Potty training tips

Potty training need not be a problem. Maura Hubbard, the resident health advisor at Netmums, says taking a relaxed approach is key when deciding how to potty train.

Take the lead from your child

Your enthusiasm is almost certain to backfire if you try to rush a child who’s not ready to step up from nappies to the loo. It is not a question of intelligence – the bladder and bowel have to be able to tell the child’s brain that they need to wee or poo, a sensation not normally developed until after 18 months to two years.

Choose a relaxed time to start

If possible, potty training tips suggest it’s a really good idea to begin potty training when the weather’s warm. You can let your child ‘go commando’ in the garden, where any little accidents are easily dealt with and will not cause problems. It is best to keep your eyes open, though, or you might miss your little one ‘watering’ the borders! As soon as you spot the signs the idea is to interject with a potty.

Potty training clues

There will be signs that your child is ready for potty training. When deciding when and how to potty train, look out for the clues. Your little one may start taking an interest in your toilet habits or those of an older sibling. They begin to start staying dry for a couple of hours at a time or their bowel habits could be becoming regular. Equally, your child could start drawing attention to the fact that they’re having a wee or a poo and want to have their nappy changed immediately after it’s soiled.

Make the idea appealing

Actively involve your child in their potty training. Choose one or two potties together and encourage them to sit on it for short periods during the day – particularly after eating. The urge to have a poo is strongest 10-15 minutes after eating, especially in the morning after breakfast. If anything is produced then be sure to give lots of praise. Your child may be more interested in the toilet. If so, choose a training loo seat and a step together.

Expect night-time dryness to come later

It takes longer to establish night-time habits than day-time ones, so for many children it’s necessary to keep wearing nappies at night for a while. Once your child is dry a few mornings in a row then you can progress to the next stage of potty training, though it’s an idea to put a plastic sheet over the mattress at first.

Don’t start at times of stress

Though there are no hard and fast rules dictating how to potty train, a relaxed atmosphere is important for success. Whether it’s the arrival of a new baby or the upheaval of a house move, good potty training tips tell you to avoid starting in times of stress.

Don’t expect quick success

It is perfectly normal to have to stop the potty training and start again after a few weeks. Lots of families do it.

Don’t chastise accidents

Don’t make a fuss, just offer a change of clothes with kisses and cuddles before cleaning up the mess.

Don’t panic!

Unless there is an underlying reason why your child isn’t responding to potty training, don’t worry: every child gets there in the end!

Resident health adviser at Netmums.