Getting started

As our babies grow and develop, it's fascinating how our conversation moves from comparing sleeping habits, to comparing our best efforts in toilet training.

Most parents and carers are keen to get their little one out of nappies, but with all the horror stories and embarrassing moments we've heard about, it can seem rather daunting!

We really want to get it right, but what is the best age to start potty training? How can we be sure our little ones even ready, and (if they are) how do you go about it?

Getting started

Before you start potty training your toddler, be prepared that there are going to be accidents and you will find it frustrating at times - that's guaranteed.

That said, the whole process needs to be as light-hearted and fun as possible for you and your toddler. Getting impatient, angry and stressed will rub off on your child and could even lead to them 'withholding' (holding their poo in) and getting constipated.

It can really help to talk openly about your toilet habits. As grown-ups, we've usually learnt not to discuss them - but it's important to tell our toddler that we all go to the loo and that wees and poos are perfectly natural. Letting them come to the toilet with you and watch what you're doing can really help too.

A fun thing to do is to go out and choose their new big girl / big boy underwear and if you haven't already bought a potty, let them help choose one. The more they are involved in the whole process the better.

For boys weeing standing up, draw a face on a ping-pong (table tennis) ball and pop it in the loo for something to aim at.

Encouragement and recognition

Reward charts can be a great way to encourage children, and mark small achievements along the way.

Keeping a star chart by the loo or potty with some simple stickers - or drawing a smiley face on the chart - is an appropriate reward. As is a little clap or doing a 'high five' together. 

Toddlers don't need huge fanfares or presents, just recognition that they've done really well. Making too much of a fuss can often add pressure and make your child anxious.

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