The potty training is one of the greatest challenges for a toddler. To be able to overcome this obstacle and become dry, your child needs to be physically and mentally prepared for this.
Weaning children off the nappy will generally make little sense before the 18th month. What is required is that the child shows an interest in the content of his or her nappy and the “loo”. The launch into the nappy-free age can be facilitated by a few tips:
Children will show by themselves when they are ready and consciously aware of the urge to pee or poo. Watch your child closely – there are often visible indications wherefrom parents can recognize a pending number one or two. Impatient potty training that is forced upon the child by the parents makes no sense. Every child will be dry and clean at some point.
The right equipment!
We recommend setting out a potty for a start. With its fun visuals and child-oriented colours, an acquisition like this will attract a lot of interest from the little ones. A potty is quickly set out and children will learn to sit down on it independently early.
The golden potty training rule for parents:
Attention and perseverance, but without making a big deal of it.
As the parents, you should think about the skills required by your offspring to go clean: potty training calls for individual abilities to be applied in a specific sequence. Toddlers need to be able to read the signals of their body, to take their clothes off, have their bowel and bladder under control, and then wash their hands. You can count on plenty more dirty laundry as accidents are bound to happen, naturally. This calls for patience and pragmatism.
1. Getting to know the potty:
• Get a potty to start with. Many children feel much safer on a potty that is placed on the floor than sitting high up on the toilet. It isn’t as fearsomely high and makes them feel safe because they can plant their feet firmly on the floor.
• Give your child time to explore the potty and get used to it. To awaken interest in the potty, it often helps to get a model with attractive colours and a child-friendly decor. Tell them that it is something really special that only belongs to them and nobody else.
• Place the potty where your children spends most their time. This need not necessarily be the bathroom; a corner of the playroom will do just as well. Of key importance in the beginning is easy Access.
2. From “getting to know” to “learning to use”
• Your child can practice sitting on the potty once or twice a day without taking their clothes off. They can stay on the potty for as long as they like. The aim is for them to get used to it.
• As soon as your child feels happy to sit on the potty with their clothes on, let them give it another go without. This will familiarize them with the concept of “taking your clothes off” before going to the toilet. And they will also get used to the feel of the seat against their skin.
• Dress your child in clothes that are easy to take off, e.g., trousers without buttons that can just be pulled down, skirts and/or dresses. Underwear is required now, the age of the romper is definitely over. Alternatively, you can also start by letting your child run around the house naked for a few days. Also ideal is little clothing on warm summer days, outside in the garden. Motivate your child to sit on the potty now and then to help them learn to pay attention to their own body’s signals.
• Show your child how you sit down on the toilet. Let them sit on the potty at the same time, if it’s in the bathroom.
• Watch out for signs showing if your child needs to do a “number one” or “number two”. Some children communicate this with a host of different words. Others make grimaces or noises or adopt a specific posture. If you notice these signs, ask if your child wants to go to the toilet (or potty).
3. Positive reinforcement with praise, confidence and sensitivity
• Potty training works best with a lot of praise and acknowledgement for your child. Pressure, anger, negative statements or gestures from the parents will only unsettle children in their new, nappy-free situation. Kids depend on their parents’ empathy, optimism and assurance.
• Once peeing in the potty has been accomplished, you can put solid stool from the nappy into the potty a few days later. Explain to the child that poo and pee belong in the potty or toilet. (Children of this age think that specific things belong in specific places.)
• Let your child practice handwashing with soap and water every time after leaving the potty, even if nothing happened there.
• Also tell all the other caregivers, e.g. babysitters or grandparents, about the potty training of your child and how you are proceeding. This way your child will be able to get the same support from them, too.
• Please remember that some toddlers can be scared of the toilet and flush. If this is the case with your child, don’t force them to flush – simply do it yourself after they’ve left the room. This fear will normally subside after a few months.
4. Introduction of the night training
• Even if your child is consistently using the potty or toilet during the day, it can still take several months or years to stay dry at night. You will hence still need a lot of patience.
• Keep on using nappies as required or buy disposable diapers for the night. Your offspring may still be too young for waking up regularly to go to the toilet.
• Make your child understand that they can always call you when they wake up at night, to go to the toilet with them. If your child wants to use the potty at night, you can also place it next to the cot.
• Once your child sleeps without nappies, at the latest, the procurement of mattress protectors is in order.
Potty or children’s toilet seat?
Whether you use a potty or toilet seat depends on the child, naturally.
Many children actually really come to love their potty, their little throne, seeing it as a private refuge that is all their own. Plus the fact that they have ground contact here and are not suspended above a large, creepy hole.
The toilet seat is a good imitation of the adult one, however, and may particularly motivate the child. Most parents will find a child-friendly toilet seat more hygienic and practical. The wiping is also easier on the toilet than the potty. If you and your child opt for a toilet seat, it is important that they can stabilize themselves with their feet. This calls for a slip-proof step stool.
Advantages of the potty:
• On the potty, children sit safely and will find it easy to stabilize themselves. Their feet are on the ground, in contrast to the grownup toilet. Many children don’t like having their legs dangle in the air.
• Children learn first of all how their bladder and attendant muscles work. Especially in the beginning, the potty can be an advantage because it can be placed anywhere and the way there will not be too far. Meaning that the child can sit down on it immediately if it is in the same room.
Advantages of the children’s toilet seat:
• Children who have always used a children’s toilet seat right from the start, or tried it out now and then, will often have an easier time with grownup toilets when they are out and about.
• If the child sits on a toilet seat, everything goes in the toilet directly. A potty needs to be regularly emptied and cleaned
• A children’s toilet seat will make it easier for your child to get used to the grownup toilet. This transition usually follows later without problems.
• On the large toilet, you can better help your child to wipe, and the toilet paper is always within easy reach.
Ideal is a combination of the two: the child uses a potty to start with, and the toilet seat training can commence as soon as they feel confident with that.
Keep on growing!