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When To Start With Potty Training

When To Start With Potty Training

Posted in #toddlers

The process of ditching the diapers and teaching your child to use the potty doesn’t always run smoothly. It can be messy, stressful and time-consuming. But like crawling, walking and talking, potty training is a developmental stage that shouldn’t be rushed.

Rest assured it will happen! Potty training is much more likely to be successful if you allow your child to set the pace, so you need to recognise the signs your child is ready. Here’s all you need to know about when to start potty training.



What Age Is My Child Ready To Potty Train?

We’ve all heard tales of that wonder baby who potty trained at 11 months, but most children are around two and many are nearer three or even four before they start to show signs they are ready. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents avoid pushing their children into potty training too early. Waiting until your toddler is truly ready means fewer accidents and much less frustration.

When To Start Potty Training

Potty training is easier and happens faster if your child is ready in three areas: physical, cognitive and emotional. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Longer periods of drier diapers.
  • Signs of independence, such as wanting to choose their clothes.
  • Being excited to use and sit on the potty and stay there for a stretch of time.
  • Wanting to copy a parent or other children’s behavior.
  • Sensing they have to go to the bathroom before actually wetting their diaper.
  • Being able to walk to the bathroom, open the door, pull clothing down and up again and wash their hands.
  • Being able to follow simple instructions, such as ‘please put your toys away’.
  • Being able to engage in make believe play, such as giving a tea party for teddies.


How To Potty Train A Toddler

Make It Fun And Exciting 

Let them choose their own potty, potty chair, pull-up diapers and big boy or girl underwear. About a week before you start, read a potty-training picture book together and let them know what is about to happen. Show them how their new potty works and place it somewhere easily accessible.


Stay Home For Day One

For the first day, stay in. Set a timer to remind them to try to use the potty. Typically, the timer should go off every 10 to 15 minutes throughout the entire first day to get them used to sitting on the potty.

For the next few days, encourage them to sit on the potty every 30 to 40 minutes and distract them with something like bubbles or a book. Encourage them to sit for a good five minutes to make sure they fully empty their bladder. 


Build A Routine

Once they’ve got the hang of it, consider building a routine of going to the bathroom at regular intervals, such as in the morning, after mealtimes and before bed. Stick to the schedule, so your busy toddler doesn't wait until the last minute and end up having an accident.

Take a travel potty with you so your child can use it in a hurry when out and about. 

Make sure other carers know the approach you’re taking to ensure consistency. 


Pile On The Praise

Give your child plenty of praise, encouragement, hugs and kisses, both for when they tell you they need to go and when they actually pee or poop in their potty. You could even sing an ‘I did it’ song for extra encouragement. Children respond well to rewards, and will feel good when they see how pleased you are with them. 


Be Prepared For Accidents

Children will typically need constant reminders to use the potty, especially at first. Even those who have been trained for six months or more may have an accident once a week. Be prepared with proper cleaning materials, easy access to a change of clothes and a relaxed attitude.



How To Potty Train a Boy

Boys can take a bit longer to get the hang of things. Poop and pee often come at the same time, so it makes sense for your son to sit down on the potty at first. That way, he’ll master the basic procedure before getting distracted by the fun of spraying and learning to aim! 


How To Potty Train A Girl

Little girls tend to be more advanced in physical development, which can make potty training quicker for them. Remember, every child is different – it’s more important to be aware of your child’s personality and aptitude, rather than their gender. Gauge your child’s readiness by using our checklist above.

Like most developmental stages with children, patience is the name of the game. If potty training isn’t going well, stop and try again in a few weeks. Need some help with getting ready to potty train your child? Shop potties and explore our blog to learn more about your toddler's ages and stages.

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