Potty Training Steps

Bummis Training PantIt’s a good idea to get a potty when your child is able to sit confidently.  This is just potty awareness.  Establish a routine where your child sits on the potty about once a day without a nappy on, preferably when there is likely to be something waiting to come out!  By showing your child where poo and pee goes you give her/him the opportunity to take the lead when s/he is ready and you just play the supporting role.

At some point you or your child will decide it's getting to the time for her/him to stop wearing a nappy during the day.  This is usually around 18 months but may be later or earlier.  Here are a few ideas to find out if your child is ready.

  1. If your child is not already in cotton nappies start using them, at least some of the time. That way your child is learning from making the nappy wet. This stimulates her/his curiosity to experiment with releasing and holding urine.
  2. When you change the nappy talk about whether it is wet or dry. You will find out how long your child is holding his/her bladder and find out whether he/she is drinking enough.
  3. Play a game with your child of changing a nappy on a favourite teddy or doll for five minutes a day. Comment on whether the nappy is wet or dry, clean or dirty.
  4. Read a book such as Tony Ross' "I want my potty" to your child.
  5. After a few days start potty training the doll/teddy. Give lots of clapping and praise to teddy/doll when it keeps its pants dry/clean or does a poo/pee on the potty.
  6. If you can, spend some time at the home of a child who has recently potty/toilet trained and encourage your child to visit the toilet with the older child. Praise the toilet/potty trained child to your own child for this skill s/he has acquired.
  7. Wait and watch for the signs that your child has decided to potty/toilet train.
  8. Your child will probably know when a poo is coming. Suggest the potty/toilet. Make up a funny song or poem about doing poos on the loo.
  9. If nothing happens, don't worry. In a few weeks start again at step 3.
  10. When your child is interested in using the toilet/potty invest in a few pairs of cotton pants.  Arrange to spend a day or two at home giving your child lots to drink and keep a potty close by.  Keep reminding your child that it is there.  After a while stop reminding.   There will be accidents but this is all part of the learning.  Your child has to find out for him/herself what a full bladder feels like.
  11. For night training cotton nappies help you know when your child is holding his/her urine all through the night.  Check the nappy before your child is awake from time to time to see if s/he is holding urine all through the night and only peeing on waking.  When s/he is holding her/his bladder all through the night you may just need to introduce a little reward chart to encourage your child to get up to use the potty/loo.
  12. All children go through compliant and non-compliant phases. If it's not working simply stop and go back to nappies until the time feels right. Summer is good because the child is wearing fewer clothes but the most important thing is to make sure your child understands what s/he is trying to achieve and give him/her the opportunity to take the lead.
  13. Find other parents who are doing it and discuss tips with them. Don't just wait for it to happen, you could end up waiting a long time!