Well, touch wood, I believe I have pretty much fully potty trained my youngest (and last) child, who is 2 years and 9 months. Obviously I’m sure there will still be accidents to come, but I’m pretty sure we have broken the back of it. This is the second child I have potty trained, and my kids are only 20 months apart, so I feel now like I have a fair bit of recent experience under my belt. As such, I’d like to share a few things I have learned along the way. Here are my top 5 potty training tips:
Invest in a book
I think it’s a good idea to pick a method and stick to it, rather than trying all kinds of things you have heard anecdotally, which can end up being confusing for your child. It’s also good to have something to refer to when you need to troubleshoot specific problems.
Personally we used Gina Ford’s Potty Training in One Week which I liked as the book is short and straight to the point – let’s face it, as parents we don’t have the time to read long and drawn out books. I have heard loads of recommendations for Oh, Crap by Jamie Glowacki, too.
Wait until they are ready
I cannot stress this enough. Some kids will be ready before they are two, whereas others will be well over the age of three. Don’t compare your child to anyone else’s kid or let any comments get to you. Technically your child can be potty trained long before they are ready, but the experience will be unbelievably stressful and drawn out with many, many accidents along the way. But in my experience, if you wait until your child is truly ready, things will be so much smoother and your child will ‘get it’ so much quicker.
So how do you know that they are ready? There will be obvious things. such as they will be able to tell you when their nappy is dirty. But personally, when my kids got to 2 and a half I just started some half-hearted potty training attempts, without putting a load of pressure on them, and gave it half a day to click. If they were having lots of accidents and clearly not understanding the concept at all, I figured they weren’t ready and vowed to try again in 6 weeks or so.
Skip the potty and use the toilet from the get-go
One of the best investments we have made has been this toilet ladder with seat and handles – it has meant that we have skipped using the potty altogether. This is a great thing to do because it makes clean ups a lot more pleasant and also prepares your child for using toilets when they are out an about in public, without having to carry a hefty potty around all the time. The ladder also encourages independence as they don’t need you around to help them get on and off the toilet. For trips out and about, I also recommend a portable toilet seat insert which can be carried around in a backpack until your child becomes more confident sitting on a adult sized toilet seat.
Be positive and excited
This is so hard, especially when they are sitting on the potty for ages without any success, then immediately hop off and pee on the floor. You have to just put on a fake smile and say “oh well, never mind, next time the pee pee will go in the potty”. It’s so important to stay upbeat and never make your child feel ashamed about any accidents. Remember to keep your eyes on the prize: a potty trained child and no more dealing with nappies.
If you are anything like me, a glass of wine to look forward to every evening during potty training will be a great motivator to keep going and stay positive. Or, on a grander scale, perhaps you could book a spa day in the future as a reward for yourself. After all, potty training is tough going and you deserve a treat!