Forget the weaning, the sleeping through, the learning to walk or the tantrums, the development stage which worried me the most was the prospect of potty training. All I'd ever heard was how hard and stressful the whole process was so with that drilled into my head I was dreading it before we had even begun. I shouldn't have listened because our potty training experience has so far been a walk in the park.
First of all let me start by saying I'm no expert when it comes to potty training, not by a long shot. Noah is my first child, this is the first time I've potty trained a child and he isn't dry at night time just yet. With that aside I thought I would share some of the things which have helped us a long the way and to hopefully put other parents minds at ease because potty training doesn't need to be stressful for either you or your toddler.
1. Wait until they are ready.
Potty training is not age linked, there's no age that you should start or a set age they should be fully dry by, so don't worry. It's all about when your child is ready and showing signs. If they aren't showing signs don't push them, they'll be ready soon.
For us we knew when Noah was ready because he started showing signs such as hiding when he was going to have a poo, telling me when he was having a wee and asking to use the toilet.
2. Introduce the potty.
Another important step I think is introducing the potty at the right time, too soon can cause upset or confusion and too late they just might not be bothered with it at all.
Once Noah showed the signs of being ready to potty train we bought a potty and placed it in the corner of the living room. For the next week we let Noah run around the house bare bottom and every time he said he needed a wee I would remind him about the potty and he would toddle over to it himself, sit down and have a wee. He would then get a cheer and a round of applause and hearing the encouragement and seeing the smiles on our faces seemed to make it all click into place. He's never needed much persuasion when using the potty or toilet and I think that is due to starting when he was ready and by creating a positive association with the potty from the get go.
3. Accidents are no big deal.
I've seen and heard parents and grandparents being quite firm with their child when they have an accident and I personally don't think that's the way to go at all. They need to have accidents to learn, it's all part of the process.
On the rare occasion Noah has has an accident we usually say "nevermind sweetheart, next time we will do it in the potty" and just brush it off. I've never wanted to create a negative association and I think that's really helped Noah a long the way.
4. Skip the training pants.
Training pants or pull ups are often recommended to parents but I think they feel too similar to nappies. I didn't want to confuse Noah with it so we skipped this stage all together. We went from bare bottom to underpants in about two weeks and we haven't looked back, it worked for us.
5. Let them choose their own underwear.
I think that including your little one in making decisions like this really encourages them and makes them feel more involved. Noah's favourites are his Thomas & Friends vest and matching undies which he chose himself, he looks so cute in them too!
6. Buy a personalised potty training book.
We have a personalised Pirate Pete potty training book from Penwizard and I feel it adds more excitement and fun to their potty training journey. It would also be great to look into if your child just needs that extra little nudge in the right direction or they are a bit wary of the potty.
Do you have any potty training tips you would like to share?
Or perhaps you would like to share your potty training experience with me?