Potty training can seem like a daunting task, but there are some relatively simple tricks that can help to make the process much easier. Believe it or not, lots of parents share the same concerns around potty training including how and when to start. Here, Potette answers some of your key potty training questions…

When should we start potty training?

Every child is different so exactly when to start potty training will depend on them. Children with older siblings who are already potty trained may find it easier and learn faster, for instance, because they will want to copy what their older sibling is doing. There are no hard and fast rules, but generally, parents start potty training between 18 and 36 months.

If you’re not sure that your child is ready, there are some cues you can watch out for to give you an indication of when is the right time.

See if you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions:

  • Can your child sit down, walk and stand up on their own?
  • If your toilet is upstairs, can they climb the stairs without your help?
  • Can they talk about doing ‘wees’ and ‘poos’?
  • Are they able to pull their pants up and down?
  • Do they show interest in your toilet or follow you when you go to the loo?
  • Does their nappy stay dry for 2-3 hours at a time?
  • Are they aware when they’re doing a wee or poo? eg. do they go quiet and concentrate?
  • Do they ask you to change their nappy?

If you answered yes to all or most of these, your child is probably ready to start potty training!

Is there a bad time to start potty training?

Potty training will be much simpler if you wait until your child is ready, both physically and mentally. Try to choose a time when you are also feeling prepared and relaxed as potty training takes patience from both parties. That may mean delaying the start of potty training until after any big changes in your life, including moving house, starting a new job or busy family events like Christmas.

If you can, choose a week that is clear when you don’t have a lot on your plate. This will make it easier for you and your child to get the hang of it, reducing the likelihood of problems arising.

What do we need for potty training?

At its most basic, you can potty train with just one potty.

However, if you can, it’s much easier to have two potties at home and a travel potty for when you’re out and about. If you live in a two-storey house, using two potties means you can have one upstairs and one downstairs, which saves a mad dash when the moment hits!

A travel potty is specially designed to be easily transportable and is much less bulky than a traditional potty. Designs like the Potette Plus fold flat and have a special carry bag for hassle-free, hygienic transportation. They also come with biodegradable liners so it’s a no-mess solution to potty training on the road.

How do we start potty training?

Once you’re ready to start potty training, you should introduce your child to their potty and show them where it lives in the bathroom. There are plenty of books for children about using a potty for the first time, so you might like to read these to them to help them beforehand. Introducing the idea through books can help your little one understand what their potty is for.

You can also help them get used to sitting on the potty by encouraging them to sit there while you go to the toilet and before they get in the bath or before they get dressed. By incorporating it into your daily routine, they should start to feel more comfortable about sitting on the potty.

When your child is relaxed about sitting on their potty, you can begin to encourage them to use their potty during the day. Help them to sit on the potty at regular intervals and give them lots of praise if they do a wee or a poo there. If you know there’s a certain time that they tend to do a poo during the day, be sure to sit them on their potty at that time. By sticking to this routine, they should get used to using their potty and it will become a habit.

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When should my child move from nappies to pants?

If your little one has started to use their potty regularly, they should be ready to move from nappies to pants. Communicating with them is really important at this stage to help them understand the transition.

Try to make it an exciting event! Choose pants that have something they like in the design, whether it’s unicorns, farm animals or aeroplanes! You can explain that these are big pants for big children who do their wees and poos on the potty. You might want to introduce a reward chart with stickers at this stage as well to help them understand the right way to use their big pants.

Can we potty train whilst on holiday?

Yes! Potty training can be done at home or on holiday.

If you’re staying in a new place, it can be helpful to try and keep your potty training routine as normal as possible. Take the same books with you to create a feeling of homeliness and maybe take your sticker chart too! As they’re likely to be excited and more distracted on holiday, you need to make sure you ask regularly if they need their potty.

During the journey, it’s a good idea to use a car seat protector if you’re driving and take your travel potty with you. Travel potties with absorbent pads like the Potette Plus are best as you don’t have to worry about any spillages or complicated cleanup. They can even be used in the back of the car if you don’t have time to make it to a service station. Definitely pack some spare clothes too so you’re prepared just in case there’s any accidents!

What should we do at night?

Nighttime potty training doesn’t always correspond with what happens during the day. Most children are potty trained during the day long before they can go through the night. Again, every child is different, some might sleep accident-free but for others, it might not be immediate.

To be safe, you can use bedtime nappies or a mattress protector during the night. There are also pull-ups available that have a picture that remains if they are dry and vanishes if they are wet. This gives your child a reward for staying dry all night. Try not to get frustrated if your child has an accident, it is all part of the learning process and they will gradually develop the motivation to stay dry. Keep calm and make sure you give lots of encouragement when they manage it.

How do I get my child to use the toilet?

When you feel like your child is ready and they’re using their potty regularly, you may want to transition to using the toilet. This is where a multi-purpose potty like the Pottete Plus can be really useful as it also functions as a toilet training seat too.

Toilet training seats make the transition to the toilet less daunting as it is smaller than a regular toilet seat and can help your little one feel more secure. Most training seats also include handles to help them support themselves when they sit. To get up to the toilet, you may also need a little stool, this helps your child to be more independent. Be sure to use lots of encouragement at this stage to help them feel confident and in control.

What is your top tip for potty training parents?

One of the main things to remember about potty training is that you’ll need to communicate with your child and give them plenty of positive reinforcement to help them to understand what you expect them to do. Be patient and use lots of praise and you will find the process goes much more smoothly. It’s important to remember that every child is different. If your child takes a little longer to learn than others, don’t get disheartened. Focus on making it a positive experience for them and try to encourage them as much as possible.

Good luck!

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