their progress. Buy extra underwear as your child will have accidents and, depending on the weather, it may not always be easy to keep on top of the washing!
If your child is in creche or with a childminder, ensure they have spare clothes and underwear. Also, I found it handy to always have a change of clothes and underwear in the car, for any accidents that might occur when you’re on the go!
Potty Training at Night
Most children take longer to train at night or for nap times. Use pull ups for when your child sleeps. Sit them on the potty or toilet before you put them down and you could lift your child when you are going to bed. It can take several months for them to gain bladder control at night. This is totally normal.
If Your Child Resists Potty Training
If your child resists potty training or is consistently having accidents after the first few weeks, take a break and try again in a couple of months.
There will be accidents along the way. Take a deep breath and try to stay patient and positive. Having toilet trained my two girls, I know this is often easier said than done!
Every child will have accidents along the way. But if you are worried about the frequency of these, or if your potty trained child regresses, there may be an underlying medical problem such as a bladder infection. Seek help from your GP sooner rather than later as prompt treatment can help your child to become accident free.