Potty training. It’s exciting, memorable and er, messy. As a mum who’s worn the wee-stained T-shirt, I can tell you it takes patience, praise and a lot of wipes. But once you’ve nailed it, and your child is tottering off while announcing to the world that they're going for a wee or a poo, the pride you feel is awesome. Yes, really.
So here are some tips that worked for me. Of course, every child is different and there can be times when you feel like giving up. But just remember, everyone eventually get to grips with this loo lark.
Read the signs
Let them show you when they’re ready. We knew ours was all set when he signalled he was having a 💩 by disappearing behind the sofa to have his moment of privacy. He also had found words for wee and poo and, if his nappy was dirty, he’d come to me so I could change it. The glamour.
Let them own it
You’ve seen the signs and you’re raring to go, now you just need them to get in on the action. Get them involved. Let them pick their big kid training pants. But be warned, they’ll be stripping down to show them off regardless of where you are (I speak from experience). And, if you’re feeling brave enough, let them pick the potty too. Narrow it down to a few, maybe, but let them think they’ve bossed it. Some like the Skip Hop Made For Me Potty even have wet-wipe dispensers and a pretend flush button, like a real toilet. (Swish.) But whatever model you go for, they’re more likely to accept it if they feel they've chosen it. #sneaky.
Get others involved
Introduce a ‘potty friend.’ We pulled out a new bath toy, who we called Mr Potty Pal (the things parents do). He gave our son confidence when was scared to sit down. We chose a bath toy but it can be anything a teddy, doll… you get the picture. Alternatively, invest in a kids’ book all about potty training. Or why not get both?
Praise, praise & patience
Ready to put on your highest, most sing-song happy voice? You’re gonna need it. First wee? Dance around the house (we had a wee wee dance that looked a lot like the conga), while a poo in the potty calls for all-out celebrations. Don’t fancy screaming until you’re hoarse? Ye olde favourites, rewards charts & stickers are awesome for giving them that warm fuzzy feeling.
Keep calm & wipe it up
There will be accidents. Of course there will. And they’ll probably get a bit tearful and decide they're done with this loo lark. Keep lavishing on the reassurance. Have spare clothes to hand - whip off the wet and put on the dry without a fuss. Nighttime accident? Make sure you give them lots of cuddles and keep clean bedding at the ready. Don't forget the miracle that is the mattress protector.
If you have a little boy, then this tip will save your life - well, your floor. Make sure their willie is always down and tucked into the potty. We learnt the hard way...
Choose a potty that fits your lifestyle
The choice of potties is huge, so think about what you need and the space you have. Tiny bathroom? Maybe go for a travel potty with a disposable bag for the 'business'. It means you can transport it easily and deal with the clear up quickly. Plus you can put it away when you don't need it, and take it out and about when you do.
At the end of the day, Potty training is all about comfort and confidence. Have faith and keep smiling, but pack spare pants. I reckon it's a good general motto for life...