Our free academy has now helped nearly 5,000 families with potty training, and we have had lots of conversations with parents when things have become challenging. The interesting thing is that we can normally fit 95% of questions into 5 categories, and as a result we have compiled this list of 5 golden rules of potty training.
1. Choose the right time to start
Start looking for signs when your child is around the age of 2, and even if your child isn’t ready then, it’s a good idea to start talking about potty training and to explain what will be expected and the positives of being a grown up potty trained boy or girl.
If your child isn’t ready until they are three or above, then you are best to wait until then; don’t feel pressured to start, but do keep looking for signs of readiness and be prepared to go for it when they are ready. It’s also worth bearing in mind that modern disposable nappies can make it harder to spot the signs of readiness as they are so dry and comfortable to wear. We have a list of signs of readiness here.
2. Put in place a good routine
Even if your child is not physically ready, you can start putting in place a good routine to get a head start for when they are ready. See our blogs on how to put in place a good routine. https://www.howtopottytrain.com/uncategorised/how-to-establish-a-good-routine/
3. Don’t go commando
I have no idea of the science behind this, but we have had so many parents contact us and say they started potty training with nothing on their child’s bottom half, and they did really well at getting to the potty or toilet in time and avoided all accidents. However, when pants and clothes went back on, accidents started again. We therefore recommend that you do it in one stage, and start with wearing underwear and clothes.
4. When the nappy comes off, keep it off in the day
We believe that potty training should be child led, in that you start when the child is ready and able, but the only way the process is going to start is if the parent or carer takes the decision to take the nappy off and actively start training. We have spoken to parents who think their child is ready but decide to wait until a good time. This can push potty training back by months and it has been proven that if miss the window of opportunity, potty training can take longer. Obviously there needs to be some balance here, as you wouldn’t want to start training when the child is ill or when there is major change in their life.
We don’t recommend potty training in a pull up style disposable training nappy, and have yet to find a Health professional who disagrees with this approach! Children see pull up style training pants as a nappy which makes it difficult for them to change their habit. Also, children need to be able to feel wet to start the understanding of when an accident has occurred and modern nappies make it difficult for them to feel wet. If you need some protection from accidents, try putting a Dry Like Me pad in their grown up pants rather than switching back to nappies.
5. Start with daytime only
Night time training is different to daytime training and is more dependent on the physical readiness of the child. If they are not physically ready, they will not be able to learn to stay dry overnight. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend starting night time training approx. 6 months after daytime training or when you start to see a pattern of dry nappies in the morning. We have a free mini training course on night time training, that you can sign up to here.