How to tackle toddler toilet training
Learning to use the potty is a big milestone in your child’s life. These fun games help your little one to gradually get used to the idea of going to the toilet before you’ve even removed his nappy.
Simple ways to prepare your child
T o switch successfully from nappies to underpants, your child needs to learn a heap of skills, from recognising the early signs that he needs a wee so he can make it to the potty on time, to being able to pull his pants down and sit still for more than a few seconds.
It’s a lot for a toddler to grasp all in one go, which means accidents are likely. And while today’s super-dry nappies make our lives easier, their excellent absorbency means that children can sometimes be completely unaware of what’s actually happening when they wee. The same goes for number twos – during a nappy change, we mums whip away the poo so efficiently, it can come as a real surprise to some children to see what comes out of their bodies. Lots of children find this so scary that they’ll refuse to poo without the safety of their nappies on.
But you can help your child learn 90 per cent of the skills he needs to stay dry while he’s still got his nappy on. He can master them one at a time, so there’s no need to multi-task, and no reason for him (or you!) to get stressed or upset. And when you feel he’s ready to start potty-training for real, all you’ll have left to do is swap his nappy for a pair of big-boy pants.
By teaching him these skills through games, you also make the process enjoyable – and that’s important. The biggest hiccup parents encounter is when toilet training turns into a battle of wills.
You know how stubborn your child can be, and if he decides he doesn’t want to use the potty, it’s going to take a huge effort on your part to change his mind. If you build positive associations with the potty before you even start, by having lots of fun and giving him loads of your attention, your toddler will start the potty-training process wanting to take his nappy off. And then his stubborn streak will really help the process: nothing speeds potty-training more than a child who wants to master it!
So, get ready to play – it’s the ultimate in positive, no-pressure potty-training…
CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY
If you want your child to feel comfortable about using the toilet, then you need to be comfortable too. You’re going to have to talk to him about wee and poo, so if you find it all a bit gross, take a deep breath and steel yourself. You’ll also need to talk about his genitals, so have a think about what words you’re comfortable using. Some mums prefer to go with ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ from the get-go, while others think ‘willy’ and ‘woo-woo’ are more toddler-friendly options. If you’d prefer to be less explicit, bear in mind that your child is likely to adopt the same terms you do, and will be using them at daycare or preschool and, one day, school, so make sure their meaning is easily understood.
The biggest hiccup parents encounter is when toilet training turns into a battle of wills.