Time for potty training!

Yay! No more nappies! It means that your little one is growing up and reaching those important milestones – also, you’ll get to save a lot of money. Which makes it good news all round, but are you prepared for the process?

When do I start potty training?

At around the 1 year mark, toddlers are able to recognise that their bladder is full, or that they need to pass a motion. That covers the need, but your little one needs some additional skills to master potty training:

  1. Can he walk and sit down?
  2. Can he follow simple instructions?
  3. Is he able to take off his pants and pull them back up?

It’s important to assess your little one’s readiness and not to rush him or her. Remember that each child develops at their own pace, so don’t compare children.

How long does potty training take?

Be prepared for potty training to take a while. While some children get it right within a few days, others may take months. Again, it’s best not to compare your little one to other children. If you feel that you’re getting stuck with no progress, speak to your doctor or a qualified care-giver at your child’s nursery school for practical advice.

What do I need for potty training?

You don’t have to buy much, but these few items are vital:

  • An adapter seat that attaches to the big toilet, or a toddler-sized potty chair.
  • Steps or a stool for your toddler to get onto the adapter seat

Your choice of seat or potty depends on your toddler – when you go shopping, take him with you and let him help you choose an option.

Training steps

At home, let your toddler play with the potty or seat – allow him to get used to it. Once you feel that you’re all ready to start, here are some suggested steps:

  • Timing. Try to assess when your little one is most likely to have a bowel movement (after a meal, before bed, when he wakes up) and sit him, fully clothed, on the potty once a day. Let this become a routine over a week or two, then go to the next step.
  • Demonstrate: watching you and his siblings use the bathroom is the most natural way for your toddler to learn. Talk about the process: how a person knows when it’s time to go to the toilet, how to use it and what happens afterwards (wiping, flushing, getting dressed and washing hands).
  • Make the connection by showing your little one how you empty the contents of his full nappy into the toilet and flush it away.
  • Time to sit: have him sit on the potty without pants or a nappy on. If he resists this, don’t force him to sit. Go back to playing for a week or two, then try again. Once he’s happy to sit on the potty or toilet, sit with him and read him a story. This serves to make it fun, but also gives him long enough to relax and allow something to come out!
  • Easy access: wherever possible, let your little one run around without a nappy or pants – keeping the potty close by! Remind him that it’s there and encourage him to use it. When you start training, think about getting rid of nappies during the day. Swap them for pull-ups or training pants, helping him to undress for the potty or toilet.
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He did it!

Give your toddler praise when he uses the potty successfully, it’s part of the positive reinforcement he needs to succeed! But don’t overdo it, or else he might feel as if he’s under the spotlight and suffer from stage-fright. Take any accidents in your stride and focus on his success.

Possible glitches

Any big changes in his life – moving house, changing nursery schools, illness or a new sibling – can cause a temporary setback. Simply adjust until everything settles down, then carry on as before.

Be encouraged: when your little one is physically and mentally ready, he’ll pick up this skill without too much trouble. If you feel he’s struggling with potty training, chat to your clinic, doctor or paediatrician for advice.

Source: Baby Centre

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