I’ve potty trained two children and am on the cusp of doing it for the third and final time with Daniel. I’m not an expert by any means, but I have picked up a few things on the way.
Is your child ready for potty training?
Firstly, you can’t lead a horse to water and expect it to drink. Same goes for children and the toilet. Very early on they’ll show an interest in the toilet because it’s something that you’re doing, and that makes it interesting. It doesn’t mean they want to sit on it. If they do, they won’t immediately wee on it. Pottys and special toilet seats for them help, especially if they are on the small side. Here are some signs that they may be ready to start.
- Asking to be changed
- Being dry after a nap
- Dry nappy after 2 hours.
- Dry nappy in the morning
- Asking to use the potty/toilet
- Regular bowel movements
- Can they pull their pants up and down?
- Do they tell you when they’re weeing/pooing
- Do they want to wear underwear?
Of course, you could just wait until they’re old enough to ask to do it. I did this with my eldest, because up until then, he showed no interest whatsoever. I panicked, especially when other children had all done it before him. He was almost 3, and he just turned round one day and said, ‘I go toilet now.’ and pretty much that was that. He struggled, or rather we did, for poos, he used to just go in his pants or wherever – particularly in the garden! He got it eventually, they all do. You don’t see many in nappies at the school gate, although there will be many 5 year olds who still wear nappies or pull ups at night. Every child is different. Girls tend to do it earlier than boys, but there are no hard and fast rules. The average age is 3.
Leaving the house and potty training
When you’re out and about, it’s quite nerve racking at first. I’d say stay home or close to home for the first few days, and if you still feel like you can’t leave, it’s too early – either that or take a few changes of clothes with you and extra pants! Another tip is to have some sort of travel potty. With boys it’s slightly easier because they can go easier outside, but a lot of boys learn the sit down method first anyway. You can either bring the potty from home or the toilet seat, but they are obviously quite bulky to carry around. The other option is a travel potty. Again, they can be bulky, even the fold up ones, then you’re left with a bag of poo or wee to dispose of. I’ve been road testing the latest innovation in potty training called Tron, by Hippychick, which is a very small expandable, collapsible and disposable potty for when you’re out.
At first I thought – cardboard? and what do you do with the wee/poo afterwards? So I made sure I gave it a thorough test out, and got Phoebe to sit on it. If you’ve opened it out and folded over the rim correctly, it’s very sturdy. I tested it with liquid, if they do a poo and you really can’t tip it out in the nearest toilet, then it will all fold back down again until you get to a bin. The pad inside (which is biodegradeable) absorbs it all and then it doesn’t spill. It can support children up to 30kg, approximately 6 years old. Still not sure? I made a vlog about it where I give a little demo:
The Tron potties are made by Hippychick and are available as a single unit for £2.99 or a pack of 12 for £35.88 with free delivery. You can get them in recycled cardboard like my one, or white cardboard.
Other potty training equipment you might need
I’ve mentioned a potty, travel potty and a toilet seat, is there anything else you might need for toilet training? Reward charts are a good idea, kids love stickers, and you can give them a treat for five days dry. You can try transitioning to pants by going to pull ups, then there are pads that go in pants, or pants with built in liners in them, then to pants. Picture books with potty training themes are popular. William had ‘Boys Potty Time’, which he chose, mainly because the front cover was a patterned toilet seat that you lift up and he loved that. He would point at all the words and asked for it over and over, until I got so sick of it! It was his favourite long before he toilet trained. He also used to ask to go to the toilet when we were out a lot when he was still in nappies, and not do anything which was so frustrating. The health visitor told us he was practicing, and getting things clear in his head. I just thought he was being annoying and liked to check out the sinks and toilets in every cafe we went to. Phoebe’s favourite was ‘I want my Potty,’ which featured the little princess. I wonder what Daniel’s favourite will be?
Potty training tips
You’ve got your equipment, you’ve decided they’re ready, so you need a plan. Here are my quick start tips to toilet training.
- Before you start, give them the potty or toilet at every nappy change
- Talk about wee-wee and poo in your own choice of words so they know the meaning
- Once you start, don’t go back
- Use a reward chart to encourage them
- You’re going to have extra washing – get used to it!
- Take a change of clothes or 3 out with you
- Let them see you on the toilet and encourage them to go at the same time
- Keep a potty in the toilet and one in the living area
- Offer every 1-2 hours
- Tackle wees first
- Use no clothing on the bottom or clothes that are easily taken off
- Get them to sit on the toilet or potty whilst you read or sing together until they wee or poo – then offer praise and encouragement
- Use a special song or book or game when they go on the potty, they’ll soon look forward to it
- With boys teach them to sit down first
- Get them dry during the day first, nights come later
- Relax – they will all do it eventually. If it’s too stressful for you or the child, it’s too early.
Have you heard about the 3 day potty training method? It can be done, but they have to be ready, and you have to commit yourself to spending 3 days at home with a toddler and spending lots of time focusing on it. It works, according to Parentinn, and many others who swear by it. If you want to crack it in a long weekend, check this method out.
I hope that’s helped you and got you thinking about potty training. It’s certainly helped me to go through it all again in preparation for this time. Have you got anything you would add to this post? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
Disclosure: we were gifted the tron potty and I have been compensated for my time in creating this post for Hippychick. All opinions and tips are my own.