There are so many articles written about how to potty train your toddler and there are so many fantastic looking time lines, that it all seems, on the face of it, to be very easy and smooth. Those of us who have gone through it, can tell you, categorically that no one in the world can set a time line for your toddler to be potty trained, except of course, your toddler.
As hard as it might be to hear/read, they will start using the potty when they are ready and no amount of bribing, scolding, praising, begging, explaining, will change that. The general age is between 18 months and 3 years.
Don’t allow pressure from other parents push you to start training before you feel your toddler is ready. It is important that you feel they are ready to start before introducing it. Bear in mind that most children won’t have full bladder control until about 3.5 or so. One of the best ways of gauging whether your child is ready is if there are consistent long periods of dryness especially after a nap.
That said, there are a few tips that may help the process along.
- Buy a potty and let your toddler play with it for a little while. Let him/her get used to the feel of it, be it sitting on it, wearing it on his/her head, etc. Just so that when you start trying to train him/her, it is not with something they are not familiar with.
- Let them sit on it with their pampers on and make them laugh asking if they are pooing or weeing in a funny voice. Make pooing faces and weeing noises. Have a laugh and make it seem like a lot of fun. Make light of the whole thing.
- Buy a book about using a potty and start looking at the pictures together while your little one is playing with it or sitting on it. You tube also has some cute songs about using a potty.
- Start keeping the potty in the toilet. You can always pretend to need to use the loo and ask if they would like to sit with mummy/daddy.
- If it looks like your child is more interested in the toilet than the potty, all the better. Less work for you and faster training for your child. Get a seat he/she would like to sit on and go for it. Both seats listed below are pretty comfortable and fit on most toilet seats.
- Having a reward ready is good but be aware that it may not work with every child. (I am not a great fan of bribing but whatever works is great).
- Try to monitor times and start taking your little one to the toilet/potty around then. When you are in the toilet, talk to them about how grown up they are, compare them with a baby you know of, your own or someone else’s to show them how much bigger and older they are and how wonderful it is. Sometimes a little distraction might help take the fear away. Do this every 15 minutes or so around the time you know they usually need to go.
- If your child goes in their pamper, take it to the toilet, make them sit down and empty the pamper under them into the bowl so that they see where it all has to go. Flush together. It is always great fun to watch the water swallowing the poo (apparently)!!
- For boys, it is also lots of fun to aim at a cheerio or gummy bear floating around in a toilet bowl. Keep some handy and do a cheery dance round the toilet once the deed is done. Be prepared though that aiming, takes a while to perfect and even after being perfected, there are instances when your child will make a mistake or several !!
- If your child is older than the average age by when he/she needs to be potty trained, try going cold turkey. Lose the pampers but keep taking them to the toilet/potty every 15-20 minutes and asking them to sit for a little while. The moment they use the toilet/potty, a big cuddle and a kiss should follow. Be careful though that you don’t do too much praising and kissing and cuddling because you don’t want a situation where an accident brings on feelings of shame and disappointment.
- Make sure that your frustration or annoyance doesn’t show in the event that an accident does occur. Even if it is on a carpet!
- Best to potty train in the summer when there are less layers to take on and off.
- Another tip might be to start earlier than usual. I know someone who had huge success with her little one by taking her to the potty once she could sit up by herself. The little girl was trained by the age of 8 months.
- Always carry a spare seat in your car. Most kids don’t like public loos and the width may scare them.