Q My three-year-old has been run­ning around in the gar­den naked this sum­mer – is now a good time to potty train?

Mother & Baby (UK) - - HERE TO HELP -

Am­ber Butcher, Hert­ford­shire

Sum­mer is a great time to potty train for sev­eral rea­sons. Firstly, you can con­tain most of the potty train­ing to your gar­den, which greatly re­duces the need for clean­ing up ac­ci­dents in­doors, as well as the need to cover up car­pets, rugs and so­fas. An­other im­por­tant ben­e­fit is that the warmer weather al­lows your child to be com­pletely naked without get­ting cold.

My rec­om­men­da­tion for potty train­ing, what­ever the time of year, is that chil­dren should be ‘bare bot­tomed’ for the first two to three days of potty train­ing. The chances are, your daugh­ter won’t give you much no­tice when she needs to go to the toi­let, and the time needed to re­move cloth­ing can of­ten re­sult in ac­ci­dents, which can dent her con­fi­dence. In­tro­duce easy-to-re­move un­der­wear by day three or four, then add other items of cloth­ing as the week of potty train­ing goes on.

An­other thing to con­sider in sum­mer is de­hy­dra­tion, which can im­pact not only how of­ten she needs to wee, but is also a con­trib­u­tory fac­tor in con­sti­pa­tion, so do en­sure that your child drinks enough. Homemade ice lol­lies are help­ful for reluc­tant drinkers.

It would be ideal if you could de­vote five days to stay­ing at home in the gar­den, to get off to the best start. This means that your child should be fairly dry by the time you ven­ture out and about, and sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces the chances of get­ting caught short in public. And it’s much eas­ier to stay home for five days in the sum­mer without bore­dom strik­ing than it is in the win­ter!

De­spite all of this, how­ever, there is only one time when any par­ent should potty train – the right time for their child. Most chil­dren potty train be­tween two and three years of age. Other signs that sig­nal readi­ness in­clude your child be­ing able to tell you that she needs to go to the toi­let be­fore she goes (not dur­ing, or af­ter), ask­ing you to change her nappy, and hid­ing to go to the toi­let, par­tic­u­larly for a poo. If these co­in­cide with sum­mer, you’re ready to go. If not, stay pa­tient for just a lit­tle longer.


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