Are you and your toddler ready to say goodbye to nappies? If you think you are there’s a couple of routes you can take.
I’m one of the sad weepy mums that mourn each stage as it means my baby is growing up. James asked me flat out if he could become a big boy. I left him till he was three as we had tried a few times earlier and it was very stressful. Some kids are ready from 18 months upwards but boys tend to be later.
The most important thing to remember is that every child is different and both of you need to be ready. If you’re a working mum you might need to take a few days off or start over a long weekend.
I would recommend arming yourself with all the tools you need first. I used to read James books like “everyone poops” about potty training for months before we started and we also watched Elmo’s potty training DVD. I also let him pick his own potty which he was very excited to use when we got home.
Signs your child is ready to potty train
One of the most important signs to look out for is readiness. Is your child recognizing the urge to go to the bathroom? If you notice them wiggle and jiggle their legs and hop up and down, explain to them that this means they need to go to the potty. Also try and get them to recognize when they need to go for a poo as telling you when they have already done it in their nappy is not a sign of readiness.
Some more signs are:
- Can your child understand and follow basic directions?
- Does your child stay dry for periods of two hours or longer during the day? Does he or she wake from naps dry?
- Does your child have fairly predictable bowel movements?
- Is your child uncomfortable in wet or dirty diapers?
- Can your child pull down his or her pants and pull them up again?
You need to be patient, consistent and calm and depending on your parenting style a reward often works. This can be a sticker each time they go and if they manage to get a certain amount of stickers their treat is a trip to the playground. Leave their pants off during the day at home and let them roam around the house. There might be accidents, but they will also recognize the urges and signs quicker. Try not to constantly sit them on the potty in the beginning and try instead to watch for signs. You will need to move quickly when you sport them, but they’ll soon get the jist.
Incorporate good hygiene from the very beginning. Teach girls to wipe carefully from front to back to prevent bringing germs forward to the bladder area. When it’s time to flush, let your child do the honors. Make sure your child washes his or her hands after using the toilet as getting them into the habit of washing their hands is very important and make sure all caregivers are on the same page including grandparents and crèche.
Whilst the little ones are mastering the art of potty training, I personally recommend ditching pull-ups during the day at home. I loved the Potty Pants, £12.50 from Quack Quack Moo, which make the transition much easier.
We quickly graduated to the Pourty Potty, £14.95 that fits on your toilet seat and this was exciting as it made James feel like a big boy. This unique toilet trainer has clever squeeze flex action and adjustable prongs so that it can fit securely to almost all toilet seats, meaning that children won’t wobble around, giving them the security they need!
Above all praise is really important and accidents happen. The secret to success is patience, perhaps more patience than you ever imagined as it’s a really big step for both of you.
In my next blog I’ll deal with stage two, which is bed wetting and when is a good time to stop using pull-ups at night.