While lockdown is keeping thousands of parents and their children inside for the next few weeks, it may be the perfect time to start potty training.
If you've got a little one who isn't toilet trained yet, here's everything you need to know about getting your toddler on the potty.
Is now the right time to start potty training?
Before starting, you should consider whether yourself and any other caregivers are in the right frame of mind mentally to begin potty training, which can often be a stressful process.
Stress rubs off on children easily, and if you feel like accidents might push you over the edge on top of any current anxieties, then it might not be the best time to start. However, if you feel ready to put in the work and have lots of free time ahead of you, the lockdown could be a great time to give it a try.
What age should I start potty training my child at?
Most children aren't usually ready to begin potty training until they're around 18 months old. Many parents start training when children are between two and three years old.
However, you should begin training when your child shows signs of readiness, rather than forcing it before this time.
How do I know if my child is ready?
The NHS says there are some tell-tale signs you can use to see if your child is ready to begin potty training. These are:
- They know when they've got a wet or dirty nappy- They get to know when they're urinating and may tell you they're doing it- The gap between wetting is at least an hour (if it's less, potty training may fail, and at the very least will be extremely hard work for you)- They show they need to urinate by fidgeting or going somewhere quiet or hidden- They know when they need to urinate and may say so in advance
Some tips for starting potty training
- Let your child watch you or other family members go to the toilet (if they're comfortable with this) and explain what's happening
- When you change a nappy, try putting the dirty one in the potty to help your child understand what the potty is for
- Try letting your child sit on the potty or a small toilet seat so they can become familiar with it
- Try to recognise signs that your child might need the toilet, such as passing wind, going quiet, or moving to a different room
- Teach your child words for going to the toilet and encourage them to use them
- Try occasionally putting trainer pants on your child so they can understand the feeling of wetness
- If your child doesn't go after three to five minutes of sitting on the toilet or potty, take them off to avoid them feeling as though they're being punished
- Make sure to praise your child, even if the progress is slow. Praise is especially important for any successes - however small. Gradually reduce the amount of praise you give as your child learns each part of the process