When is the right time to potty train?

Potty training is a major milestone in a child’s development and the secret to success is often timing and patience. It is not about age and actually hinges on physical, developmental, and behavioural milestones. These can often range between 18 and 24 months however, some children might not be ready until around age 3. Every child is different and moves at a different pace. Patience is vital and will help your child to get it right and feel positive about learning the new skill.

Key questions to ask yourself are:

  • Can your child walk to and sit on a toilet or potty?
  • Can your child follow basic instructions?
  • Can your child pull down his or her pants and pull them up again?
  • Can your child communicate when he or she needs to go?
  • Does your child show they need the toilet by fidgeting or going somewhere quiet or hidden?
  • Does your child seem interested in using the toilet or wearing "big-kid" underwear?

If you answered yes to the majority of the above questions it oud ne time to start training. Often training during the summer months can feel easier. There are less clothes to remove, and it is warmer to dry clothes when/if accidents occur. It is also best to start when there are disruptions or changes to a routine, having consistency is key to learning.

Preparing to start potty training

If it is time to start training here is some basic advice on where to start.

  • Keep it fun and use positive language like, “pee pee” and “poop” rather than negative connotations like “stinky” and “dirty”
  • Talk about your child’s cloth nappy to them as you change them. This will help develop their knowledge and understanding of wee and poo.
  • If there is a designated place you change your child’s reusable nappy, they will learn that's the place where you go to the toilet.
  • Asking your child to help you flush the toilet and wash their hands.
  • Leave a potty where your child can see it and explain what it's for.

Steps to Potty Training

Once your child is familiar with their potty, here are some simple steps to take to start potty training:

  1. Encourage your child to sit on the potty to help them get used to it. Even if your child simply sits there, offer praise for trying.
  2. Once completed dressed and without being prompted, try with their cloth nappy off.
  3. Don't make your child sit on the potty if they don’t want to.
  4. Offer praise and rewards.
  5. Introduce hygiene habits. Help your child wipe and to wash their hands every time they get off the potty, even if they didn’t pass anything.

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