Although it is advantageous to wait to start potty training when your child is showing signs of readiness, it is never too early to begin preparing them. Good preparation, can promote an easier potty training experience. Here are some tips which may help:
1. Purchase a potty: Purchase a potty and keep it in the bathroom. If you like you can offer stickers for your child to decorate it (just not in the bowl itself as they will get ruined). Invite your child to sit on it if they wish. Even wearing clothes is fine. At this point, all we are aiming to do, is make the potty a familiar item to your child.
2. Normalise wee and poo: It can be easy to only talk about poo in a negative way. This can lead some children to believe that it is not a natural occurrence experienced by all. When you are going to the bathroom verbally share the process with your child. For example say ‘mummy can feel a poo in her tummy, she is going to the toilet now.’ Then on your return say ‘mummy did a poo and is feeling better.’ If your child does a poo, try to refrain from using negative terms to describe it. Instead speak matter of factly, saying ‘you have done a big poo today’ to normalise such and help them to recognise when they have been.
3. Include stories and animations which demonstrate the potty process: Many children are visual learners. Include books and stories involving potty training, helping them to understand the process. Alternatively there are some great animations which demonstrate the process using fun characters.
4. Role model: Many parents experience little visitors when they use the bathroom. If you are comfortable with this, talk them through the process. ‘Mummy is sitting on the toilet to do her wee,’ ‘Mummy is using toilet roll to clean herself after her wee,’ ‘Mummy is flushing the chain,’ ‘Mummy is washing her hands.’ You can include your child in flushing the chain to help familiarise them with this.
5. Involve their toys: It can be advantageous to use toys to demonstrate the potty training process. Dolls which drink water and then mock urinate can be great examples. You can know purchase some which come with little potties. Remember to include all the steps of potty training for the doll – including washing their hands.
6. Avoid constipation: It is important that your child is neither constipated or experiencing a UTI prior to commencing the potty training process. This can impact their health, and make the potty process uncomfortable which can lead to resistance. In order to help prevent this encourage daily exercise, a high fibre diet and lots of water. If you are concerned your child may be experiencing a UTI or contact your GP.
7. Buy underwear: Involve your child in the purchasing their own underwear. Many are attracted to familiar cartoon characters. Leave them out in a place which your child can see, helping them to become familiar with them before the process begins.
8. Acquire the essentials: Some items which can make the potty process easier include waterproof sheets, night nappies, car seat protector and the Potette –making potty training on the go much easier.
Potty Training Consultant