Potty Training your Toddler: A step by step guide
Potty training is one of the biggest achievements your little one will accomplish in their first few years. From learning how to undress and getting used to new clothes, to interpreting their body signals and having bladder and bowel control - your toddler will be mastering a variety of new skills during their potty training adventure.
If this is your first time potty training, it can be difficult to know where to start, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our step by step guide to help you through it, and become a potty training expert right from day one.
WHEN TO START POTTY TRAINING
The average age for parents to start thinking about potty training is when their child is between 2 and 2 and a half. There’s no specific age that a toddler will be ready to take on the toilet, so don’t worry if your little one isn’t ready when you thought they would be. Our best advice would be to start potty training when there are no planned changes to your child’s or family’s daily routine - consistency is key with potty training, so you’ll want to pick a time when you can build their habits daily.
There are a number of signs you can look out for to tell if your toddler is toilet-ready:
- They know they’re weeing and may tell you they’re doing it
- Your toddler knows when they have a wet or dirty nappy and again may often tell you
- The gap between when they last used their nappy is at least an hour - any more frequent than this and potty training may need to wait a little while longer
- They start fidgeting or move to a quiet space before they use their nappy - this shows signs of them interpreting their body’s natural signals
They also need to be at an age where they can physically sit on a potty or toilet, and be able to communicate with you well. This is so you can tell them what to do, and that they can let you know when they need to go potty.
STEP 1: PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR THE POTTY
Before you begin introducing potty time it’s a good idea to start talking to your child when changing their nappies, helping them to understand wees and poos and what a dirty nappy actually means. Making them wash their hands post nappy changes will also help in building good habits before you even start.
Now of course, you’ll need to invest in a training potty or seat for your toddler. If you have a home with two floors, it may be a good idea for you to opt for floor potties, just so your little one has easy access throughout the day. Having a spare travel potty is also great, as it helps to continue with consistency when on the go.
Once your chosen potty is in place, start explaining to your little one what it’s for and let them adjust to it being in their environment. Toddlers learn by watching and copying, so if you have any older children, it may benefit your toddler by seeing them use the toilet. A Metanium top tip would be to start dressing your child in clothes that are easily taken off during the day - although adorable, things like dungarees may not be practical whilst trying to potty train.
STEP 2: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
In all areas of life, practice makes perfect. Our best advice would be to start encouraging your child to sit on the potty at times they would normally be using their nappies, for example after meals; as digesting food often leads to toddlers having an urge to poo. If you know your child regularly uses their nappy at the same time each day, leave their nappy off at this time and suggest that they go to the potty instead. If they seem a little upset by the idea of this, it may be worth letting them keep their nappy on and trying again in a few weeks or days - it’s important not to rush your toddler, and let them come around to the idea by themselves.
As using a potty for the first time can be a little daunting, a great technique is to select a couple of books that can only be read when they’re sitting on the potty - this will encourage them to sit for long periods of time. You could also sing some potty training songs, or give your toddler a toy they can potty train with too, so it feels more fun and engaging.
Disposable or washable pull ups can also be handy when starting to potty train, helping to give children some confidence when swapping nappies for ‘grown up’ pants. As they don’t soak up wee as well as nappies, it will help your little one overcome any struggles of letting you know when they’ve used their nappy.
STEP 3: ENCOURAGEMENT IS KEY
You may need to be extra alert in the first few weeks of potty training - as soon as you spot your child may need the toilet, encourage them to use their potty instead. Celebrating and praising any wins will encourage your little one to repeat the action, and overall help them feel more excited and proud of themselves. You could even implement sticker chart to encourage your toddler to use the potty again and again
If little accidents do happen, try not to make a fuss. If your child slips up, simply mop away the mess and try again the next time - not making a fuss helps prevent your child from feeling anxious or worried, and makes it more likely for them to try again and succeed the next time.
STEP 4: PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
Our Metanium parents can vouch it’s completely normal to feel some frustration during the potty training process. To help relieve some of this frustration, try talking to your friends, partner, or family members who we’re sure will be more than willing to listen. This way, when it comes to potty training you’ll be able to remain calm, reassuring and positive.
You may find that even when you think you’ve mastered it, some accidents still occur, and that’s okay too. Every child moves at a different pace and it’s all about encouraging your toddler, and helping to develop their learning process. Potty training is an adventure every new parent has to face - so you are not alone!
Do you have any top tips when it comes to potty training your toddler? Pop over to our Facebook page and share your wisdom with our other Metanium parents.
Picking a pram: Stroller, pushchair or travel system?
The importance of story time for your little one
Introducing your tots to technology
What to feed your 1 year old
Patience is a virtue?
How to tackle your to-do list.. and still have some 'me' time!