How to train your child to use the potty


Wait till they’re ready, read a book about it with them, use distractions, and take the potty with you when you go out

Amanda Jenner – The Guardian

Potty time … encourage your child to sit on the potty every 30 to 40 minutes. Photograph: Saklakova/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Watch for key signs of readiness: longer periods of drier nappies, the child wanting their soiled nappies changed more frequently, and other signs of independence such as wanting to choose their clothes. Try asking simple questions about wanting to use the toilet.

Let them choose their own potty or toilet-training seat and pants. About a week before you start, read a potty-training picture book together and let them know what is about to happen. Using pull-up nappies during the day could give them mixed messages; pants are a different material and they can feel it if they have an accident. Take off their night-time nappy in their bedroom so it is associated with sleep (start night training once they are potty-trained for at least a month and have dry nappies for a week or two overnight).

For the first few days, encourage them to sit on the potty every 30 to 40 minutes and distract them with something like bubbles or a book. Once they have got used to sitting on it – for a good five minutes to make sure they fully empty their bladder – they will eventually do something on it. You could give them rewards for trying, and for doing something.

Stay in for the first day, then venture out for a short time on the second so they don’t associate the potty or toilet just with their house. For the first couple of weeks, take a potty and some changes of clothes out with you. With accidents, never scold or become cross. Speak to your childcare provider to keep it consistent.

Amanda Jenner, founder of the Potty Training Academy, was speaking to Emine Saner



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