When Potty training starts, lets be clear it is not for the faint-hearted. But it has to be done.
After all, you can’t leave your kid in diapers for life.
At the very least, it would ruin her future wedding day. Wedding dresses are not designed with adult diapers in mind.
So, for that reason alone, potty training needs to happen. Unfortunately, as the parent, you’re responsible for doing it.
When potty training starts
There is no such thing as the perfect age to start toilet training your child. The most common age for toilet training is around age two to two and a half years, though you can start earlier if you wish.
The important thing is not to rush the process. It takes time to master a new skill so go at your child’s pace. Try not to compare your child with others; all children are different and they master skills in their own time. It could take a couple of days, a few weeks, or even longer.
Is my toddler ready for potty training?
Experts tell you to wait until your child is ready, but how do you know when your toddler is ready for potty training?
Look out for the following signs that your child is developmentally ready to be potty trained:
- Your toddler knows when her nappy is wet or dirty
- She might tell you when she’s peeing
- The gap between pees is at least one hour
- You notice cues such as fidgeting or disappearing to a quiet place when they need to pee or poop
- Your toddler tells you before she pees.
Potty training will be most straightforward when toddlers can sit down and get up from the potty by themselves. However, many parents use potties with young babies quite happily. Other parents prefer to wait till their big kid can sit on the potty without help.
Top potty training tips
Here are some top tips to get your toilet training journey off to a good start:
Pick a good time for your family
Some families choose to potty train during the summer months when kids wear fewer clothes and washing dries faster. Warning: there will be lots of washing involved in potty training!
You should choose a time when no other significant changes are happening in your child’s life. For example, don’t try to potty train during a move to a new house or any other big life change, such as the arrival of a new sibling.
Go potty shopping
There are all kinds of potties on the market, from basic budget options to all-singing-all-dancing contraptions. You don’t need to spend a fortune. A basic potty will be adequate. Some parents let their young kids choose the potty, to get them involved in the process.
It’s also worth investing in a portable toilet seat for your child. These can be taken to restaurants and playdates so your toddler can sit on the toilet in the bathroom when they need to go. You can use it in your bathroom at home, too, to give your toddler a choice of where they do their business. Some toddlers might prefer to use the toilet, whereas others like the convenience of the potty.
Decide on training pants
Not everybody uses training pants, but they could help your child figure out when she is wet. You can choose from disposable training pants or washable ones. Or, if you prefer, you can switch straight to underwear when you feel your child is ready. For example, your child might like to pick out some ‘big kid’ underwear for when she’s ready to sit on the potty.
Take things slowly
Don’t try to rush your child’s toileting habits. It takes time to potty train, and you’ll probably encounter potty training problems along the way (potty training regression, anyone?). Don’t worry; potty training is a process and it will take time.
Stay calm, stay positive and go at your toddler’s pace. Accidents happen; it’s no big deal. Avoid saying negative things or overreacting to an accident. Instead, offer praise when your child is using the toilet successfully. Praise effort, not just achievement; even if she didn’t make it in time, it’s great she’s trying! Positive reinforcement is always the better option.
To find out more about how to potty train your toddler, look at Potty Training – 5 Steps For Potty Training Success.
The article is packed full of helpful advice to help your child to use the potty. Now, on to the funny side of toilet training.
10 Things That Happen When You’re Potty Training
You should expect to get poo under your fingernails, spill the contents of a full nappy on your sock, and spend a lot of time talking about bodily functions.
All kids are different. Some (everyone else’s) will take to potty training almost immediately. Heck, they’ll potty train themselves without you even noticing.
Others (meaning yours) will finally be dragged out of diapers, kicking and screaming, just in time to blow out the candles on their tenth birthday cake.
Did you know everybody else’s kids were way better at potty training than yours? Oh, you soon will – just wait for people to start telling you.
Here are ten things that happen when you’re potty training.
Warning: if you haven’t started potty training yet, this article might put you off. You still have to do it, though, so proceed with caution (and a sense of humour).
Potty Training Tips #1: You will get really excited about poop
Remember the overwhelming joy of that first postpartum poop? How excited you were to have got it out the way, and how pleased for you the midwives were? Yeah, well, this is like that, but better.
This time you get to experience the unbridled joy of celebrating a poop but without the public shame and humiliation of that poop being yours. Chatting about your child’s poops is much better than discussing your own toileting habits.
The day you see poop in the potty will be the best day of your life. Way better than your wedding day, and definitely better than the day you found poop on the rug.
Potty Training Tips #2: Your flirt game won’t be good
Nothing kills romance faster than potty training. When you’ve spent all day celebrating bodily functions, it can be hard to rein it in and resume more socially acceptable chatter in the evening.
Not many people want to sit down to dinner and hear all about how you got a poop stain out of the carpet or how many pees went in the potty.
