How will I know when they’re ready?
You will notice that your child may tell you when they have weed or poohed in their nappy, or when they are doing it. This is the first stage, as your child is now becoming aware of their bladder and bowel movements.
Start sitting your child on the potty or toilet when you change their nappy, let them sit there for a few minutes whilst you encourage them to try for a wee, then take them off and praise them for trying.
This stage can take many weeks as some children become frightened of the potty and don’t want to go near it. If this happens then take a break as once fear is set in place then it an become hard to break.
Next have the potty in easy reach for the child, near to where they play and encourage them to sit on it and try for a wee.
Ask your child if they would like to wear pants. If they are unsure then perhaps put them on over their nappy so they become used to them being there. Once your child wants to wear their pants then take the nappy off.
Explaining to them that if they need to go to the toilet then they should go and tell them where the potty is.
Keep the potty where it is. If your child is in another room and runs to it and it isn’t there, it can be very disheartening to them to have an accident.
How often do they need to go?
At the beginning you may need to encourage your child to use the potty every ½ hour, always make it a fun time when they are using it and reward the result with a star of smiley face – 10 stars and they get a treat?
As time goes on you can lengthen the amount of time you leave in between visits. Always ask them if they need to go, but don’t let them become too dependent on you to remind them.
How long will it take?
Each child is different, some can take to it within a week whilst other will take longer. Don’t be disheartened if you think they are not ready. If so then stop as it isn’t going to harm them in anyway. Sometimes the child
may simply not be ready. If you have got time to dedicate to potty training, or your child goes to nursery then it shouldn’t take more than around 8 weeks for them to be dry during the day. They will have the odd accident from time to time but this can often be explained by them being too engrossed in something.
What if my child’s at nursery?
Talk to the staff and they will tell you if they think the child is ready. A child can often behave very differently at nursery to what they do at home. Nursery staff should be supportive of your decision and carry
on the work that you are doing at home, continuity is everything at this stage. If your child has recently started nursery, then it may be wise to give them time to settle in and build a relationship of trust with the nursery staff before trying to potty train them.
How can I encourage them?
It can take all kinds of tricks. You know what makes your child tick, so try some of those ideas. But if you fail here are some tips:-
- Musical potties; music is activated when the potty is wet.
- A ping pong ball in the toilet to encourage boys to aim!
- Special “grown up,” jobs that they can do.
- Rewards of a star on a chart.
- Favourite food as a treat.
- Special treat such as a trip out.
Pull ups or pants?
If you have ever felt a pair of pull-ups then you’d be forgiven for thinking they were a nappy. This is what your child will also probably think of them. There is too much padding for them to feel like a pair of pants, they are also very expensive. So if you don’t mind a bit of extra washing then go straight to pants, it’ll be easier in the long run.
When your child is on the way to being dry throughout the day, congratulate yourself as you’ve done a good job. Don’t expect them to get the hang of poohing in the potty for some weeks after as this is a problem
that many parents encounter.
Children may still be having the odd accidents when they are 4 or 5 years old. Get to know when your child is likely to pooh and them ask them to sit on the toilet or potty, whilst you play a game or read a story whilst they are trying.
Remember the majority of 4 or 5 year olds still wear a nappy to be at night, it’s just their parents don’t tell you so!