Preparing for potty training

You have been changing nappies for quite long enough, your tiny baby has grown into a surprisingly big toddler and you think she is ready to be potty trained. Read on for tips on preparing for potty training or go straight to how to potty train.

Potty training preparation

Here are some things you might like to do before you take the nappies away, it is so much easier to learn one thing at a time.

Dealing with clothes

Children can have accidents while standing next to the potty, simply because they couldn’t get their clothes off. When you take away nappies you will probably change your child’s clothes, getting rid of vests with poppers, dungarees and jeans with buttons in favour of trousers with elasticated waists. It helps to get your little one used to his new clothes now and practice pulling trousers up and down. Show him how to do this and ask him to help when he gets dressed and at each nappy change.

Talk about the loo

Many children who are ready to be potty trained will be very interested in the loo. As embarrassing as this might be, it is a good sign. Let them come with you when you go to the loo, talk about what you are doing, “Now I need to pull up my trousers, then I can wash my hands.” You can even show them how to tear off a sheet of loo roll and have them pass it to you. All this interest is just your child’s way of learning, so help them to learn.

You might also like to get some books about potty training. There are many books written about characters who use the potty and these can be great. I would also include books like “Aliens Love Underpants!” by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort or “Everybody Poos” by Taro Gomi. A bit of humour is always a good thing.

Buy some pants

I must admit, I really don’t like the pull-ups. Children don’t really notice the difference between these and nappies so they don’t have much motivation to use the potty. There is also a danger that you might not notice when your little one has an accident and you want to notice straight away so that you can remind them to use the potty. I suggest you take your child to the shops so she can choose her new “big girl pants” for herself. Make this a special outing, one to one if possible, and have fun. Look at all the options and let her choose whichever ones she wants. You want her to be proud of her pants and enjoy wearing them.

Watch your child

As you are playing together, keep an eye on your little one. You might notice that he goes quiet, sits very still or shows some other sign just before you have to change his nappy. Next time you see that behaviour you can make a comment like “are you doing a poo now? We will need to change your nappy won’t we.” This way you can draw your child’s attention to the feeling of doing a poo (as opposed to the feeling of having a dirty nappy) and give them the words to express it. Be sure to smile, though, even if you don’t really want to wipe another dirty bottom!

More on potty training

How to potty train - part 2 How to potty train

Photography: Todd Morris @Flickr

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