Tip: now might not be a great time to throw a dinner party.
In fact, cancel all of your evening plans until potty training is done because nobody wants to hear about your kid’s bodily functions. Ok, maybe your partner does, but even then, probably not when he’s tucking into his casserole.
Potty Training Tips #3: You will catch a poop in your bare hands
Few parents get their kids potty trained without this trauma. This is pretty basic, but it’s important to remember it’s way better to clean poop off the floor than it is to clean it from your hands.
If the poop is in your hands, the smell will linger (at least in your mind). You’ll also have to eat with that hand, and all food will taste like poop (at least that’s what your brain will tell you).
Do not catch poop in your hands. It doesn’t matter how many times you read that; you’ll still do it. It’s some weird parenting instinct that forces you to catch it even though it’s gross and you don’t want to.
You’ll catch that hot little turd in your hand, and then you’ll heave and scream and want to die, all at the same time.
And then you will realise there are lots of closed doors on the way to the bathroom and you can’t open any of them because you have a serious case of poop-hand. Good luck with your life.
Potty Training Tips #4: Your kid will wet your bed
Yes, you read that right. Not her bed, your bed. Your bed. The one you sleep in. The one with all those lovely cushions and throws. It’s going to smell like pee. She won’t wet her bed but will instead save her giant wee for when she creeps into your bed at night.
Not on any old night, but the night you have just changed your bedding, so your bed is as luxurious as it can be. She’ll snuggle up to you and wrap her little leg around yours. ‘Lovely’, you’ll think, as you plant a kiss gently on her forehead.
Then you’ll feel your leg get warm. Warm and wet. And there’ll be no clean bedding. So instead, you’ll have to sleep on a towel in a room that smells strongly of urine. Happy potty training!
Even after your kid is diaper dry at night, a potty-training regression can cause her to wet the bed. Yep, the potty training process likes to keep you on your toes.
Potty Training Tips #5: You will worry your kid will be in nappies forever
Did you know you were out of nappies by 15 months? And your cousin’s kid has been out of nappies since he turned one? And your next-door neighbour’s baby politely declined the hospital-issue nappies straight after his birth and opted to use a potty instead?
Your kid, on the other hand, seems to be peeing all over the floor deliberately and saving the enormous logs for when she’s wearing knickers.
Late at night, when you’re alone, you secretly weep into your urine-soaked pillow because you’re so worried she is un-potty-trainable. You’ll have to get her wedding dress specially made to allow for her adult nappy, and how much will that cost?
Potty Training Tips #6: You will know where all the toilets are
When you’re out with a kid wearing knickers for the first time, you have to be on it when it comes to toilet locations.
Luckily, potty-training parents have a built-in radar that tells them exactly where the nearest toilet is.
As soon as you arrive somewhere new, you’ll work out where the toilets are and how quickly you’ll need to run towards them in the three seconds warning your kids give before they pee all over themselves.
Potty Training Tips #7: Your kid will ruin everything by trying to help
Your kid will do lots of things to help out during potty training and, without exception, it will just make life harder.
A toddler passing you a full potty is not helpful. Most of the wee ends up on the floor or on her.
A toddler trying to wipe her own bottom is not helpful. Even if she manages to get the paper in the right place, the poo will end up smeared across her butt cheeks, and there is very little chance of the dirty toilet paper ending up in the toilet.
Potty Training Tips #8: Your first trips out will be tense
There is nothing more terrifying than a small child wearing underwear out of the house for the first time. Even if you only pop to the corner shop, you will be scared of bowel movements the whole time.
If you travel further afield, the fear will be debilitating. You will spend the entire time saying, on a repetitive loop, “Do you need a wee? Do you need a poo? Shall we go to the toilet?”
While you’re out, you’ll probably spend most of the time in the toilet – even though your kid doesn’t need it – because the fear of an accident will be overwhelming.
Potty Training Tips #9: The sneaky poop
This happens to everyone. Someday soon, you’ll be out and about with your newly potty-trained child, and she will need to pee. Unfortunately, you’ll probably be outdoors, in a park or in the woods and there will be no toilets nearby.
You will, wisely, ask if it’s just a wee, and your child will bare-facedly lie to you and say “Yes, it is” before curling out the biggest turd you’ve ever seen. On the floor. By your foot. In nature. You will, of course, have no nappy bags or baby wipes and will have no idea of what to do with the poo. This is probably the worst of the potty problems.
Potty Training Tips #10: You will long for the days before potty training
Remember when you could just pick your kid up and head out the door? Remember when long car journeys were no problem, and you didn’t constantly have to track where the nearest toilet was? Ah, life was good then.
Now, life is a constant high-pressure search for a toilet, especially when you have somewhere to be or a bus to catch. You’ll be late all the time and will have to stop the car repeatedly for roadside wees. Using the potty is excellent, for sure, but so was wearing diapers.