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Our top tips for starting potty training

So, you’ve got you a toddler all of a sudden (how on earth did they grow so quickly) and it’s time to think about potty training! If they can follow basic instructions, show some interest in the potty or toilet, or they tell you when they need or have done a wee or poo, they could be ready! So pick a time when your diary is free, take a deep breath and take the plunge. Here’s some top tips from our team of mums.

Stay at home

Yes, you might be use to getting out burning off that toddler energy! But it really helps to take the pressure off if you’re not having to worry about dealing with accidents while out. Being at home for the first week will really help while you both learn this new milestone together and it will be easier to watch for their cues.

Don’t announce it

As tempting as it is, try not to tell all your friends and family or put it on social media that you’re potty training. It can add to the frustration if little one isn’t quite there yet and you’re getting constant messages asking for updates. The more calm you are, the easier it will be.

Nakey nakey naked

Snug underwear can feel like a nappy to your toddler, and clothes can get in the way. So, turn up the central heating and keep them naked for the first few days. Then try adding a top first and once they’re weeing mostly on the potty, add trousers and have them practice pulling them up and down. You don’t have to introduce underwear at all until your little one has mastered their new skill, and sometimes it can help them to feel an accident down their legs. However some children like to feel like a big girl or boy in their new pants though so just do what’s right for them.

Watch them 👀 

Every child has their own little cue that they need a wee. They may suddenly stop in their tracks, hold their private parts, do a little dance, or just have “that look”. Clear your diary, stay off your phone, leave the chores and spend the first day or two watching them like a hawk to learn what their cue is, then calmly rush them to the potty. It can also turn into some nice one-on-one play time. Try activities that hold their attention in one area like lego, jigsaws, board games and colouring in.

Practice, practice practice

While your child tries to master their brand new skill, it helps to give them more liquid than usual so they have plenty of opportunity to practice. A juice box or two is enough but avoid giving them much liquid after 5 if you’re planning on night training at the same time.

Accidents will happen

Accept it and it will be less stressful. Your little one has been weeing freely in a nappy the whole of their life. So even if they’re showing all the signs they’re ready, it will still take some time for them to consciously realise “I need to wee” and then “I need to go to the potty”. Puppy pads are great for protecting carpet (and the car seat, for when the time comes). And a pack of Floosh flushable toilet wipes close by are handy for quick cleans up. A few potties both upstairs and downstairs will help so there’s always one near by.

Keep calm and carry on

After the first day and many wees on floor later, you may be tempted to stop, thinking they’re just not ready. But it’s really worth just giving it a bit more time to help it register in their little minds. Remember, it’s a big change for them and they need to practice but lots of stop/starts can be confusing. So give it a good a week and if they’re not progressing at all then perhaps hold off and try again in a few weeks.

Night time – to do or not to do

When it comes to deciding if to toilet train at night at the same time as during the day, it really is personal preference. Some prefer to get it all done at one go while others don’t want the added pressure. Some children may also not be biologically ready to go dry through the night. If you decide to try it, here’s our top tips;

  • A waterproof sheet is a must. You could also add a puppy pad over the top for quick changes
  • Don’t use underwear at night, they could confuse them for a nappy
  • Stop most liquids by 5pm and take them for a wee just before lights out
  • To begin with, you might need to wake them once or twice in the night to go for a wee. Keep lights low and a quiet voice so not to wake them. You’ll soon gauge whether waking them is necessary
  • Accidents will happen but if it’s most nights than they may not be ready. Pop some nappy pants on and don’t stress about it, focus on the day time.

Good luck! Do you have any tips and tricks that helped you? Share them with us in the comments below! Want to hear how other mums potty trained? Read our real mum stories here.

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  • Reply

    I’m potty training well my daughter is potty training herself to be honest, we have had the potty around so she is used to seeing it every so often would let her go without a nappy to see with no luck then one day last week she just started using it (tho only in the bathroom and refused to use the potty in any other room lol) she’s nearly there only one small accident yesterday and that was my fault as we were out for a walk and didn’t make it home in time (like I said potty in toilets only despite carrying one around with me lol). Otherwise she just disappears off to the toilet herself, does a pee, washes her hands then comes and tells us she did a pee and she’s a big girl (she’s 2 1/2)

    • Reply
      Rachel Porter

      This is great to hear! Well done little one.

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