Potty training strikes fear into the heart of many a parent, but it doesn’t have to. Being prepared and be gentle with yourself and your child can go a long way to making everything a lot easier.
Here are some top tips for potty training from Rebecca Sturmer, the co-founder of Fancypants, that you might find helpful:
1. Make sure you’re both ready
Your child will know when he or she is ready for this big step, but this usually happens between the ages of 2 and a half and 4 (and girls usually potty train earlier than boys). Here are a few signs to look out for that might help you to determine whether your child is ready to potty train.
· Can pull his or her pants up and down on his or her own
· Tells you when he or she is making a wee or having a bowel movement
· Asks you to change his or her dirty nappy
· Wants to watch you go to the bathroom, and shows an interest in the toilet or potty
· Can go for about two hours without wetting his or her nappy
· Can understand simple instructions, such as “go fetch your bear”
2. Involve your child
Let your child come with you to choose a bright and colourful potty, and let them pick out his or her own underwear. There are a variety of training pants on the market, or alternatively some “grown up” underwear in their favourite colours or patterns.
3. Create a reward chart
Buy a big piece of cardboard, some brightly coloured pens and some fun stickers and get your toddler to help you create a reward chart. Explain to your child that he or she will get a sticker every time they ‘go potty’. You can choose to give them a reward when they reach a certain milestone, but often the simple act of receiving a sticker is reward enough!
4. Take it slow
Your child may be fully potty trained during the day, but may still wet the bed at night – and that’s ok! Don’t make a big fuss or reprimand your toddler; it’s perfectly fine for your tot to wear a nappy at night for the first while after potty training.
5. Avoid potty training your child during major life events
Big changes, like moving to a new house or the birth of a sibling, upset your child’s routine and can lead to stress, so there’s no need for the added pressure of potty training on top of this!
6. Most importantly, be patient and supportive
Accidents will happen – don’t punish your child for these, but talk them through the experience and encourage them to try again. You can also try prevent future accidents by taking a proactive approach and saying, “let’s go potty” before they have a chance to accidentally wet their pants.
And remember: every child is different. Just because your first child potty trained at two doesn’t necessarily mean that your second child will, too. Take your cues from your child and potty training should be a (relatively) smooth ride!