Should I use the toilet or potty when I start training?

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The ultimate aim of potty training is to get your child toilet trained (the clue isn’t always in the name!). If it’s possible to get there in one step, that’s great, it makes sense to go for it; to teach the ultimate behaviour and habits in one go rather than teaching to use the potty then teaching to use the toilet. 

A downside of using potties is the need to clean them which isn’t particularly pleasant for parents and we know lots of enthusiastic toddlers like to help with this which means it can get very messy! Potties are also often cleaned using wipes, so going straight to the toilet is more environmentally friendly – every little helps!

Before disregarding the role of the potty, there are times when using a potty is better.

No downstairs toilet

If you don’t have a downstairs bathroom it can be much easier to have a potty nearby. We would recommend you set up a mini potty training station in a set area to get your child used to the idea of going to the potty rather than it appearing wherever they are whenever they need. This helps them become more independent in their toileting and is closer to the ultimate behaviour required. 

Night time training

Having a potty station set up in the bedroom can help with night time training. Children may feel more comfortable in their own bedroom rather than having to go along hallways, and it’s a shorter route so in the early days can prevent some accidents. Having a night light on in the bedroom is a good idea. 

Sensory issues

Some children can find the toilet quite overwhelming. Some don’t like the drop and others hate the noise of the flush and in these cases it can be beneficial to teach potty training before introducing toilet training. When you do start using the toilet ensure the child feels safe and secure when sitting; use a step stool and adapter seat. It can also help to explain to them how the toilet works and let them practise sitting and flushing before doing it for real. 

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