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.

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Con­tents -

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…


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.

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