Potty training: When, how and healthy techniques
How to potty train your toddler in the most healthy, happy way!
Potty training is a huge milestone for both children and parents! Some parents may get anxious and emotional when it comes time to start potty training because their baby is growing up, and perhaps they may feel slightly nervous that their child may not be quite yet ready. Most first time parents don't know where to even begin, and may find themselves taking advice from other parents (which can sometimes do more damage than good).
So you feel that your child is ready to start potty training? Before we jump in to this new life skill, you need to be certain that your child is ready. The secret to successful potty training lies on the foundations of correct timing (for your child, NOT for you!) and appropriate techniques (which may be different for each individual child). While some children show signs of being ready for potty training between 18 and 24 months, others may take a while longer. This is okay, there's no rush! A word to parents - please don't compare your child's development to other kids. Each child develops at their own unique rate.
Waiting until your child is ready for potty training will make the transition much more pleasant, easier and faster! If you start too early, it may take much longer to potty train, and can cause power struggles and even stress/anxiety for the child. Remember - your child's body is his/her own, and they need to learn how to be in charge of their own body, at their own pace. Potty training does NOT equate to intelligence!
Signs that your child may be ready to start potty training
- They can walk and sit on a toilet/potty
- They are able to pull down their pants and pull them back up
- They can follow basic instructions
- They are able to sense the urge to 'go', and be able to communicate this to you
- The child is showing an interest in using the potty or toilet
- They want to start wearing 'big boy/girl underwear'
- They're able to stay dry for up to 2 hours
Healthy potty training techniques
- Choose your keywords - Decide which words you're going to use for your child's body parts and bodily fluids. Make sure there is clear understanding between child and parents. Avoid negative words such as gross or stinky.
- Have the equipment - Place a potty in the bathroom or a baby toilet seat on the toilet. Encourage your child to get used to the equipment and ensure that the equipment is the right size for them. Emphasize the fact that the potty or toilet seat is their own special potty training equipment!
- Communicate with other caregivers - Potty training will need to be a consistent process. If you have childminders, make sure they are kept up to speed with the potty training.
- Dress your child in easily removable clothing - Avoid using clothing with elaborate zips, buttons etc. This will make it difficult for the child to become accustomed to removing their own clothing and putting it back on afterwards.
- Schedule regular potty breaks - Have your child sit on the potty chair or toilet without a diaper the first thing in the morning, immediately after naps, and every 20 minutes, even if they don't need to go. Stay with your child each time they are on the potty, and make it fun! You can read them a book, let them play with a toy, or even sing a song together.
- Don't force your child - If your child does not want to stay seated on the potty, allow them to get up. Remember, by forcing your child to sit on the potty, they may start to negatively associate their potty breaks with a power struggle and resistance. Even if your child just sits there and doesn't 'go', praise them for trying, and try again in another 20 minutes or so.
- Watch for signals - Kids will usually display signs that they need to use the toilet, such as holding their genital area, squirming, or bouncing up and down. When you notice these signs, help your child stop what they are doing and take them to the toilet immediately.
- Encourage hygiene - Teach girls to wipe carefully from front to back. Both boys and girls should be taught to wash their hands afterwards.
- Introduce 'big girl/boy underwear' - After a few weeks of positive potty training, get them some panties or underpants. Kids love undies with colourful designs or pictures on them, and this may encourage them to be open to wearing them. Keep the diapers off during the day, and for the first little while, only put on diapers for naps and during night time (nighttime training typically takes longer). Expect 'accidents' - this is normal, do not punish them or make them feel bad. They will soon learn that accidents lead to soggy, uncomfortable clothing, which will further motivate them to use the potty!
If your child resists potty training and doesn't seem to enjoy the transition, they may not be ready. Don't force it. Take a break and try again in a few week's time!
How to respond to accidents
Accidents are inevitable. Avoid shouting, getting irritated or punishing them. There are healthier approaches you can take if your child has an accident. Be patient and stay calm. Instead of scolding them, use encouraging words like, "It's okay, we all make mistakes. I know you will get to the potty in time next time!".
Always keep a change of clothes ready, especially if you are going out, or if they are in daycare. At the beginning of the potty training process, you may want to keep at least 3 extra changes of clothing handy, just in case!
Sometimes, children who are fully potty trained can lose their skills in certain situations. Children who are going through significant life changes or stressful situations may lose all progress and revert back to having 'accidents'. Situations such as moving home, starting a new school, becoming a big brother/sister, illness, COVID-19 lockdown etc. can have a negative impact on their potty training. If you notice they have an increase in accidents during these types of situations, be gentle on them. You may want to buy a pack of diapers for during this time, and resume potty training once things have calmed down.
How can DryNight help?
DryNight is a 100% homeopathic natural remedy for children who wet the bed. It is presented in tiny mild tasting homeopathic pilules that are sucked in the mouth.
If there are no underlying medical causes, regular use of DryNight can calm the anxious child and help to strengthen immature bladders. Say goodbye to smelly mattresses and wet sheets in the morning and help your child to be more confident!
Feelgood Tip: If bed wetting is linked to trauma, depression or anxiety (often seen if there are family problems), the child may also benefit from Feelgood Health's MindSoothe Jr or K-OK KiddieCalmer.
If you have any question, please contact us or leave a comment below for FREE health advice. We always love hearing from you!