Potty training is a huge milestone for both children and parents. Getting out of diapers and learning to use the toilet is an enormous accomplishment in early childhood. But, it can be very difficult for everyone involved. Children are suddenly expected to change the way they've been eliminating waste their whole life, and parents have to face the challenge of making it comfortable and natural to them. Here's how to get started potty training your child and some tips to make it easier.
How to Tell When Your Toddler is Ready to Lose the Nappies
There's a common belief that kids in cloth nappies are potty-trained sooner than those in disposables. However, no one really knows if this is true or not. Some parents believe that cloth nappies speed up potty training because they allow children to feel the wetness immediately, letting them make a connection with the act of peeing. The discomfort of being wet also makes them more willing to use a potty instead of going in their nappy.
Regardless if your child is in disposables or cloth nappies, there are some key signs to look for that will let you know they’re ready for potty training.
8 Signs Your Toddler is Ready for Potty Training:
- Your child has enough coordination to walk steadily.
- They have long periods of dryness of at least 2 hours.
- They wake from naps with a dry nappy.
- Your child gives you a physical or verbal sign that they have to go, are going, or have just gone in their nappy.
- They seem unusually uncomfortable in a wet or dirty nappy.
- Your toddler is showing interest in how other people go to the bathroom or use the toilet.
- They desire more independence such as wanting to do things on their own.
- They can follow simple instructions from you.
Children develop the necessary cognitive and physical skills for learning to use the potty between the ages of 18 and 24 months. But if you don’t think your kid is ready yet, don’t force it. They may just be a few weeks or months away from being ready. Many parents don’t start potty training until their child is 2 ½ to 3 years old. However, if your child seems ready early, by all means, give it a go!
Necessary Supplies for Potty Training
Before you get into the fun of potty training, be prepared by picking up all the supplies you’ll need. Here are our recommendations:
1. Potty Chair
Children will feel most comfortable starting out on a potty chair that sits on the ground rather than over the toilet. Place it somewhere convenient for your child where they spend a lot of time, such as in the playroom. Once your child gets used to it you can move it to the bathroom.
2. Toilet Seat Reducer
Once your toddler has mustered up the courage and wants to try the big kid toilet, you’ll need a potty seat. This will reduce the size of your toilet seat for your child. Many even come with a padded cushion for comfort.
3. Small Stool
Since your child will have to make it up to sit on the toilet at some point, they'll need a stool to help them. This will also help them feel more secure and stable up there.
4. Flushable Wipes and Toilet Paper
Of course, toilet paper is a given. But, you'll find that flushable wipes are more familiar to your child and help them clean up better. Just make sure they’re safe for your plumbing!
6. Cool Potty-Training Pants
Training pants with fun and interesting patterns will get toddlers excited about using the potty like a big kid. Training pants seem more like underwear than nappies, but they also contain any accidents that your child may have. Little Piglet has some adorable styles available, and even some super-absorbent training pants for night time.
7. Waterproof Mattress Protector
Accidents are to be expected and are often unavoidable during potty training, especially overnight. It's easy to wash sheets but not so easy to clean your mattress. We recommend picking up two waterproof mattress covers so you can quickly swap them out in the middle of the night.
Teaching Your Child to Use the Potty
Now for the hardest part, actually getting your child to use the potty. With some patience, consistency, and a little reinforcement, your child will be potty-trained in no time.
Practice Makes Perfect
Let your child get familiar with their potty by having them sit on it a couple of times per day and allow them to get up whenever they want. This will help them get comfortable with the potty and how it feels against their skin. Even if they don't go, have them wash their hands so they get in the habit of cleaning up every time they use the potty.
Model Desired Behavior
When your child poops in their nappy, dump it out into the potty and let them watch you. This will help them learn where poop should go. You can even let your child see you using the toilet, so they get an idea of what they’re supposed to do.
Make it Easy for Them
Avoid onesies and other pieces of clothing that are difficult to remove during potty training. Instead, put them in pants they can easily and quickly pull down. Skirts and dresses are best for girls as this makes it very simple for them to use the potty.
Give Them Lots of Positive Reinforcement
Don’t get angry or punish your kid when they have an accident. Instead, give them plenty of praise whenever they take a step in the right direction. Such as, when they let you know they have to use the potty or if they head to the bathroom on their own. Even if they don’t end up going at all, make sure you praise them for trying!
It’s a great idea to get your kid a new book, toy, or something to color on while they sit on the potty. This can encourage them to sit there longer and increase the chance that they will go. You can even make a reward chart so you can track your toddler's bathroom routine and reward them with treats or toys for continuous potty use.
The most important thing to remember is that different children are ready to be potty trained at different ages and it has nothing to do with how smart they are or how good of a parent you are. If your child needs to be in nappies for a few more months, don't worry! While you're waiting, check out Little Piglet for fun and useful environmentally-friendly baby supplies.