The potty training nightmare

Potty training can be a scary and daunting task. It does not need to be. Just follow a few easy steps and finally you will be able to say bye to the nappy and hello to some extra treats for yourself which you couldn’t afford before. Those nappies are so expensive, sometimes I am wondering if they hid some diamonds in there. But no, your little one is the one hiding gems inside it.

Before we get into the nitty gritty stuff here are some eye-opening statistics about how time has changed our attitude towards potty training.

In the 1950, the overall majority of children wore cloth nappies and 95% of these children were trained by the age of 18 months. In the 1980s, about 50% of children wore cloth nappies, while the other 50% wore disposable nappies and only about 50% of the children were potty trained by the age of 18 months. Today, almost 90-95% of children wear disposable nappies and only about 10% of children are potty trained by the age of 18 months.Today, the average age for potty training is about 30 months with the age ranging from 18-60 months.

So here are the very helpful steps.

Step one. Introduce the potty. There is a wide range of potties out there, you should try to choose the one that looks the most fun and preferably your little one's favourite colour. Try to start talking about the potty around the age of one. Introduce it into conversations. Like, I wonder if Bob the Builder used a potty when he was a little boy? Try to buy just one potty or seat that goes on top of the toilet. Lots of parents buy many potties and put them around the house. I would not recommend that because you will need to retrain your little one later to use just the loo potty.

Step two. Look for signs of readiness. Does he show an increased interest in using the potty, talk about the potty, feels uncomfortable in nappies, can he follow simple instructions or stay dry for long period of times?

Step three. Choose the right time. Avoid the potty training during stressful times, like moving or a new baby. You will not have time to give your full attention and could do more harm than good and let’s not forget that the key is routine.

Step four. When your child is ready, try to make a routine trip to the potty about every 2 hours. It does not matter if they have to go or not. Even if they don’t have to go, just make them sit on it to get used to it. You can take a book or their favorite toy to distract them and make the potty time more fun. Ask them to take off their trousers/skirt and their pants/nappies. Once they are done and even if they did not go still pretend that something happened and flush the loo together. The most important is to praise them after each time on the potty.

Step five. Teach good hygiene. It’s important to teach how to keep clean. Show how to wipe front to back for both boys and girls, flush the toilet and always wash hands with soap afterwards. You can make the washing time fun as well by buying sparkle or colourful soap.

Step six. Offer praise and rewards. It is one of the most important things to do to succeed, but don’t go overboard with it. Offer stickers or write on a fun colourful chart. Use a praise such as: "well done you have been such a big boy/girl. Mummy is so proud of you." As I am sure you are aware, even after they are properly potty trained accidents will happen. Please do not make a fuss about it and don’t punish them. It can do a lot of damage. Just brush it off saying, "these things happen, it’s ok".

If you follow these steps, potty training could be quite fun for both you and the little one(s). Remember to key words for a successful training are Routine and Praises. Good luck!